Written by Darryl Woodson
Charles Preston “Bill” Tolley Lt. Col. USAF (Ret.), 81, of The Chamberlin Ft. Monroe died July 9, 2014, at Sentara Hospital in Hampton after a long illness.
The second of nine children of the late Charles Lloyd Tolley and Elizabeth Barger Tolley, he was born Feb. 9, 1933, at Natural Bridge Station. Bill graduated from Natural Bridge High School and then Virginia Military Institute in 1956 with a degree in civil engineering. After graduation, he was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. In 1957 he married Elsie Lee Elliott of Buena Vista and began a career as a navigator in SAC and TAC, ending his service career as base Civil Engineer at Mildenhall AFB, in England. He served from 1957 to 1978, which included a tour in Vietnam. After retirement from the Air Force, Bill and Else opened the Corner Cottage in Gloucester, VA which they owned and operated for 25 years. Bill was a member of First Presbyterian Church in Gloucester, where he was a Deacon, Elder, sang in the church choir in addition to the Tricounty Express. He was a former president of the Tidewater VMI Association and the Class Agent for the VMI Class of ’56.
Bill was predeceased by sisters Jeanne Tolley Bourne and Susan Tolley. He is survived by Elsie Lee Elliott Tolley, his wife of 56 years; four daughters, Betsy (Mark) Healy of Chapel Hill, N.C.; Becky Tolley of Arlington, Sarah (Conrad) Chin of Minneapolis, Minn.; Jenny (Bill) Crossen of San Antonio, Texas; three grandchildren, Elise and Kyle Healy, and Coleman Chin; four brothers, Ed Tolley of Buchanan, Carl (Betty) Tolley and Brownlee (Gayle) Tolley of Natural Bridge Station and Stephen Tolley (Kim) of Birmingham, Ala.; two sisters, Nancy (Ken) Hostetter of Lexington and Doris (Bill) Trussell of Fairfax; and numerous nieces, nephews and many other special relatives and friends. The heavenly choir has a new tenor!
A memorial service celebrating Bill’s life will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to: American Parkinson's Disease Association, Hampton Roads Chapter, c/o OLOPH, 4560 Princess Anne Road, Virginia Beach Blvd., 23462; Lewy Body Dementia Association 912 Killian Hill Road, S.W. Lilburn, GA 30047; or the VMI Foundation, Inc., Neikirk Hall, 304 Letcher Avenue, Lexington, VA 24450. Arrangements are by R. Hayden Smith Funeral Home in downtown Hampton, (757) 723-3191.