We wanted to use our own words, as a family, to try and capture the life and memory of William Charles Robertson — a loving husband, father of three girls, and grandfather, who, on July 7, 2020, passed away at the age of 62.
Chuck, as he was known, was born in Paducah, Kentucky, and graduated from Paducah Tilghman High School in 1975. Throughout his adult life, he worked in management for a series of retail pharmacies, beginning his career at Payless Drugs and ending it at CVS Pharmacy, from which he retired in 2004.
He had many interests: golfing, fishing, cooking, the beach, and crafting beautiful objects (even homes) out of raw materials. However, his greatest love was his family.
If you knew Chuck, you undoubtedly knew about his girls — his twin daughters, Lindsay and Jessica, and his youngest daughter, Ashlyn.
Chuck was a Girl Dad.
He was a teach his daughters how to be strong Dad; a how to check their oil Dad; a how to catch a fish and take it off the hook Dad; a drive all night and help his daughter move apartments Dad; a dance with his daughter to Stevie Wonder at her wedding Dad; a write tiny love notes for his daughters Dad; a cook with his daughter and speak the language of food Dad; a put a basketball, softball, glove, and bat in their hands and teach them how to play Dad; a take them to concerts and stay through the encore Dad; a meet his daughter with lunch in the middle of the day Dad; a buy a basketball during chemo and shoot around with his daughter even when he’s weak Dad; a tell his daughters how smart and independent — not just how beautiful — they are Dad; an ask them how they are every day Dad; a tell them you love them without question when they make hard choices Dad.
A surrounded by his girls until his last breath Dad.
He was also a proud grandfather to Augustus Jude, who absorbed their grandfather’s love of building, inventing, and making entirely new worlds with their bare hands. Chuck always said that Augustus, even at a young age, had a good head, a good heart, and good hands. Gussy was his first and only grandchild and, to Chuck, Augustus represented the world, a sense of possibility, and the promise of a future.
As much as he loved his girls and family — which is to say immeasurably — his happiest life was with his wife, Sarah. When they were married, he said he’d found his best friend. Sarah brought out and magnified so many parts of him: a sense of adventure, a want for rich experiences with family, a patience and hopefulness, and an immense desire to take deep care of everyone he loved.
Together, Chuck and Sarah built a home on a small private lake next to Sarah’s family. They traveled, often to beaches. Chuck’s favorite spot was any place with sand and water, especially Holden Beach, where he spent many trips with his family. They learned how to scuba dive together. Competed in golf tournaments together. And brought their families together.
Weeks before death, one of his daughters asked Chuck what worried him most. He replied, simply and clearly, “Sarah.” In the rewritten version of his life, he’d get to stay with her. He had so many plans and as he told it, this was not how it was supposed to end.
When he was diagnosed with cancer in October 2017, Chuck’s chances for long-term survival were small. But he lived each day, even the hardest ones, as he’d done all of his life: with determination, with willfulness, and with a quiet grace. He said he didn’t fear death. He only spoke of how much he loved his life and how deeply he wanted it to continue.
In the end, Chuck taught us these three things: be loyal, be loving, and be loved. Beyond this, we’ve learned through his example that time isn’t to be taken for granted, that love can be subtle as much as it can be loud, and that strength can be borrowed.
His life united us. And while we have suffered a tremendous loss, we also celebrate him and his journey. We ask those who knew and loved him to do the same.
May his life continue through each of us.
Chuck was preceded in death by his father, Lennis B. Robertson, and mother Velda (Reynolds) Robertson. He is survived by his wife, Sarah Connell-Robertson; his daughters Lindsay and Jessica Robertson, and Ashlyn Robertson-Berry; his brother Randy Robertson and his sister Mary Mitchell; many beloved aunts, uncles, and cousins; and his grandchild, Augustus Jude.
We’d like to thank the SIH Cancer Center for their incredible care for Chuck. For those who wish to offer their condolences, we encourage a donation to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) or to the Lustgarten Foundation for pancreatic research.
We’ll meet you at the beach one day soon.