April 26, 1973 ~ February 7, 2016
Charles “Chuck” A. Wills, Jr., a former TCU football standout who brought his lifelong passion for sports into North Texas schools as a devoted coach and teacher, died February 7, 2016 at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital of complications from metastatic melanoma. He was 42.
Affectionately known as a gentle giant by those impressed by his imposing physical stature and warm personality, Chuck had a quick humor and genuine kindness that endeared him to many. As a senior at TCU in 1994, his fixture as the largest player in one of college football's most dominant offensive lines helped the Horned Frogs win a share of the Southwest Conference Championship, the school's first championship in 36 years. The experience propelled him to a career in coaching and instilled in him a great pride for his alma mater. Chuck was a faithful Christian, and a loving father and husband.
Chuck is survived by his college-sweetheart and wife of 18 years, Zabette Wills and children, Colton Grant and Zoey Rose, of Arlington; parents Charles and Marlene Wills of New Whiteland, Indiana; siblings, John Wills and wife, Pam, of Celina, Tennessee, Kathleen Witcher and husband, John, of Franklin, Indiana, Shaleen Jones and husband, Jeff, of Bargersville, Indiana; niece, Jordan Jones, and nephew, Robert Cooney.
A memorial service will be held at Fielder Church, at 2:00 pm on Saturday February 13th. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to Zabette Wills @ any EECU location, Acct #656636 benefitting Colton & Zoey Wills' College Fund. Bill pay contributions welcome. Attendees are encouraged to wear purple to celebrate Chuck and his TCU Spirit.
Charles Alfred Wills, Jr., was born April 26, 1973, in Indianapolis, IN. He was the youngest of four children born to Charles and Marlene Wills. As a child, Chuck enjoyed collecting sports memorabilia and rooting for the newly arrived Indianapolis Colts, both passions he would maintain throughout his life. He excelled at basketball and football. His abilities on the gridiron won him all-conference and all-state selections during high school and attracted the attention of college coaches from across the country.
He graduated from Whiteland Community High School in 1991, and spent the next two years at Illinois Valley Community College where he was named an NJCAA All-American. He accepted a football scholarship to TCU in the spring of 1993. As a Horned Frog, Chuck quickly assumed a spot in the starting lineup for the 1993 season. His play as strong guard earned him offensive player of the game honors in the team's biggest win of the season, an away game against rival Baylor. Coaches praised his knowledge of the game, natural strength, and quickness. His time at TCU coincided with a resurgence of interest in football on campus. During the 1994 season attendance soared as the team compiled big wins against Texas Tech and Kansas on route to claiming a five-way share of the Southwest Conference Championship and a berth in the Independence Bowl, TCU's first bowl appearance since 1984.
Chuck graduated from TCU in 1995 with a Bachelor's in Physical Education and embarked on a coaching career. He held coaching and teaching positions at The Oakridge School in Arlington, First Baptist Academy in Dallas and All Saints Episcopal School in Fort Worth. In 2006, he joined the faculty at Arlington ISD's Nichols Junior High School where he coached football, basketball, cross country, track and field, and taught P.E. and Special Education for 10 years.
While at TCU, Chuck met the love of his life, Zabette Striegler. They married on May 23, 1998 and made their home in Arlington. Chuck was a member of Fielder Church in Arlington, TX, where he and his family were very active. Chuck loved spending time with his children, coaching their sports teams, playing video games with Colton, and attending Daddy Daughter Dances with Zoey. He had a knack for fantasy football and enjoyed golfing. He was happiest vacationing with his family and taking them to TCU home games.
Chuck was a big man with an even bigger heart who showed his goodness through actions rather than words. He will be remembered for his sense of humor, his abiding kindness, and the love he gave to his family and friends. He will be missed.