Charles Wiley SoRelle, 95, of Amarillo, TX died Tuesday, November 29, 2022.
Charles was born March 23, 1927, to Arthur William and Adda Laura SoRelle, at the family home southeast of Amarillo in Randall County, Texas. In 1943, while still in high school, he learned to fly at Canyon Cox Airport. From that moment on began a lifelong love of taking to the skies. Shortly after learning to fly, he graduated from high school at Canyon High in 1944 and joined the Navy just a few months later at the age of 17, leveraging his flight and mechanical aptitude in aircraft mechanics. He was later discharged at the war’s end.
Charles resumed his education at Texas Tech and West Texas State College, graduating in 1951. While there, he met and married Francis Helen “Polly” Caperton of Grenville, NM on December 23, 1950. Together, they had daughter, Jan and son, Art. He was a lifelong inventor and entrepreneur, running businesses with his wife in farming, aviation and appraisal. They operated the Dumas Flying Service and the Dumas Airport for 15 years, moving back to Amarillo shortly after.
His expertise ranged across mechanics, agriculture, cartography and serving as the Donley and Moore County tax appraiser for many years – all with an aircraft within reach. His love of flying endured two life threatening airplane crashes that he frequently credited God’s grace for his survival.
Charles was active in church throughout his life and across the many places he lived, but none more so than his beloved First Presbyterian Church where he was baptized as an infant and later served as Deacon and Elder. He also served on various committees, mission trips, as favorited camp counselor for the youth group, and very active in the senior group, NUFFS. He continuously credited his faith for every blessing he had.
He loved and enjoyed all the activities of his children and grandchildren, never missing anything they participated in and always being their biggest fan. He became a great-grandfather in 2008 and enjoyed the blessing of playing with and caring for all 5, Nico, Koen, Charlotte, Catherine, and Charlie. Having two namesakes; Koen Wiley and Charlie Harrison.
For nine years, Charles loved living with Polly at Park Place enjoying all aspects of the community. Pridefully, refusing to ever retire from creating, Charles embarked on writing his life story over the past two years, having only completed the content a few weeks prior to his passing.
Charles was preceded in death by his wife of 70 years, Polly; his son, Charles Arthur SoRelle; his great-grandson, Harrison Samuel Woolsey; his parents; his brother, A.W. “Bill” SoRelle, Jr; and his sisters, Emily Carolyn Upshaw and Florence Katherine Bohannan.
Survivors include his daughter, Laura Janet SoRelle; his granddaughter, Mary Kelly Harkins Ravestijn and husband, Wilco; his grandsons, Seth Whitney Woolsey and wife, Kristin and Casey Woolsey and wife, Marisa; great-grandsons, Nico Ravestijn, Koen Ravestijn, Charlie Woolsey and Josh Woolsey; and great-granddaughters, Charlotte Woolsey, Catherine Woolsey and Julia Woolsey; and many special nieces and nephews.
Services will be Saturday, December 3, at 2:00 p.m., at First Presbyterian Church of Amarillo with Rev. Murray Gossett, Rev. Tim Tam and Dr. Johnny Funderburg officiating. The burial will be Saturday, December 3, 2022, at 10:30 a.m., at Citizens Cemetery in Clarendon. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors.
The family suggests memorials to First Presbyterian Church, 1100 S Harrison, Amarillo, TX 79101; The Word at Work, 1400 Wolflin Ave, Amarillo, TX 79109; or your favorite charity.