Charles Joseph Davilla passed away on December 26, 2014, with his loved ones at his side. He was born on January 23rd, 1924 to Mary and Enos Davilla in San Leandro, California. His mother, Mary, sadly passed away when he was five years old. He lived with his grandparents in Concord, CA until he was eleven years old, and then he moved to Long Beach. California. There he lived with his father, Enos, and his step-mother, Josephine, and his brother John and sister Mary. Charles attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School and graduated in June of 1942. During the graduation ceremony, he was paired to walk with Ilene Glaue, who would later become his bride. In July 1942, he attended technical school with Long Beach Douglas Aircraft and he worked on the A-20 and Boeing B-17. One thing that he has always fondly remembered, while working there, is seeing Franklin D. Roosevelt who came to visit them when working on the A-20 aircraft. Charles was drafted into the army in December of 1942, and he was sent to Hammer Field in Fresno, CA. There, he signed up for aerial gunner school. He received his silver wings. From there he was sent to radio operator/mechanic school in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. On December 1943, he was promoted to sergeant and graduated radio operator/mechanic school. In June of 1944, he was sent to Europe aboard the Queen Elizabeth I. Charles, who enjoyed music, was happy to learn that Glenn Miller was on board to entertain the troops the entire trip. He was then taken to Ireland to train for combat missions, where he found a 4 leaf clover in a field which my father always said had brought him good luck. Charles joined the 567th bombardment squadron, and he was in the 389th bombardment group. On July 10, 1944, he flew his first combat mission aboard the B-24 Liberator called the D-Day Patches. The plane had over two hundred bullet holes in it which had been patched. By March 1945, Charles had completed 32 combat missions. He became engaged to Ilene during this time. He promised her if the Good Lord allows me to return, I will marry you and we will spend the rest of our lives together. On May 3, 1945, Ilene and Charles were married. On September 1945, he was honorably discharged.
On March 1947, Charles went to California Flyer School of Aeronautics and received a U.S. government license to work on government aircraft and engines. Through his career he was an electrical engineer for North American, Douglas, Packard Bell, RCA, Hughes Helicopter, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed and Rockwell where he worked on many secret projects which he could never talk about at that time. Later on, he told us he worked on the Space Shuttle, Apache helicopter and the Stealth bomber.
On October 21, 1949, their daughter was born and they named her, Charlene, by combining both of their names. A son was born on May 6, 1957 and he was named Daniel after our father’s favorite song, Danny Boy. Ilene, Charles’ beloved wife, passed away on March 29th, 2009. They had been married for 64 years.
Charles is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Charlene and Greg Taylor, his son, Daniel. Charles had three grandchildren: Eric and his wife Lauren Taylor, Deborah Taylor and Kevin and his wife Vienna Taylor. He had one great granddaughter: Olivia Marie Taylor.
Viewing will be at Luyben-Dilday Mortuary at 5161 E. Arbor Rd. Long Beach from 4:00 -7:00 with the rosary service from 7:00-8:00 PM on January 2nd. On Saturday, January 3rd, at 10:00 AM, will be the service for Charles at St. Barnabas Church in Long Beach. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Veterans of Foreign War.
Published: Jan. 1, 2015 - Volume 13 - Issue 38