The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

February 27, 2014

Wiley Christopher

The News Courier

— Wiley Nicholas Christopher, known to his friends and family as Nick, passed away Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, of natural causes.

He was born April 7, 1920, to J.E. and Mary Christopher of Athens and was preceded in death by his wife, Helen; his sister, Francis Kennemer; and his brothers, Cecil, Carlos and Harold Christopher.

Nick entered the Army at the outbreak of World War II. After crossing North Africa, he served as an officer in the 106th Anti-Aircraft Battalion attached to the 45th Infantry Division.  He participated in the Italian campaign to include the landing at Anzio beach and the subsequent fighting up to the capture of Rome. 

His unit progressed through France and was in Germany by war’s end, participating in the liberation of the concentration camp at Dachau outside of Munich.  His contributions during the fighting in Italy and France earned him the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

After returning from the war, he met his wife, Helen while attending school in Nashville, Tenn.  They were married in Nashville in 1948. Eventually they moved to Huntsville, where Nick began his 30-year employment with Nike Hercules, Sentinel Command, and the Ballistic Missile Defense Systems Command. 

In addition to being initiated into the Madison County Hall of Heroes, he enjoyed the honor of being on the first Huntsville Honor Flight program, which escorted World War II veterans to Washington D.C. 

He was a faithful member of Whitesburg Baptist Church, and served as chairman of deacons and as chairman of the Finance Committee for several years and always felt privileged to be included in church activities. He enjoyed his favorite game of golf, his grandchildren, his great-grandson, as well as staying active in the church during his retirement.

Survivors include his son, U.S. Navy Capt. Steve Christopher and wife Beth of Camp Lejeune, N.C.; daughter, Lisa McMullen and husband Butch of Cartersville, Ga.; brothers, James Allen Christopher and wife Helen and Norris Christopher and wife Barbara, all of Athens; sister, Martha Jane Benfante and husband Tony of Niagara Falls, N.Y.; sisters-in-law, Mrs. Aileen Christopher and husband T. Cecil of Athens, Mrs. Nita Christopher and husband Harold of Cullman; grandchildren, Will McMullen of Macon, Ga., Ben McMullen of Cartersville, Ga., Laura Taylor and husband Joey; great-grandson Noah Taylor of Cartersville, Ga.; and many fond nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be 4-6 p.m. Saturday, March 1, at Spry Funeral Home in Huntsville. The memorial service is at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 2, at the South Campus Chapel of Whitesburg Baptist Church.  Following the service, burial will be at Maple Hill Cemetery. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Gideon’s International or to Whitesburg Baptist Church.