Charles Daniel Wise

November 21, 2023
Charles and Mary Alice Wise
Charles and Mary Alice Wise

Charles Daniel Wise, BA ’55, was born Feb. 13, 1928, in Coryell City, TX, and died in Gatesville, TX, Aug. 19, 2022.

Charles attended a four-room schoolhouse in Arnett, TX. Two days after turning 17 years old, Charles enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II, serving seven years on supply/personnel ships in the Pacific Ocean and during the invasion of Korea. Observing the traumatic impact of the Korean invasion, Charles took account of his life and finished his GED, enrolled in 1951 at Baylor University through the G.I. Bill, and received a B.A. in business with minors in English, psychology and speech. At Baylor, he accepted Jesus Christ as his savior. He and Mary Alice met three months later. He served in student government and as student body president. As an alumnus, he enjoyed years of service on the Development Council, and Diana R. Garland School of Social Work’s Board of Advocates. Wise also served from 1993-2002 on Baylor’s Board of Regents. Charles and Mary Alice were honored with the Founders Medal from Baylor in 2011.

Charles contemplated vocations in ministry, politics or business, and he and Mary Alice decided the most effective way for them to serve was as Christian citizens wherever they lived. After a brief stop in Houston, his first major job after Baylor was on the sales management team of Upjohn Pharmaceutical where he and the family were based out of San Antonio, Temple and Fort Worth. In 1968, the family moved back to Gatesville and Charles joined the leadership of Medical Plastics Laboratory. He enjoyed serving in the Gatesville community through the Lions Club, Coryell Memorial Hospital and Foundation boards, Gatesville Chamber of Commerce and Gatesville ISD school board. He was honored as Gatesville Citizen of the Year, Lion of the Year and Humanitarian of the Year — Gatesville Black History Awards.

Being a part of the Church was an essential part of Charlie’s faith development and practice. He attended Seventh and James Baptist (Waco) during the Baylor years; was a deacon at Manor Baptist (San Antonio); taught and served at Memorial Baptist (Temple), University Baptist (Ft. Worth) and First Baptist (Gatesville). An especially meaningful part of Charlie’s life was being involved in Trinity Baptist Church (Gatesville). Generosity was a theme observed in Charlie’s life. He recognized that “every good and perfect gift comes from above” (James 1:17).

Charles is preceded in death by his mother, Ruth Davis Williams; father, William Charley Wise; beloved step-father, Esteen Williams; sisters, Bess Ernst and Wanda Johnson Forbis; aunt, Earlene Pennington; and uncle, Ralph Wise.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Alice Smith Wise, son Charles Ross Wise, daughter Mary Kathryn “Kathy” Wise, nephews Berry Johnson and wife Shirley, Billy Charles Johnson and wife Bambi, Bob Smith, Fred Smith and wife Holly, niece Maria McDonald and husband Brian, numerous great- and great-great- nephews and nieces, and many dear friends who are “adopted” and loved as family.