Charlie is survived by his wife, Shirley; sister, Rebecca Cannady (John) of Camilla, Ga.; six children, Chuck Jr. (Janice) of Grand Rapids, Michael (Mary) of Grand Rapids, Susan Wilson (Jim) of Chippewa Lake; stepchildren, Cathie D’Itri (Ken) of California, Leslie North (Dan) of Florida, Dana Miiller (Kevin) of Florida; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Charlie was born May 15, 1931 in Big Rapids, Mich. Upon moving to Rockford he started grade school. Prior to starting high school, he and a few of his buddies at the age of 14 drove from Rockford all the way to Georgia one summer to visit his father.
After graduating in 1949 from Rockford High School, Charlie served as a sergeant in the Armed Forces during Korean War. After his return from the war, he worked for Lear Seigler for several years. Charlie then owned and operated his own body shops for many years, including Grover’s Body Shop in downtown Rockford and another shop located on Northland Drive. His body shops were always a popular place where his friends liked to stop by and talk about their cars, work and families. Chuck also worked for Chevy dealerships as their body shop manager for several years before moving to Florida to somewhat retire. But his love for restoring old cars kept him busy up until the age of 79. There is no doubt he loved not only working on cars but teaching others the trade as well.
Charlie was a past Mason and Shriner during his years in the Rockford area. He served part time for the Rockford City Police Department and was instrumental in starting the Rockford Ambulance Service back in the mid 1960s when he was an EMT volunteer for several years. He was a member of the Golden R Club at Rockford High School. Most every year he would plan his summer vacation with his daughter Sue and her husband to attend the reunion and visit with classmates, friends and family.
Charlie made many friends over the years. He was always willing to offer a helping hand and good sound advice for those who asked and a lot of time even if they didn’t.
Many will remember the home that he purchased for $1 from Pederson’s Funeral Home and moved from Monroe Street to the corner of Lincoln and Courtland. He was amazed that three drywall screws placed on a window sill, standing on their heads, never fell over during the over eight-hour move down the street and set on the new foundation. He was a man of many talents, who took great pride in finishing and restoring this old home as his own.
Charlie was passionate about restoring street rods. He was a past and present member of several car clubs in Grand Rapids and in Lake County, Fla. and was an NSRA member. He was honored to have pictures of two cars he completely restored featured in Rodder’s Digest car magazine. We will all remember Charlie as a generous person who never met a stranger who didn’t end up as his friend.
A celebration of life will be held on Sunday, Jan. 29 at the American Legion Hall, 300 Northland Dr., Rockford, from 2 to 4 p.m. Interment will be in Rockford Cemetery.