Charles L. Gilbreath, 77, passed away on April 6, 2015. He was a native of Alice, Texas and the only child of Charles and Hattie Gilbreath who preceded him in death. His loving wife La’Ray Gilbreath, daughter Denise Bartell, son-in-law Jon Bartell, grandson Matthew Bartell and granddaughters, Leah and Caitlin Bartell, survive him.
Charlie graduated from Alice High School in 1956. He was a member of the Coyote football team playing center and linebacker. The Coyotes were the 1955 District Champs and Charlie was named All District center. Following graduation he attended the University of Texas at Austin. On August 29, 1959 Charlie married La’Ray, also from Alice, and they moved to San Marcos, Texas. He transferred from the University of Texas to Southwest Texas State College so that he and his new bride could live as a couple in the College’s Dormitory for Married Couples. He graduated from Southwest Texas State College but remained a Longhorn fan the remainder of his life.
Charlie and La’Ray moved to Houston where Charlie worked as an Insurance Adjuster for USF&G. He enrolled in law school, while continuing to work, taking classes and studying at night. He graduated from South Texas College of Law in January 1972 and passed the bar exam a few weeks prior to graduation on December 31, 1971. Charlie enjoyed working with his law partners at Stovall, Wilhite and Gilbreath for many years before establishing a private practice.
Charlie was a devoted family man, enjoyed traveling and was involved in a number of hobbies and volunteer work. He most enjoyed being with his family, but also enjoyed spending a Saturday on the Golf course with his golf buddies. He traveled with his family to Europe, the Middle East and enjoyed many, many trips to Mexico where he owned an interest in Marina Flota de Oro at Mazatlan, Mexico. Charlie loved flying and began taking flying lessons in the 1980’s earning his Private Pilot Certificate on June 9, 1983. Charlie served as a volunteer for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for 29 years. He served on the Swine Auction Committee from 1987 to 1995, the Paint Horse Committee from 1995 to 1999 and Special Children’s Committee from 1999 to the end of his life. In 2002, he became a Lifetime Committee member.
Charlie and La’Ray as a couple were the “dynamic duo” providing a warm, supportive and active home for their family and friends hosting Christmas Tree decorating parties for their glorious 12 foot Christmas trees, PEO luncheons, enchilada parties with Charles’ childhood friend, Ronnie Copps, making his famous dish, and countless Chase the Ace parties…”first one out of the game is the bartender”. Charles faithfully supported La’Ray’s career as a teacher at Memorial High School attending activities, and football games. He never missed his daughter’s volleyball games or high school plays, and with an open heart made her friends feel like part of his family. La’Ray became involved as a Child Protective Services advocate and CASA volunteer; and, Charlie often spent time procuring refrigerators, clothes or whatever these families in need required to support his wife’s volunteer activities. Charlie was always the “shoulder” everyone leaned on and the consummate provider for those he loved. He was generous with his kindness and was able to infect those around him with desire to be better people. He managed to make people feel valuable and appreciated, and therefore, set an example for those around him to do the same. He was a devoted and loving husband and father; and, later in life, a doting grandfather.
The family would like to thank Silverado Memory Care and Silverado Hospice for providing their comfort and care to Charlie during his final days.
Services for Charlie will be held at the First Baptist Church of Tomball, Texas on Friday April 17, 2015 at 11 a.m. with a reception following afterwards. A graveside prayer will be held in Alice, Texas at Rose Lawn Cemetery on Saturday April 18, 2015 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Education Fund in memory of Charles Gilbreath at PO Box 20070, Houston, Texas 77225.