The Salvation Army mourns the untimely passing of Board Member Charles Wyly, a well-known Dallas entrepreneur, philanthropist, and long-time supporter of The Salvation Army. He died in an auto accident in Aspen, Colorado on Sunday, August 7th.
“Charles Wyly’s philanthropic works made a lasting impact on those less fortunate both here in Dallas and across the country. Charles served proudly on The Salvation Army’s Advisory Board in Dallas for 40 years and on the National Advisory Board for almost a decade. His support for the Army and other nonprofits helped provide social services, education, health care and more to so many Americans over his lifetime. He was an inspiration and role model to me personally. His presence will be missed but not forgotten as his spirit continues to influence us all,” said Charlotte Jones Anderson, National Advisory Board Chairwoman for The Salvation Army.
Wyly had a servant’s heart. He dedicated his time and financial resources to charitable causes as varied as education, the arts, social services, health care, and human rights. He even rang bells for kettle donations at the Dallas Shopping Mall every Christmas.
He served as a Salvation Army Board Member with dedication for 40 years and was an active Life Member. He was on various committees over the years, and had served as Advisory Board Chairman. Most recently, he was on the Underwriting Committee for the 2011 Annual Doing the Most Good Luncheon, as well as the Performing Arts Committee and the Long-Range Plan Committee. In 2003, Charles was instrumental in securing a monumental grant from the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Fund of the Communities Foundation of Dallas, to provide three years of funding to support the implementation of a strategic long-range plan for The Salvation Army in Dallas. Wyly was also a member of The Salvation Army’s national advisory board where he had served as Treasurer, and on the Executive Committee, Financial & Institutional Development Committee, and Business Administration Committee.
“Charles Wyly had a passion for business and innovation and a heart for supporting philanthropy and the less fortunate,” said Major George Hood, National Community Relations & Development Secretary for The Salvation Army. “Over the years, Charles and his family were dedicated supporters of The Salvation Army, firmly believing in our Mission. Charles gave financially and he gave 40 years of experience and knowledge to The Salvation Army as a trusted friend. Our prayers and thoughts are with his family.”
Along with his brother and business partner, Sam, he was at the forefront of innovation, progress, and success in areas as diverse as technology, retail, investment management, and energy. After graduating from Louisiana Tech University in 1956, Charles went to work for IBM where he set sales records. He was later a founder of USACafes and, for 23 years, active as a director of this franchisor, which built the Bonanza Steakhouse restaurant chain to over 600 units. He was a founder and served as vice chairman for 16 years of Sterling Software, Inc., an international computer software company, and he served as a director of Sterling Commerce, Inc. Charles was co-founder and past chairman of Michaels Stores, Inc., the nation’s leading arts-and-crafts retail chain operating over 1,000 stores in 48 states and Canada.
Wyly was a faithful Christian and a loyal supporter of the Salvation Army. He will be sincerely missed by all.