by Carl Strang
Blog posts were irregular in recent days as I commuted between Culver, Indiana, where my father resides, and Memorial Hospital in South Bend, where my mother was fighting for her life. She passed away on April 4 with my father at her side, having fulfilled her wish to be taken back to Culver to go into hospice care there. It fell to me to write her obituary, which follows.
Charlene Strang of Culver concluded her loving, giving life on April 4 at the age of 87. She was given the name Charlene by her father, who was certain it could never be converted to a nickname. Naturally she later became “Chuckie” to the many who were enriched by knowing her as wife, mother, friend, and significant contributor to the Culver community. Born in Chicago to a family founded by her German immigrant grandparents, Charlene spent enjoyable childhood summers at the family’s second home at Bass Lake. There as a teenager she met the Culver youngster, Ted Strang, who was to become her husband after his World War II service ended. Their marriage over the subsequent decades was a model of love and dedication. She is survived by Ted, by two sons (Carl of Warrenville, Illinois, and Gary with wife Lisa of Easton, Maryland), and by Gary and Lisa’s three sons (Greg Strang of Cambridge, Maryland; Captain Derek Strang who is an Air Force pilot in Mountain Home, Idaho; and Lt. Brice Strang, U.S. Army Reserve, of Easton, Maryland).
Chuckie became a pillar of the Culver community. She was in fact the face of the town to newcomers when she served as Culver’s Welcome Wagon Lady for many years. Others first knew her at a much younger age, when she worked as a preschool teacher at the Wesley United Methodist Church. To this day many graduates of that school, now adults, remember her with fondness. A profoundly devout Christian, at various other times she served in that church’s office and was a regular worker at its Thrift Shop. Equal in importance to Chuckie, and to Ted, was their association with Culver’s VFW Post 6919. She was a life member and past president of its auxiliary, and for many years its treasurer. She also volunteered for the American Red Cross in blood drives, and was active in the Culver City Club, a locally focused service organization. All of this service was recognized in 1992 when Chuckie was selected the Grand Marshall of the Lakefest Parade.