When John Stonehocker first contacted us about his father, Charles, who was about to celebrate his 95th birthday last week, he wondered if it would be newsworthy.  Charles has lived in Wellington nearly all his life, except for his time serving in World War II.  “I still live in the same house I bought back in 1958,” he said very modestly.  It is a modest house in a good neighborhood in Wellington that he raised his family in, and where he still resides today.  
   Charles was born in the small community of Corbin.  His father worked for the county and ran the maintainer.  He had a threshing machine and would travel with it from Texas to Nebraska. It was a large family.  “There were ten of us in the family,” he said.  “Eight children.  Three boys and five girls.  I had a sister younger than me.”
Charles joined the war effort in 1943 at Fort Leavenworth, and entered the European Theater as a part of the Normandy invasion the following year.  He was a part of the second wave, and was never wounded.  
According to his son, Charles was attached as a support group to the 101st Airborne during the Battle of the Bulge.
He received his discharge in December of 1945.  
When asked about any commendations he might have received during the war, Charles was very modest and just shook his head.  It was John who showed the commendations, such as from the First Army, 9th Air Force,  and Anti-Aircraft Command.    In addition to Normandy, Charles also served in the Rhineland, Northern France, and Central Europe campaigns.  
Coming home from the war, he briefly went to work for the mill, before finding work as a mechanic at the Chevrolet garage.  After four years as a mechanic, he went to work as a car inspector for the ATSF Railroad.  He spent 34 years in that job, working in the yards.  He said he loved that job because he “did not have to deal with the travel.”
John talked about his mother, saying, “her name was Lois Cecil (Arnett). She lived in Wellington all her life. She died on January 24, 2013. She and my dad were married July 17, 1943, just a few months before he was shipped out to England. Her mother, Edna Arnett was a long time teacher in Summer county. My mother owned and operated a beauty shop at the house you were in for several years to help get all the children through school.”
John said that “we tease my dad that his relaxation is work.”  Charles still rides his motorcycle-a Honda Gold-wing trike--around town.  He said he “once drove it as far as the Wichita Mountains.”
“I have four kids, seven grandkids, and seven great-grandkids,” he said proudly.  When asked what he had planned for his birthday, he just smiled, saying he had “nothing planned,” as a few of his great grand kids were in the house.  
Charles Stonehocker has lived quite a life and we hope he enjoyed his birthday.