Charles William Morden

April 6, 1943May 5, 2020

Charles "Mort" William Morden, Sr. Died May, 5, 2020

Kingsley - Charles "Mort" William Morden, Sr., 77, passed away at his home on Tuesday, May 5, 2020, surrounded by his family and his ever-faithful dog, Bella.

Charles was born on April 6, 1943, in Flint, Michigan to his parents Kenneth C. and Elma P. Morden (Richards).

Charles was raised in Elk Rapids, along side his eight siblings; Jack, Janice, Karen, Beth, Jeffery "Jeff", Leslie "Les", Ellen, and Nadine Morden.

He loved to recall many, sometimes naughty, memories of their shenanigans. Swimming at the Elk Rapids dam was one of their favorite swim hole and jump offs. Swimming in back of the dam, however, was more thrilling.

There was also; "The big boat adventure," in which his brother Jeff and their friend Billy, salvaged and repaired an old tin boat they found at a cement factory in Elk Rapids.

Charles, being the big brother, suggested he take the boat out for its maiden voyage in Grand Traverse Bay to check its safety. The boat sank quickly and he had to swim back to shore. His brother Jeff wrote about "The big boat adventure" and it is now immortalized in The Old Days national magazine.

One memory that he did NOT recall fondly, but told with a smile was about their pet monkey, Johhny. Johnny liked to bite and he insisted that monkey was the meanest pet anyone could have!

Charles attended Elk Rapids High School and graduated on June, 7, 1963. After graduation, he advanced his career by attending vocational school for welding. He was employed by Sara Lee for twenty five years before retiring.

Charles was blessed with two children Kevin and Cynthia "Cindy" with his first former wife, Wanda (Murphy). He was also blessed with four more children, Charles "Charlie," Jr., Mathew, Summer, and Alivia, with his second former wife, Donaldine (Dine).

Charles took great delight teasing and embarrassing his children, usually in public. Farting and burbing was his specialty, making the bodily functions into playful jokes.

Charles was dependable, and a person his children could always turn to when things went wrong. He listened without (and sometimes with) judgement. He was also generous with his time. He lead by example, showing how hard work betters oneself. Most importantly, how to pick yourself up after hardships, staying positive, and doing things that brings joy to your life.

Charles was known as the "Mort" of all trades. He was a welder and made a bald eagle sculpture entirely made from the metal of a broken washing machine, cutting and painting each individual feather.

He was also a wood-carver. He made bowls out of tree burls, walking sticks, and wooden sculptures of wildlife. You can see one of his creations on the wall at the Mayfield Store.

He also was an avid hunter and fisherman. He showed his brother, Les, how to fish for pike and catch crabs. The crabs were sold at bait shops for special goodies, like Heath bars and Royal Crown Colas.

He taught his children how to hunt for deer and small game, an inside joke was "anything small still counts."

While on fishing trips, his children and their friends learned more about the ups and downs of life and how to navigate them while on the lake.

He also was an outdoorsman. Walking in a forest was worth his time in gold. He was always on the look out for finding new fishing spots in the middle of nowhere or in Traverse City, where no one would think a fish would be hiding in a stream.

His daughter, Summer, recalls them driving back home after running errands, and how he wanted to check out a possible fishing spot down a two-track. Summer told him multiple times not to go down the two- track because it looked too sandy and if they were to get stuck, she was going to kill him.

Dad, being the stubborn man he was, decided not to take her advice and went for it. Summer was right, the sand was too soft, and the van got stuck up to the wheel rims. That day it was 103 degrees, they had no water, and very little cell phone battery. Unable to get unstuck without help, Summer had just enough cell phone battery to reach her sister, Cindy. She sent her husband, Shawn, to help them and he managed to rescue them..

Charles had many hobbies but above all others, he was a natural-born artist. He combined his love of nature with the love of his life, painting wildlife. His wildlife painting are extraordinary, admired, and one of a kind.

He rarely sold them, claiming if he did then it would be too much like work. He painted simply for the love, happiness, and peice of mind it brought him. He was generous and usually gifted his paintings to others, wanting to spread the happiness he received from painting to them.

Charles always had a smile for his friends and brought his own special flair to many occassions. When he and his brothers were together, nothing was off limits. He made friends easily and no one was a stranger long, unless you brought up religion or politics.

Charles cherished his sixty-nine year friendship with Frank Russell and his wife. Charles considered Frank a brother and loved him deeply.

