Friends, colleagues celebrate Charlie Wilson's life

By Lane Luckie - bio | email
Photojournalist: Brad Hill | email

WASHINGTON, DC (KTRE) – Tuesday night, the Wilson family found comfort in celebrating the life that Charlie lived to the fullest.

It was standing room-only as friends, family and congressional colleagues gathered in the House Appropriations Committee Room in the Rayburn House Office Building on the National Mall.

Charlie Wilson's booming voice and Texas swagger filled the committee room as a video from five years earlier played. The late congressman reflected on his accomplishments.

Long-time friend Buddy Temple said, "He would have probably liked to have been here to tell stories on himself. No one can tell stories on Charlie Wilson, better than Charlie Wilson."

Smiles and even laughter emerged through the tears, as the conversation quickly focused on cherished memories of Charlie.

A group of former staff members affectionately known as "Charlie's Angels," always stood behind their boss. One "angel" recalled Wilson's devotion to his staff. "He mentored us. He was loyal and he remained a lifelong friend. We'll miss you very much Charlie."

Wilson lived in the public eye. His charisma and character were a fixation for many.

However, Temple insists there is still much to learn about Charlie Wilson. "I think a lot of East Texans kept up with his shenanigans," he said. "I think most people didn't realize how powerful Charlie was, and how strong he was on the issues he cared about. "

Wilson's great-nephew watched as he was called upon to uphold his uncle's vision. A priest said, "He [Wilson] worked so that you would have a world that had less violence in it than he grew up in."

All of the people Charlie Wilson touched made promised his widow, Barbara, that she would never be alone. A friend said, "Barbara, I know what a great loss you are feeling right now. There are so many of us that are here for you now and in the future."

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