Charlie (as he was known) was a very active and inquisitive child, who is remembered among those of his generation for the Little Church that he built using as the base building an old chicken coop that his grandfather had built. He was the pastor of the Little Church with his sister Jane serving as organist and his brother Jim serving as sexton. It was well attended by the local children. It even achieved a note of fame with Charlie delivering a sermon that was broadcast by a New York City radio station and the church being featured in an edition of Life Magazine. The church building, which Charlie restored in the 1990s can now be visited at the Troy Farmer’s Museum.
Charles was a graduate of the University of Dubuque, Mansfield University and did post-graduate study at the University of Iowa. He is best remembered as a teacher. He started teaching in a one-room school house in Kidder, Iowa, then taught at Ralston High School and Elementary Schools, Liberty Elementary School, and Canton Elementary School. He also taught at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Va. He was a very hands-on teacher who reveled in finding creative ways for children to actively use devices, such as a binary adding-machine that he designed and built, to better understand mathematical and scientific principles, and took his classes on hikes to see their local history, such as the old iron furnace near Ralston, and to collect fossils above Rock Run.
Charles was a partner in H. Rockwell & Son, where he managed construction projects over the years, and handled needed maintenance. In 1958 when the business was constructing a new mill, the general contractor died and he managed the project to a successful completion. He is remembered by many as the “high wire artist” who would paint the high metal roofs of the mills during the summer months.
Charles was very civic minded. He served on the Board of Directors of the Green Free Library, Trustee of the Park Cemetery, and Board of the Church of Christ (Disciples). He served many years as the unpaid caretaker of Park Cemetery, where he maintained the grounds, repaired the results of vandalism and straightened innumerable grave stones using a fulcrum technique and tools that he developed. He was a member of the Church of Christ (Disciples) Canton and Church of Christ (Disciples) North Union, the Tin Can Sailors Association, the International Order of Woodsmen and long-time blood donor for the American Red Cross.
He is most widely known as the head of the Canton Bike Club and the author of a weekly column in the Canton Independent Sentinel that chronicled the weekly rides of the club and which was read by his “13 Faithful Readers." Charles began serious biking in 1977 when he made an independent trek from Fuentebravia to Arcos de la Frontera in Spain. This led to his first long-distance trek from Norfolk, Virginia to Durango, Colorado. He yearned for more and in 1983 he rode from Canton to Boston, Massachusetts, then to Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada, and because he was ahead of schedule, he continued to San Francisco, California. Always he carried his camping gear with him and slept under the stars. Over the years he rode with the Club nearly every weekend, summer and winter, with stops at Our House Restaurant in Grover for Walnut Pie to keep up the Club’s strength. For many summers he rode with Dick Turner to Hammondsport, New York with an overnight stay at the National Hotel in Bath, New York where they would be joined by their wives, Carol and Kathy.
Charles was a true renaissance man and loving father/grandfather who will be deeply missed by his family and friends.
Calling hours are 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018 at Pepper Funeral Home & Cremation Facility,