Williamsville family holds blanket drive in honor of late husband & father

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Charles Williams loved his family and loved holidays.

In fact, his family says some of their favorite memories of the “gentle giant” are from Christmas morning, when his daughter Kelly says he would wake up extra early and play the Star Wars theme song throughout the house.

“He really made every day special,” she said.

This is what made this past Christmas so hard for the Williams family; it was their first without Charles, who died suddenly on Dec. 3, 2019.

“He had no symptoms. We had Chinese food, we watched TV,” his wife, Tonja, said. “It was ordinary until 4 o’clock in the morning, he was starting to have symptoms where he was having difficulty breathing, and it just progressed really, really fast. And what he passed away from was fluid overload.”

Before his death, Charles received treatment for his kidneys at the DaVita Dialysis Center in Amherst. Tonja says her husband never complained about being there three days a week, but did notice something that made him upset.

“They keep the temperature fairly cold to keep the infections down,” Tonja explained. “It would bother him that so many would come without the proper ‘gear.'”

Now, Tonja, along with her daughters Kelly and Desiree, and her grandson Cortland, decided to make Charles’ wish of giving back true by holding a blanket drive.

Starting Saturday, Oct. 24, people are asked to bring new blankets to True Community Development Corporation. Between 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., you can drive up to 275 Kehr Street, Buffalo, NY 14211 to donate. The plan is to do this every week until December 3, the anniversary of Charles’ passing.

Tonja says she knows her husband is smiling down at the thought of this.

“There’s no doubt about it,” she said. “This would warm his heart and soul.”

Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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