Charles “Huck” Gilbert
My grandparents, Ann Foster Gilbert and Virgil Elias Gilbert, welcomed my Dad into the world June 30, 1955. They knew right away that Huck was a compassionate child, and instilled the importance of family on him at an early age. My Dad met my Mom, Merle Buchanan, in the fall of 1986. They both knew it was love at first sight and were inseparable ever since. They married on March 14, 1987, in Ocean City, Maryland. It was March Madness, and, because my Dad was a diehard UNC Tarheel fan, their first dance was more of a waltz. This was to ensure that my Dad could watch the game the whole time. Not only did Dad enjoy watching his teams play, but he was one hell of an athlete himself. Baseball, soccer, basketball….you name it, he played it. He would at least would give anything a try, and then likely beat you at your own game. If he wasn’t playing ball, you could find him hunting or crabbing.
When he loved something, he loved it wholeheartedly, and often put others needs before his. Which brings me, to me, his absolute pride and joy, his baby girl. He proudly chose my name, Ashley. I became his shadow on January 30, 1991, and never stopped following him and learning from him since that day. I was Daddy’s girl from the start and that never changed. My Dad became “Ducky” to my two daughters, Harper and Blaike, and that was something so special to witness. If anyone could get smiles and good times out of him, it was definitely those two. They loved their Ducky dearly and always thought the world of him. That feeling was so obviously mutual.
My Dad was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease on November 8, 2012. He spent two years of his life traveling to Christiana Hospital to participate in a double-blind study for Alzheimer’s medication. This was solely in order to help others fight this disease. He knew the chances of it ever helping him and his battle were very slim, but that was never going to stop him. There was a chance it could help someone else someday, so he was definitely going to be a part of that.
Through hard work, dedication, and a whole lot of love, my Dad was able to stay home throughout this battle due to my Mom. There is no better example of “in sickness and in health, until death do us part” than these two people. They lived out their vows every single day and it was so clear to see. We had a beautiful prayer service for my Dad the Sunday before he passed. The house was filled with family and friends sharing incredible stories and an even more incredible outpouring of love.
Dad’s long fight with Alzheimer’s disease came to an end on Wednesday, January 10, 2018. He passed peacefully with me and my Mom by his side. We plan to have a celebration of his life at a later date.
In addition to his immediate family, Huck is survived by his sister, Terry Nelson, of Baltimore, Maryland. In remembrance of Huck, donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation (alz.org).