Charles William Adkison, fondly known as “Buddy”, or “Big Charlie”, was born on February 6, 1953, in Alexandria, VA, to Calvin and Annie Mae Adkison. Both of his parents were from a small town in Georgia called Adel. They had moved to the north in search of better paying jobs. Buddy was their third child. Shortly after the birth of their fourth child, his mother became ill and the children were sent to Adel, to be cared for by his mother’s family. His mother passed in 1960 and Buddy went to live with his mother’s brother – James DeBerry and his wife in Adel. His Uncle was a farmer who farmed tobacco. This is where Buddy learned to drive tractors around the age of 9. Buddy’s father later married Willie Mae who had five children of her own, and the two families became one. When Buddy was 12 years old, his father decided he wanted him to come and live with him and his new family. He went to Adel and brought Buddy back to DC. Buddy attended Stuart Jr. High School and went on to Coolidge High School. During his high school years cars became his passion, adding “63 Impala”, “69 Charger (RT, 440 Magnum)”, “Hurst”, “big block”, “Corvette (owning 3)” and “drag racing” to the topic of many conversations with his peers. Although he loved watching cartoons on TV, his favorite pastime became turning wrenches under the hood of a car; often preparing for a race.
After high school Buddy got a job as a mechanic at Goodyear Auto Service. In 1974 he married Mary-Louise Bigelow. Shortly thereafter, Buddy was hired by the Post Office where he developed an interest in driving tractor trailers. He continued to work part-time at Goodyear because he had a dream to buy his own truck. In 1976, to his delight, Buddy and Mary-Louise were blessed with the addition of a baby girl, Cheryl Wynette – the joy of his life. In 1977, Buddy’s dream of truck ownership finally materialized, with the purchase his first big rig – a GMC Astro cab-over. Being the consummate family man, Buddy took his family on the road – diapers, bottles and all, for many of his cross-country trips. Trucking soon became his life, and “Charlie Adkison Trucking” was born. Within a few years he had a desire to expand the family business, and began helping his Mother-in-Law with the start of a new trucking company. Over the years Buddy purchased a total of four trucks and two refrigerated trailers. Always wanting the best, he upgraded from the GMC, to Peterbilt – the master class of trucks. However, racing was still in his blood – so much so that the new trucks carried the number “747”, symbolizing the speed and power of the then-popular Boeing jumbo jet. A highlight event for Buddy was participating in Truck Race Day at Capital Raceway in Crofton, MD. After hustling east from Chicago to deliver a load, he drove straight to the racetrack. He was running late and missed the time trials, but was allowed to estimate his time. Buddy quickly dropped the trailer and put the hammer down on the racetrack – in the Peterbilt! At the end of the race Buddy had beaten the race time he had provided to the officials.
In 1994, Buddy’s life took an abrupt turn with the tragic loss of his daughter at the young age of 18. This took a toll on his marriage. After Cheryl’s death, Buddy and Mary-Louise separated, and divorced in the year 2000, all the while, remaining friends until his death. Buddy eventually relocated to Baltimore where he met and established a long-term relationship with Debra Allen. He and Debra created a home together until such time that his illness no longer permitted him to be cared for at home. Their relationship remained until his passing.
Whether you knew him as Charles, Buddy, or Big Charlie, you knew that if Buddy was in your life, you had someone that you could always depend on. Buddy was a hard worker and believed that was all it took to get ahead. He was always striving to better himself, and to take others with him. He was a positive influence on the lives of many – teaching and supporting them along the way. This was especially true with the young. Children had a special place in his heart. He is, and certainly will always be missed for his generosity and compassion for others. He leaves an indelible footprint in the lives of us all.
He leaves to mourn his passing, Debra Allen, his loving companion of 15 years; four sisters: Dr. Essie Taylor, Carolyn Mosley (Reggie), Gwendolyn Morris, Carol Adkison; two brothers: Cornelius Worley (Emma) and Gregory Worley; his former wife, Mary-Louise; a sister-in-law, Judy Prandy; three aunts: Rosa Leggett, Eleanor Wright and Emma Sorrel; and a host of loving nieces, great nieces, nephews, great nephews, cousins, and friends.
Preceded in his death, were Buddy’s older brother, Jonathan Adkison, and a sister, Janice Durant.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT – The family would like to acknowledge and thank each of you that has provided comfort and concern to Buddy, and to our family during his illness. Dementia and Alzheimer’s are powerfully overwhelming diseases. Continued research and solutions, including a cure are crucial. Should you so choose, the family would appreciate your support in this fight through donations in the name of Charles William Adkison, to the charitable organizations involved in this cause.