Charles "Chuck" Wilson
Feb 20, 1941-Dec 11, 2020
Charles Joseph Wilson passed away December 11, 2020 as a result of complications associated with pancreatic cancer. "Chuck" or "Bumper" as he was known by his childhood friends, was born in Portland, Oregon on February 20, 1941 to Capt. Joseph Theodore Wilson and Jean Corrine Wilson. He attended Grant High School in Portland where he excelled in athletics, academics and leadership. He was an infielder on the 1958 State Championship Baseball Team. In 1959 he was an All-Conference selection in basketball and baseball, the latter while leading the league in home runs. In 2011 he was inducted into the PIL Athletic Hall of Fame. He earned a B.S. in Political Science from Stanford University in 1963, followed by an MBA from Stanford Business School in 1966. He paid his way through Stanford as a door-to-door salesman for Saladmaster, a stainless-steel cookware company. Discovering his natural gift for sales, he quickly became a nationally recognized producer. The fundamentals he honed selling "pots and pans" served as the foundation for his entrepreneurial career. He and Carol Miller from Los Altos, California were married September 12, 1965. After business school, he moved to Dallas, Texas to become Campaign Chairman for James M. Collins' U.S. House run in the 3rd District. In 1969, he founded The Cambridge Companies. Initially involved in land syndication and development, including the Reunion and Hyatt Regency Hotel projects in downtown Dallas, Cambridge evolved into a highly diversified real estate investment and development firm. By 1986 Cambridge employed over 250 people, many of whom would go on to become influential figures in the DFW market for years to come. He followed members of the Cambridge family tree closely and took great pride in their success. He and Debbie Stanton from Dallas, Texas were married September 24, 1994. Over the decades, he satisfied his entrepreneurial spirit by pursuing a diverse portfolio of investments ranging from restaurants to oil and gas to mobile home parks to golf course development to specialty retail to international film distribution, just to name a few. But his true love was always real estate; a passion that would consume him until his final days. The last project he completed garnered numerous awards, including Master-Planned Community of the Year by the Dallas Builders Association and Best Community Amenity by the National Association of Home Builders. He was an active alumnus of Stanford University and served on the Stanford University Athletic Board. A devout Christian, he served 15 years on the Board of e3 Partners, a non-profit committed to making disciples and planting churches across the globe. Relishing the opportunity to evangelize the gospel of Christ, he logged extensive mission tours across remote areas of Africa and South America. Bringing people to Christ gave profound meaning to his life. During his extensive travels, he effortlessly connected with people from all walks of life, disarming them with his beaming smile, sense of humor and, on occasion, sleight of hand magic tricks. Chuck will forever be missed by his family, his former business associates and his diverse circle of friends. He will be remembered most not for his achievements but for the way he lived his life. He was a big hearted, hardworking, putt-grinding, God-fearing, pun-slinging, reasonably-priced-wine aficionado. He was a mentor to many. Aside from the Lord and his family, business was his life. Retirement was never an option. There were always more deals to be made. Above all else he was supremely grateful. Never taking for granted the opportunities presented by each new day. He loved, worked, laughed, played and prayed every single day like it was his last. Blessed with otherworldly enthusiasm, energy and drive, he somehow managed to balance it all. He is survived by his wife Debbie and their son Chase; his daughter and son-in-law Corrine and Joe Harn; his son and daughter-in-law Collin and Jessica Wilson; his son and daughter-in-law Carter and Alise Wilson and their children Virginia, Charlie and Georganna; and his former wife Carol Cooley. He is also survived by his sister Cathy McAuliffe as well as numerous nieces, nephews and their families. A celebration of Chuck's life will be held in 2021, as soon as Covid permits. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Chuck's memory to e3 Partners Ministry, 2001 W. Plano Pkwy #2600, Plano, Texas 75075.
Published by San Francisco Chronicle from Dec. 19 to Dec. 20, 2020.