OBITUARY

Charles F. Lee

January 23, 1931November 23, 2018

Charles F. Lee was blessed with an abundance of leadership qualities. It would be accurate to say that this man was an outstanding luminary and that his natural abilities served him well. He knew with certainty how he wanted to set priorities in all aspects of his life. He struck those who knew him as the kind of person who awoke in the morning with a clear sense of exactly what he expected from his day and how to set about accomplishing those goals. Charles was a man who definitely liked order and was most comfortable with an organized and structured lifestyle. When this climate was absent, Charles would set about immediately to create it.

Charles was born on January 23, 1931 in Berwyn, Illinois. His parents were Norman and Marie Lee. Charles was raised in Downers Grove and Naperville, Illinois. Charles was brought up to be reasonable in his actions and was taught to use his intellect wisely. He was an honest and straightforward child, traits that reinforced his self-confidence. Even at a young age, Charles was credited with having a positive influence on those around him.

Charles was raised with six siblings. He had an older sister, Eleanor, an older brother, Norman, and four younger sisters: Mary, Martha, Doris, and Cathryn. While he was significantly older than his younger siblings, he did become friends with them later in life.

Charles's enthusiasm for learning and the personal energy that enthusiasm generated led to his exhibiting leadership qualities early on in his childhood. He liked to see things executed properly and showed a skill for taking control of situations that were drifting out of control. At the same time, he was willing to experiment with different approaches as he worked a plan towards a solution. As a young boy, he took part in football, though this caused his only hospital admission until he was 87!

When it came to academics and school, Charles's organizational skills often clashed with his hyperactivity. While this ultimately led to educational success, he had to create a system for getting his class work done in a proper and timely manner. It also meant that while he attended high school with his future wife, they didn’t meet as she was much more academically focused. He showed a natural curiosity in the manner in which he tackled new types of problems and would regularly challenge his own reasoning ability in finding solutions. He graduated from Naperville High School in 1949.

The work habits and approaches to studying that Charles utilized in high school also served him well in college. Charles always seemed on a quest for knowledge. He was able to generalize, summarize and compile information for his classes, employing a matter-of-fact approach. Charles was intuitive and mentally alert, seemed to crave the challenge of solving complex problems. After working and going to school full time he earned his Bachelor’s Degree from North Central College and was selected by his employers who sent him for his MFA Degree from SMU where he graduated in 1982. His favorite courses were film making which became the focus of his work and a great joy.

In a group of friends and acquaintances, Charles was typically the first person to take the initiative to go up and greet someone new. That quality made him very approachable by others throughout his life. This same quality brought Charles the reward of many friends. Maintaining loyalty to those friends was a trait that came naturally to Charles. He believed that he should treat others in a fair manner, in the same way he wanted to be treated. Charles also showed a great deal of appreciation for the accomplishments of his friends. While growing up, some of his best friends were Harry Wright and his cousins Ray and Richard Lustutter.

As Charles knew in other aspects of his life, he had a clear vision of what he sought in a relationship and worked hard to achieve it. On October 25, 1952 Charles exchanged wedding vows with Dorothy Jean Tottingham at Community United Methodist Church of Naperville, Illinois. Dorothy was a significant part of his life, and it wasn’t necessary for Charles to be overly sentimental or expressive about it for others to be aware of their mutual devotion. Charles's secret to success was that he always kept the lines of communication open in the marriage and applied the important skill of being a good listener.

Family and children were important to Charles and he always showed it. Charles was blessed with two daughters, Deborah and Nancy. Charles was able to keep order in the family by using the same efficient and straightforward methods with the family as he did at work. Charles rarely made a scene when it came to discipline. Instead, he was subtle and patient in his dealings when teaching the children right from wrong.

At work Charles was viewed as a natural leader. He could marshal all of the available resources, including personnel and materials, in order to meet virtually any objective. He was great at developing strategies and made maximum progress with little wasted effort. Charles was also adept at uncovering new and more efficient ways of getting things done. He was able to establish and meet objectives and schedules through long range planning and was always able to keep the big picture clearly in sight. Although Charles might have been described by some as an overachiever, he was without question a dedicated and diligent employee. His primary occupation was as a Manager. He was employed for 23 years by the Army & Air Force Exchange Services, he worked for Argon National Laboratory, Dow Chemical, and EG&G.