He also looked forward to his monthly lunch dates with "the boys," Frank, Larry, and Phil. He would return home with a full stomach and more funny stories to tell.

He was loved by his family and friends and will always be missed.

Charles was preceded in death by his parent; Kenneth C. and Elma P. Morden (Richards); brother Jack; sister Janice; and his long time companion, his dog, Hope.

He is survived by his six children, son, Kevin Morden, of Anchorage, Alaska; daughter, Cynthia "Cindy," (Shawn) Sarkon, of Mayfield, Michigan; son, Charles W. Morden, Jr., of Coventry, Rhode Island; son, Mathew Morden, of Kingsley, Michigan; daughter, Summer (Jack) King, of Kingsley, Michigan; daughter, Alivia (Pat Noonan) Morden, of, Grawn, Michigan; his six siblings; sister, Karen Stanton; of St. Augustine, Florida; sister, Beth Parker; of Traverse City, Michigan; brother, Jeffery "Jeff" (Diem Nguyen) Morden, of, San Martin, California; brother, Leslie "Les" (Betty) Morden, of, Kalkaska, Michigan; sister, Ellen Mooney, of Traverse City, Michigan; sister, Nadine Jones, of Traverse City, Michigan; "brother in name," Frank Russell; grandchildren; Kevin M. Morden, Steven Morden; Jimmy Morden; Ruth Rush; Kelly Ann Kiag; Toni (Jeremiah Hall) Sarkon; Xena Morden; Charles W. Morden III; Jacob Morden; Isabella Morden; Devon Morden, Dakota Burr (son of Jenny Burr, Jenny he always valued and loved you all); Emily Bowen-Morden; J.D. King; great-grandchildren, Brooklyn (daughter of Toni Sarkon); Preston (son of Toni Sarkon and Jeremiah Hall); Grayson; and four more great-grandchildern; many nieces and nephews; many friends; and his spoiled and lovable dog, Bella.

The family of Charles would like to thank Munson Medical Center Traverse City and Grayling, Michigan hospice team.

The children of Charles would like to acknowledge their brother-in-law and sister, Jack and Summer King, for being dad's caregivers. You put your own lives on hold for being there for dad. You have given him your patience, comfort, and love during the years. More so during his struggle to keep on fighting. There are not enough words to describe how much we appreciate and love you both. Not enough words to say thank you. Jack, the promise you made to him has been fufilled.

Alivia Morden's personal note- On the day my dad found out he had multiple myeloma, his first words to me were, "even astronauts die on this earth." On the day he died, the last words he said to me were "I love you." Now my last words to him are "I love you too."

"Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing that it's not the fish they are after." - Henry David Thoreau

"All that we love deeply becomes a part of us." - Helen Keller


Charles William Morden

have a memory or condolence to add?

Annette Kiel

May 21, 2020

I will always cherish my little gifts Mort made me for the store, he would visit while we were remodeling before I opened in 2013 he always had a story, or something he was making to show me, he was always so excited and passionate about the things he was working on. RIP our Mayfield Friend, till we meet again!!!

Tammy (Morden) Jarvis

May 19, 2020

I remember all those days you would visit and share stories with my family. My three children loved having Great Uncle Charlie visit! They all clearly remember a "Santa" visit one special Christmas Morning, he always went out of his way to make others smile! I will always treasure the walking stick he carved for me! And all the puff ball mushrooms he would always share with us.
Please know you all are in my thoughts and prayers. May you all be in peace knowing he is resting in heaven carving walking sticks and painting all the beauty on to his forever canvas! Of course, maybe, a bit of joke telling too!

Shana Arlt

May 15, 2020

So many memories from my childhood while hanging out at the Morden house. More memories walking with my kids, nieces and nephew in Kingsley where "Alivia's dad" gave all the kids a morel mushroom walking stick. And let's not forget running into him (or him into me) at the grocery store, while he was driving his scooter.
My thoughts are with the family. I am so sorry for your loss.

Barbara Calvary (Valleau)

May 15, 2020

Les, Betty and all the Mordens you are all in my thoughts during this difficult time. He did a hard fight and is now resting comfortably and watching over you all. My prayers are with you and God bless you all.

Michelle Farley

May 15, 2020

He was one of the best uncles I've ever had. Always had a smile and stories to tell. Loved having him here in TN for a few months.
He made me some beautiful paintings and a bowl from wood. I love ya uncle Charlie and ya will be missed. Your niece. Michelle