Charles R. Wilhelm Jr., 66, insurance claims manager

October 28, 2004

Charles R. Wilhelm Jr., a retired insurance claims department manager and auto racing enthusiast, was killed Friday in a head-on collision on Interstate 70 near Cooksville. He was 66, and was driving a friend to a NASCAR racing event at the time of the crash.

A native and resident of Monkton, Mr. Wilhelm was a 1956 graduate of Hereford High School and attended the University of Baltimore.

He worked as an auto body repairman in Hereford and Towson shops before joining Lee Owens Insurance Agency as an adjuster in 1964.

He later managed the claims department of the Paramount Insurance Co. in Woodlawn for many years until retiring on a medical disability in 1995 after heart transplant surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Mr. Wilhelm's interest in racing began in his youth when he drove at dirt tracks in Maryland and Pennsylvania. After his 1960 marriage to Doris A. Naylor and the birth of their first child, Mr. Wilhelm gave up driving but not his interest in the sport.

Mr. Wilhelm was driving his pickup truck to attend qualifying races in Martinsville, Va., at the time of the accident that also killed his passenger and friend, James H. Gillispie, 75, of Parkton.

Mr. Wilhelm also enjoyed fishing for croaker, Norfolk spot and trout, family members said.

He attended Monkton United Methodist Church.

Services were held yesterday.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Wilhelm is survived by a daughter, Sandra L. Ruhl of Monkton; three sisters, Virginia Blanchard of Monkton and Frances Wolfe and Louise Hale, both of Hampstead; and two grandchildren. Another daughter, Brenda Ann Wilhelm, died in 1969.

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