Charles Wilson Averre III

June 3, 1932February 9, 2019

Charles W. Averre, III, 86, passed away peacefully with his family by his side on Saturday. Charles was born in Castilla, Honduras, where his father worked with the United Fruit Company as a civil engineer, but he spent most of his childhood in San Jose, Costa Rica. He attended high school in the United States at Christ School in Arden, NC, and went on to graduate from NC State in 1956 with a BS in botany. Starting in 1956, he served two years in the Army, primarily at Ft. Belvoir, VA. After honorable discharge, he returned to NC State, and later, Purdue University in Indiana, to study plant pathology. He received his doctorate from Purdue in 1963. After brief stints at the University of Florida in Homestead and the University of Georgia in Griffin, he returned to NC State in 1968 as an Extension Plant Pathologist on vegetable crops. In 1995, he retired as Professor Emeritus.

While at NC State, Charles was instrumental in developing the Sweet Potato and Strawberry Certification programs to deliver to growers true-to-type planting stocks that are free from disease. He co-authored three textbooks on plant pathology and had numerous other publications including book chapters and both peer-reviewed and popular articles. He received many professional honors and awards, and in 2017 was honored to have a new sweet potato variety, developed by plant breeders at NC State, named after him.

Charles’ interest in science extended beyond his professional life. He loved forestry and enjoyed tending to his timber land in Sampson County, where he could tinker to his heart’s content on a variety of projects. He had a lifelong curiosity about the world around him, and even in failing health was a keen observer and questioner of the natural world around him.

His passion for education and mentorship was evident even outside of his university responsibilities. He donated funds to create the Lincoln Founders Scholarship Fund at the Lincoln School in San Jose, Costa Rica. The school was founded in 1945 by a group of visionary parents, including his own, Margaret and Charles W. Averre, Jr., and is “dedicated to motivating students to fully develop their potential, with solid ethical values, committed to democracy and capable of being successful in a multicultural, global society.” Closer to home, he provided a generous donation to the NC chapter of the Knights of the Vine’s Viticulture and Enology Scholarship Fund (now called the Charles Averre Scholarship) to support programs at Sprunt Community College in Kenansville, NC, and Surry Community College in Dobson, NC, ensuring the long-term financial viability of the fund.

A lifelong animal lover, Charles especially loved dogs, and he enjoyed final visits from his dog buddy Paco and family cat Malfred the day before he passed away.

He is survived by his son Chuck Averre and wife Patty of Wake Forest, NC; daughter Alice Turner and husband Patrick of Cary, NC; grandsons Phillip and Curtis Averre, both of Raleigh, NC; granddaughter Michelle Kinsman and husband Michael of Charlotte, NC; brother Bill Averre and wife Adele Holevas of Indianapolis, IN; and five nieces and nephews and their families. He is pre-deceased by his wife Joanne Brooks Averre.

A celebration of Charles’ life will be held in the coming weeks.

Reception Celebrating the Life of Charles Averre, III

Please join our family in remembering and celebrating Charles! Come by anytime between 2:00 and 4:00. Light refreshments will be served. Saturday, March 2 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. The Cypress of Raleigh ballroom 8801 Cypress Lakes Drive Raleigh, NC 27615

Questions? Chuck: 919-270-4998, Alice: 919-605-5092,

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Charles’ honor to:

Dr. Charles W. Averre, III, Scholarship Program Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine, NC Chapter 9404 North Manor Drive Zebulon, NC 27597

Lincoln School Founders Scholarship (check payable to Lincoln School; include “Founders Scholarship” in check memo section) Colegio Lincoln P.O Box 25331 SJO-565 Miami, FL 33102-5331

NC State Extension to the NC Agricultural Foundation NC State University Campus Box 7645 Raleigh, NC 27695-7645


2 March


2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

The Cypress of Raleigh Ballroom

8801 Cypress Lakes Drive
Raleigh, NC 27615


Charles Wilson Averre III

have a memory or condolence to add?

Gerald Holmes

February 20, 2019

Charles was my predecessor at NC State and a mentor to me from 1997 until 2009. He was kind and patient and very passionate about plant pathology and about helping growers. We spent many hours together driving all over North Carolina, diagnosing diseases in the clinic and in the field. He was really good at identifying and valuing the simple, but useful aspects of disease diagnosis, like how to layout a field experiment or how to use a handlens. Every time I use a handlens—which is often—I remember him. Charles was interested in all facets of life and enjoyed discussing them all. I will be forever grateful for his friendship, his wisdom and for the kindness he showed every step of the way. He made a huge impression on me that will last forever. What a blessing it is to have known him for as long as I did.

Alice Brown Russell

February 13, 2019

As a grad student in Plant Pathology, I knew Dr. Averre as a lively and interesting teacher and diagnostician who always cared about engaging the students. As a County Extension Agent, I experienced Dr. Averre's kindness when he came to teach Master Gardeners and assist small vegetable growers. He always willing and happily gave of his time and expertise to the Agents, growers and the public. And as a friend from Forest Hills Baptist church, I watched Charles share with the young members in visits to his farm in Turkey. I'll never forget wading in his creek, getting covered with leeches, and digging and cooking mussels, which tasted terrible but did not decrease Charles' enthusiasm for sharing about the natural world and its creatures. Whether teaching about plants, animals, nematodes or fungi, Charles was one of the most genuinely alive people that I've ever known, and I'll always remember him fondly. Alice Brown Russell

David and Jeanne Smoot

February 12, 2019

Though we only knew Charles III by his reputation--which was sterling--we have had the privilege of knowing his son Chuck and his family for many years. A finer, more ethical man than Chuck could not be found--unless we look to his father, an exemplary model. Sincere condolences to all.
David and Jeanne Smoot
Wake Forest, NC

Mark Windham

February 12, 2019

Dr. Averre was a gifted teacher and a quality scientist. He also had a kind and gentle spirit. As a student at N.C. State, I always found him to be encouraging but asking very hard questions. He had a keen sense of humor and a huge smile. He was definitely one of the good guys and I will always have fond memories of him.

Tom Melton

February 12, 2019

Charles was such a great mentor for me both in plant disease diagnosis and life. He taught me to “use all your senses” when diagnosing, especially smell. I will really miss him.