March 9, 1935 - March 5, 2013
When someone is identified as a natural leader, certain images come to mind. First thoughts are of a no-nonsense, tough-minded, dedicated and disciplined person. This description accurately fits Charles Otto Weihe who was indeed a born manager. He will be remembered as being highly organized, practical and realistic. He was a person who always carried a strong sense of duty with him throughout his life. Possessed with traditional “old school” morals, Charles was an individual who clearly communicated to those around him just who he was and what he was all about. Everyone acquainted with Charles knew him as a well-respected man who was a stable force in his community.
His parents were Bob and Tiny. Charles was raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana and Oak Park, Illinois. Even as a youngster, Charles learned to be objective and decisive. His faith in the principles of authority and dependability was something that he carried with him throughout his life.
As a young boy, Charles was able to put his natural abilities to work. He was a bit like the sergeant of the family, helping to make sure that the others did what they should do and that they avoided those things they weren’t supposed to. In other words, he liked to organize and direct. Charles was raised with Three Siblings. He had 3 Sisters, Mary Carr, Nancy Esposito, and Susie Gaertner. Charles had an inborn appreciation for the order in the family, allowing for the oldest members to be the most respected and to take on the most responsibility. For Charles, this was a natural order of life, one he gladly embraced.
In school, Charles was as close to being a model student as one could possibly imagine. He sought to achieve perfect attendance in all of his classes. He would eagerly complete his homework. As a logical and focused thinker, Charles was always good at following directions and meeting his schedules, whether they were set by his teachers or were self-imposed. Charles’s personal motto could well have been, “Do it right the first time.” He graduated from Oak Park-River Forest High School in 1953. Then Charles attended the University of Illinois, Home of the fighting Illini.
Charles was sociable and approachable. Because he was always so straightforward in how he approached relationships, friends and family knew that what they saw was always what they got. He enjoyed the camaraderie of being with a group of friends. When Charles was a member of a group, his interaction worked to keep the others grounded. He wasn’t afraid to confront his friends and, when necessary, he challenged them to stick to the task at hand. Those close to Charles came to expect his high standards of performance. While growing up, some of his best friends were Hans Nelson, Lucky Holden, Bill Rolf, Dick Blaurock, and Cousin Wally Bonham. Later in life, he became friends with James Moe, Jack Grady, and Charles and Doris Red.
An objective and conscientious individual, Charles reveled in the security of his family. On February 9, 1963 Charles exchanged wedding vows with Deborah Lee Neville at the Edgebrook Lutheran Church of Chicago, IL. One of Charles’s most endearing qualities was his uncanny ability to remember important dates and anniversaries, and his unending enthusiasm for organizing a celebration for his family and friends.
Charles was ever watchful of his children. He worried about them and was deeply concerned for their development as they grew up. He maintained a firm hand in their upbringing. Charles would give his stamp of approval to their requests, as long as he could see how they might benefit. He also had the ability to enforce the rules as needed to ensure that his children were properly raised. Charles was blessed with three children, two sons, Chris and Matt, and one daughter, Stephanie. Charles and Debbie’s example of a strong marriage resulted in the marriage of Chris to Sharon Bedingfield, and Stephanie’s marriage to Jeffrey Nuner. Charles and Debbie were also blessed with six grandchildren, McKay, Taylor, Brady, Ashley, Kathryn, Jake.
Being a hard worker who praised efficiency, Charles was always striving to make improvements where they were necessary. He was able to analyze situations and problems, keeping everything and everyone on track. An excellent project supervisor, Charles was a person who could quickly make decisions based on the information available. He worked cooperatively and expected the same from his colleagues. In both his personal and professional environments, Charles upheld his standards. His primary occupation was International Shipping. Charles was a team player who certainly lived out the motto of “give me a job, and I will get it done.”
After retirement Charles opted to try his hand at retail by gaining employment at Foley’s which was late bought by Macy’s. Charles loved his 12 years at Macy’s while working first in furniture, then housewares and selling mattresses. He truly loved his Macy’s family. Throughout his illness his Macy’s family and employment kept him strong.
Playing by the rules was a natural thing for Charles to do in life and that carried over to his enjoyment of sports. He also was something of a sports fan and enjoyed watching his favorite events whenever he got the opportunity. Tops on his list were College basketball: March Madness, and both College and Professional football.
All who knew him would agree that Charles was a pillar of the community. He lived his life with his feet firmly on the ground. He had a strong work ethic, was pragmatic in his thoughts and acts, and constantly sought the means for self-improvement. He was willing to share his ideas and knowledge for the benefit of others, so that they could accomplish more in their lives. Charles Otto Weihe did his best to ensure that his family, friends, loved ones, co-workers, and everyone whose life he touched was given the chance to become a better person.
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