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Charles C. Chuck Willis Jr.

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Charles C. "Chuck" Willis, Jr. Charles C. Willis, Jr., 'Chuck', 57, of Austin, TX passed away Sunday, December 7, 2008 at Brackenridge Hospital in Austin, TX. He died from injuries received in an accident. He was riding his motor scooter and was struck by a driver who ran a red light. Chuck was born in Santa Monica, CA on April 12, 1951 to Beatrice Mialback and Charles Willis, Sr. Chuck graduated from Loara High School, Anaheim, CA, class of 1969. He attended University of California Santa Barbara for two years, then transferred and graduated from UC Irvine in 1973. Chuck holds an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics. Chuck started his career in the political arena as a Legislative Assistant in the U. S. Senate (1974-77) and then became the Managing Director of the State of New Mexico office for then Governor Jerry Apodaca. He spent twenty-five years in Europe and Asia as investment banker - one of the pioneers of the investment banking business in Asia. He set up Jardine Fleming Securities in Korea (1986-91) - the first Korean market opening to foreign investors. He served as director on many boards, including Archipelago Holdings, WR Hambrecht and Vencast, Inc. He held senior positions throughout Europe and Asia in the merchant banking arena. His distinguished career path included working for Daiwa Europe, Jardine Matheson Group companies in Asia, Wardley Corporate Finance Limited-Hong Kong, Deutsche Morgan Grenfell, Instinet Asia-Pacific in Hong Kong, then moving with them to New York. Most recently, he served as managing director of Fledgling Capital Advisors, LLC, an investment banking advisory firm. It is hard to condense his life story and adventures without taking out a full page - his life was a huge tapestry. Throughout his many adventures and achievements, he always took time to remember and savor his friendships - seems that he kept up with every friend he ever made. We all will have fond memories of a guy who became a part of our lives, and lived life to the fullest every day. He had a wonderful sense of humor and loved a good joke. He believed in family, and lived his life taking care of those he loved. He was a loving husband, and an adoring father. His daughter Matte was his pride and joy. He was so proud to be her 'Daddo'. His love of good food, and, always wanting to test his limits, in May 2008, Chuck enrolled in the Texas Culinary Academy's Le Cordon Bleu Program - Advanced Master Course - and was performing his externship at Jeffrey's and Cipollina. Chuck believed it was not what you did, but who you were and what you stood for that mattered. He was a man of integrity and principal. He believed in honesty, and lived life with great passion. He was tough, but always fair and never afraid to call a spade a spade. He shared so much of himself with so many - all are deeply saddened with his passing. His ranch - the Blue Creek Ranch in Wyoming - was his heaven on earth. He'd put on his boots and ride his horse - where nature took over and spoke louder than anything. He spoke to his God at Blue Creek, a place he truly loved. Chuck was a cantankerous and playful soul. Nothing pleased him more than to know that he had gotten your goat or had stumped you with one of his quirky British expressions. Chuck was an avid cyclist, riding in many local charity rides. He was a devoted Democrat and fought for anyone and anything he witnessed being wronged or taken advantage of. Chuck just knew that heaven was sporting a beautiful green field, a flawless baseball diamond and a chunky third base coach. Almost from the time he could walk, he was throwing a baseball around and enjoying watching games with his dad. He loved taking in a good game, and especially enjoyed following his favorite team - the New York Mets. He was known for sporting his favorite baseball bat to business meetings with Brits and Americans in Hong Kong - bringing great humor and motivation to the table. His father and mother preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife, Donna L. Willis of Bardstown, KY and Austin, TX, daughter Matte Kathleen Willis of New South Wales, Australia, stepsons Davis Huston and Drew Huston of Bardstown, KY, sister Diane Willis Beach and husband Bart Beach of Santa Ana, CA, uncle Edward Mialback of Louisville, KY, Gabe the dog of Austin, and friends of all ages and cultures - too many to count. Chuck saved lives, even in death, by donating his organs. This has been some source of comfort for his family and friends during this time of tragedy. He lives on - large and gracious. As one of his friends recently remarked, "Chuck's signature close to a conversation was, 'Thanks for that.' Now all of us must tearfully say the same to Chuck." Services are pending for family and friends to gather to celebrate his life. In lieu of flowers, please make memorial contributions to CASA of Travis County. CASA provides much-needed financial assistance to recruit, screen, train, and supervise volunteers to provide "guardian ad litem" representation for abused and neglected children to help them reach a safe and permanent home. For more information, visit www.casatravis.org Obituary and guestbook online at http://wcfish.com

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Published in Austin American-Statesman from Dec. 14 to Dec. 15, 2008
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