Charles was a Marine Veteran, and served on an aircraft carrier. Charles saw action for Korea. Through his dedication and hard work, he achieved the rank of Sergeant. He received several awards including Korea Service Ribbon with 1 star, and United Nations Ribbon. Charles's fellow soldiers knew that he worked well within the system, understanding the importance of rules and striving to follow them. Charles's life approach was all about order.

Not only did Charles find pleasure in pursuing his various hobbies, he also enjoyed the discovery and research involved in learning about them. His skill at problem solving had a positive influence on these activities as well. His favorite pursuits were collecting war memorabilia, writing books and magazine articles while later in life he took up dancing.

No matter what the activity was, Charles had the ability to motivate others. This talent influenced his participation in sports, too. He sought out the possibilities in a competitive situation, and he stayed cool and calm under pressure. He relished the stimulation of the action and energy associated with sports. In high school, Charles played football. However, he was not a big fan of watching football and instead spent his time with his family taking them camping, skiing, and touring wherever they were living.

It was his commitment and drive that earned him praise and honors throughout his life. Some of his most prestigious awards included multiple awards from the Texas Gun Collectors Group for his discoveries at the Tucker & Sherrard Gun Factory in Lancaster, Texas.

Traveling, especially vacations, were important to Charles. He liked exploring different places and enjoying those experiences with his family. Favorite vacations included cruises to Alaska and visiting Honolulu, New Orleans & San Francisco.

Charles was a lover of animals and cherished his pets. One of Charles's favorites was Molly, a Malti Poo. They were best friends for 7 years and while she was originally adopted to be a pet for his beloved wife, Dorothy, she was a savior after Dorothy passed away.

When Charles's retirement finally came in 1991, he was well prepared. He had worked out all of the details well in advance and knew exactly what he was going to do. His new life involved relocating to Texas where they owned a home, and in 2008 to Las Vegas to be closer to family, fun and good weather. In retirement, he found new pleasure in keeping busy with some part-time jobs, and then starting War Relics, a company for selling antique weapons. He also started writing and ended up publishing 4 books and was working on a fifth. He participated in Tai Chi, water aerobics, yoga, bike riding at his senior community and taking dance lessons and performing at recitals at a local dance center. Always a well-informed person, Charles enjoyed adding to his wealth of knowledge. Retirement afforded him the time to enjoy that experience and provided one more opportunity to look ahead at what life might offer him.

Charles passed away on November 23, 2018 at Henderson Hospital in Henderson, Nevada. He is survived by his daughters: Deborah and Nancy, son-in-law, Craig; sisters, Mary, Martha, and Doris; brother-in-law, Richard; brother, Norman; and sister-in-law, Diane Carrington. Services were held at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Chapel. Charles was laid to rest in Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City, Nevada.

Charles F. Lee knew what he wanted from life and never hesitated in going after it. He was always cheerful and optimistic as well as an incredible achiever. But most important to those that he leaves behind, he was truly a family man and will be missed by all those that loved him.

  • DONATIONS

  • American Cancer Society
  • NSPCA

Services

  • Memorial Service Friday, December 28, 2018
REMEMBERING

Charles F. Lee

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Mary Peterson DeBoer

December 10, 2018

You were a wonderful brother and always fun to be with. We did not have a lot of time together as adults, but we always kept in touch. The times you were able to visit the family will always be a wonderful memory. We were looking forward to your visit this year as well. You will always be with us in our heart.
Love,
Mary

Charles Verde

December 4, 2018

Chuck was a kind, wonderful man. I only knew him for a couple of years. I wish it could have been longer. But it was long enough to know that he was a man I looked up to with respect.

Marty Olson

December 4, 2018

Goodbye, my friend, you will be greatly missed. What a truly beautiful person you are. I am blessed to have known you.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

A young Charles while in the Navy before he joined the Marines.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

One of the proud, the few and the brave!

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

A young Charles while in the Navy before he joined the Marines.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

One of the proud, the few and the brave!

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Their wedding kiss.

FROM THE FAMILY

Walking down the aisle in 1952

FROM THE FAMILY

The wedding cake.