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Charles E. Ingram was born in West Point, GA on November 27,1950. His father, Charles L. Ingram was a career military man (US Army – 32 years) and his mother, Lula Ramsey Ingram, was a homemaker.
He accepted Christ at an early age under the leadership of his maternal grandfather, the late Reverend Ed Ramsey, at the Love Union Baptist Church.
“Sonny” or “Sonny boy” as he was affectionately known by his family was the second child out of five and was the first male. His paternal grandmother, Alma Ingram, often called him “Bubba”, but no one else used that nickname.
Between 1958 and 1962, Charles lived in Bamberg, Germany with his family as a military dependent. Upon returning to the United States, the family was stationed at Fort Benning (renamed Fort Moore in 2023) in Columbus, GA. During the next six years, Sonny spent extensive amounts of time as a carpenter apprentice and general construction “goffer” during the summers. This exposure to the building and construction trades included carpentry, plumbing, painting, basic electrical work and other skills and was guided by uncles and cousins from the maternal side of the family (the Ramsey’s). These experiences and training shaped much of Charles’ life. Between his training and innate abilities, Charles developed into a gifted artist. He explored most artistic mediums – writing poetry, painting, sculpture, woodworking, drawing and stained-glass work.
Sonny graduated from his beloved Baker High School (Columbus, GA) in 1969. Although Charles had the fervent desire, rich talent and strong skills to attend professional art school after completing high school, his family’s economic constraints at that time along with less than stellar academic grades made attending art school financially impossible. Instead, he enlisted in the US Army where he trained as a helicopter mechanic and crew chief. Charles spent a year in combat in Vietnam and the horrors of that war profoundly.
Impacted all aspects of the rest of his life. Some of his dearest and closest friends are members of a group of veterans who experienced the same traumas.
Sonny was honorably discharged from active duty in 1983 and completed his military service in the Army Reserves. After leaving active duty, Charles served in the US Civil Service from 1983 -1995, where he worked as an equipment specialist for Army helicopters.
In 1995, Sonny moved to Somerset, NJ and several years later, joined the Salvation Army in Newark and Trenton, NJ. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in 2003. During his service with the Salvation Army,
Sonny operated the Outreach Canteen Ministry Truck and was recognized with a citywide commendation in prevention and recovery for Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Trenton, NJ.
After leaving the Salvation Army in 2010, Charles was licensed as an Associate Minister at Shiloh Baptist Church under the leadership of Reverend William H. Ingram, Sr. who is his brother. Charles faithfully served there until his death. His special calling as a Christian was to be an ambassador for Christ in the area of evangelism. God gave him a bold spirit to speak to any and everyone about Jesus. He would talk to strangers on the street, people in restaurants…anywhere, and because of his ability to engage with others and his persistence, he delivered many souls to Christ. He was active in supporting and mentoring men and women who needed drug detoxification and rehabilitation.
During the 2011 – 2023 time period, Charles worked as a carpenter/general contractor and completed many jobs for local homeowners and businesses in the Elizabeth/Edison/Metuchen areas and beyond.
He was excellent in his craft and was well liked by his professional peers and coworkers.
Charles’ 73 years on this earth were filled with trials and tribulations, but God was merciful and good to him. In spite of developing lung cancer late in his life from exposure to burn pits and Agent Orange, he was filled with an appreciation for life, enjoyed good food, had a host of close friends and loved his family. He died the evening of December 25, 2023, at the Lyons VA Hospice unit after a two year battle with cancer.
He was preceded in death by both parents (father – Charles L. Ingram in 2007 and mother – Lula R. Ingram in 2012). Charles is survived by: four siblings Charlotte L. Ingram; William H. Ingram Sr.(Ann); Christallia D. Garza(Robert); Anthony L. Ingram (Joy); nephew William H. Ingram Jr(Elisa); niece Keisha A. Ingram; nephew Christopher D. Black(Marlinda); niece Joy Michelle Ingram; nephew Robert Ingram; nephew Derron B. Black; nephew Aaron L. Ingram(Kirsten); beloved first cousins Paul D.Brown(Wanda),Edmond Brown (Deneen) and many other cherished cousins and dear friends. Sonny will be fondly and dearly missed.
The Ingram Family