Charles E. “Chuck” Williams was born on October 2, 1915, and died on December 5, 2015.
He was the founder of the Williams-Sonoma company and author and editor of dozens of books on the subject of cooking.
Charles turned 100 in October 2015 and two months later died on December 5.
Born in 1915 in Jacksonville, Florida, Charles Williams learned to cook from his maternal grandmother, who had owned a restaurant in Lima, Ohio.
When the Great Depression hit, his father’s auto repair business failed, and the family moved to southern California.
His father fared no better there and soon abandoned his wife, son and daughter.
Eventually, Charles found work, on a date farm near Palm Springs, Sniff’s Date Gardens in Indio.
The couple who owned it, Dana and Abagail Sniff, took him in and drove him to high school in the mornings while he spent the afternoons working at the date shop and grounds.
Charles lived with the Sniffs for seven years until just after his graduation from high school.
His sister died in 1933 from a brain injury, after being hit in the head with a baseball.
His mother returned to Florida, and Charles finished school and moved to Los Angeles.
During World War II, Charles spent four years overseas as an airplane mechanic for Lockheed International, working on aircraft in India and East Africa.
After the war, Charles returned to Los Angeles and one weekend, joined friends for golf in Sonoma.
Charles fell in love with the town and moved there in 1947, starting a successful business as a building contractor.
Charles passed away at age 100 in December 2015.