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Young family begins coping with loss of husband, father

January 02, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Moving boxes were stacked and photo albums were spread out in the living room of Tracy and Charles Wingfield's new Hagerstown home on New Year's Day, but no one was unpacking. The young family was trying to cope with the loss of a loving father, husband and friend.

Charles W. Wingfield, 32, who spent most of his life in Frederick, Md., was shot and killed early Wednesday morning at a Martinsburg, W.Va., apartment complex.

His wife of more than four years said she had no idea why her husband was in Martinsburg at the time. She said someone who worked for her husband, who owned Wingfield Construction Co., a roofing business, lived near that area.

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Wingfield was found lying next to a company pickup, police said.

The Wingfields had just moved into their home, at 1913 Applewood Drive in Hagerstown a week ago from Wolfsville, Md. Tracy Wingfield is pregnant with the couple's third child, expected in June.

Brandon, 9, would play the "Grand Theft Auto 3" video game every night with his father. The two took turns completing missions, Brandon said.

The Wingfield's youngest son, Anthony, 3, enjoyed dancing every night with his father, usually to the music of the rock band Linkin Park, Tracy Wingfield said.

"He had the biggest heart out of anybody I know," she said.

In the midst of the couple's weeklong fourth wedding anniversary celebration in Las Vegas - one of their favorite spots - Charles was called back home to finish some work. He made a surprise return to Las Vegas, showing up in a limousine to take Tracy out to dinner, wearing a black pinstriped suit and brown shoes, she said.

"His luggage was lost," she said.

Jennifer Sines, 27, Tracy Wingfield's longtime best friend, was with her Wednesday night. She said she had worked with Charles to arrange the Las Vegas surprise.

"He was so excited about it," she said.

Tracy Wingfield said some of her favorite memories of her husband were times the family spent together at home and on vacations. The couple went every year to Holden Beach, N.C., where Brandon and Charles would ride a body board.

Tracy Wingfield laid out five pictures of Charles, all at the beach, smiling admiringly at his small children. Black Jack, the family's 7-month-old beagle, sniffed around the photographs, oblivious to the family's loss.

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