A photo of Charles A. “Charley” Thuet

Charles A. “Charley” Thuet

August 21, 2021 - October 19, 2021

Charles A. “Charley” Thuet, age 100, of Newark, DE, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, October 19, 2021.

Born in Wilmington, DE, on August 21, 1921, he was a son of the late Charles A. and Lillian M. (Doelze) Thuet, Sr. Charley attended Palmer Elementary School and then graduated from Wilmington High School. After his high-school graduation, he learned welding as a trade while working at the Pusey & Jones Shipyard.

Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Charley proudly enlisted in the US Navy in January 1942, serving aboard the USS Wainwright DD-419, which was assigned to convoy escort duty in the North Atlantic.  He later transferred to the heavy cruiser USS Wichita CV-45 and saw action off the coast of North Africa, then in the Pacific, at Guadalcanal, the Solomon Islands, Kwajalein, Truk, Palau, Majuro, Saipan and the battle of Leyte Gulf.  Charley received his honorable discharge on September 29th, 1945.

Following the war, Charles went back to his shipyard job, then worked at GM’s Boxwood Rd. plant.  The Thuet family moved to a new home in Brookside Park, Newark in 1952, and Charles worked for General Development Corp. in Elkton, MD as a welder/machinist.  When Chrysler Corporation completed the conversion of the Newark tank plant to automobile assembly, Charley found work there in the late ‘50s as a foreman, general foreman, and superintendent until his retirement in November of 1979.

Never happy as an idle person, Charles enjoyed hunting, fishing, winemaking, and target shooting.  He developed a life-long love affair with high-power rifles and target shooting in general.  Charley owned, refurbished, and collected hundreds of guns and distinguished himself as a gunsmith, firearms expert, and champion marksman.  He was the Delaware High-Power Rifle Champion 3 times in the 1960s and shot on the Delaware National Guard Rifle Team at the US national matches at Camp Perry, Ohio.  His love for all things shooting continued well into the 21st century and he capped his achievements by being named the International Benchrest Factory Shooter of the Year in 2013 by the Bridgeville Rifle & Pistol Club.

In his retirement, Charley completed his pre-war dream of learning to fly.  He finished his training at Summit Aviation in Middletown and passed his private pilot check-ride in 1991 at the age of 70.  As was his style in almost everything he did, Charley dove into aviation with a passion.  He purchased his first airplane, and became a loyal member of the Summit “Airport Bums,” a group of aviators who worked on each other’s aircraft, graded each other’s landings and spent hours kibitzing over coffee and pastry.  He acquired and flew multiple small airplanes, sailplanes, radio-controlled models, and built an all-composite kit plane, continuing to fly until he was 89 years old.

In his later years Charley found comfort and happiness in family and his many friends in the aviation and shooting communities.  He enjoyed sitting down to pile of steamed crabs with a pitcher of beer and a simple plate of spaghetti and meatballs always put a smile on his face. Charley lived life to the fullest, always on his terms, keeping life simple with a blend of optimism, unbridled curiosity, practical wisdom, and a bright sense of humor.  Intelligent, precise, and a man of few words with little time for fools.  Respected by his family and peers, he was a gentleman and an honorable man.

In addition to his parents, Charley is preceded in death by his first wife, Carmella E. (Sygowski) Thuet; second wife, Marilyn (Gamlin) Bittenbender Thuet; and sisters, Jean Rigby, Audrey DelCimmuto, and Thelma Steele. He is survived by his children, Kathleen M. Burns (Richard Weiler) of Holliston, MA and Robert C. Thuet (Loraine) of Taylors, SC; grandchildren, Robert Burns, Susan Burns (Nick Pantinakis), Christopher Burns, Mark Burns, R. Scott Thuet, and Adam Poole; 4 great-grandchildren; and niece, Carol Ann Fischer (Arthur); and many more nieces and nephews.

A visitation for family and friends will be held from 9:30 am until 10:30 am on Saturday, October 23, 2021, at Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home, 121 West Park Place, Newark, DE, where a funeral service will be held at 10:30 am. The family requests that all in attendance wear a face covering, regardless of vaccination status. Interment will follow in All Saints Cemetery, 6001 Kirkwood Highway, Wilmington, DE.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Charley’s memory to Seasons Hospice of Delaware 220 Continental Drive, Ste. 101, Newark, DE 19713 or Massey Air Museum, 33541 Maryland Line Road, Massey, MD 21650.

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8 Condolences for Charles A. “Charley” Thuet

  • Charlie was a man of integrity, as well as other admirable traits. He leaves an enviable legacy. It is my pleasure to have known him.

  • I am so sorry for your loss. I only met him once on our way to bike week but I remember the many stories about his incredible life. Always remember the good times

  • Hi Thuet family,
    I saw your Dad’s name and was flooded with memories of days spent with the McKeones and Thuets. I just wanted to write and say, I’m sorry you lost your Dad but how lucky you were to have him for so long. I didn’t know your mom had passed; both your parents were such fun and wonderful people.
    All the best,
    Janie.

  • Charley was one of those rare people that you both like and admire almost immediately. I met him late in his life and we talked for many hours about high power competition and gunsmithing. Not long ago he generously gave me several of his tools to carry on his gunsmithing vocation. I have missed seeing him these last couple of years but I will continue to remember him fondly for years to come. We have all lost a wonderful man.

  • What a lovely obituary. So sorry for his passing. My Condolences to all the family. What a beautiful and amazing life he lived. I was a young neighbor from Eden Park. I knew who Charley was, but I did not know him. I am very sorry for that, for he was a very special gentleman. I knew Audrey and Thelma. Thelma, Marge Short and Joan Robinson and I were friends in the 30’s but later became very close. Sang in the choir at Asbury, travelled and vacationed together.

    I do see a family resemblance.

    Will keep the family in prayer for strength and courage for each one of you in the days ahead. Lord Bless

  • Kathleen and Bob,
    I’m so sorry!

  • One of the truly great men on this earth. A hero to us all, we need more Charlies. A LOT more.

  • Sad to see uncle Charley’s passing in the News Journal. Fond memories of visits at Brookside in the 60’s. He certainly lived a full life his way. Wayne Rigby