A celebration of the life of Chuck Wielgus is planned for May 25 on Hilton Head Island, where he was a champion of public recreation in the 1980s.
Frank Soule, who succeeded Wielgus as director of the Island Recreation Association, said the event will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 25, at Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks, 1 Hudson Road.
“We want Chuck’s friends to celebrate his great life here and how he helped shape Hilton Head and recreation, and some of the other things did for our community in the short time he was here,” Soule said.
Wielgus died at age 67 last month in Colorado following a long battle with cancer.
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He was director of the Island Recreation Association from 1983 to 1989, a pivotal era in which it expanded its role in the community.
He was at the head when the old Youth Center organization founded by the Hilton Head Rotary Club became a recreation center with a new building and swimming pool using public funding. It added athletic leagues, after-school care for children, programs for the elderly and plenty of opportunities for his favorite activity — pick-up basketball.
“He led us through a change in direction,” said Charles Perry, who was a founder of the Youth Center and longtime board member and chairman of the Island Recreation Association. “He said we’ve got to do more than just be a youth center, we’ve got to be a full-fledged recreation center, adding a lot more programs.”
Wielgus went on to become executive director of USA Swimming for almost two decades.