November 1, 1917 – April 30, 2016

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Charles Zerowel on Saturday, April 30 at Royal City Manor in New Westminster. Charles was 98 years old and continued to live in his home until very recently.

Charles was born on November 1, 1917 in Russell, MB. His parents had come to Canada from Austria in 1897. Life was hard in those early years on the prairie but Charles found time to play his two favourite sports, hockey and baseball, while attending Russell Collegiate High School. He also did a little boxing, which might explain that distinctive nose.

Charles worked as a plumber before joining the Canadian Army in May, 1941 as an artillery surveyor. Following training he was sent to England that same year, and subsequently crossed the channel to the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, 1944 with the 14th Field Artillery Regiment. Charles eventually returned to Canada with the rank of Bombardier Gun Sergeant, and received his discharge from the Army on Dec.7, 1945. He re-enlisted in May, 1951 with the Royal Canadian Air Force and served through to his retirement in May, 1968 with the rank of Sergeant. Civilian life saw Charles employed as a tradesman with the federal public service, working in Drumheller, AB and later in BC’s Lower Mainland until his final retirement in 1992.

Charles had three children with his first wife Margaret, who predeceased him. First-born William died as a young child. Elder daughter Billie passed away in 1996 and is survived by her husband Don Northup and their grown children Susan and Charles, who between them have four children. Daughter Rita Marie lives in Winnipeg with husband Leonard. Their grown children David and Julie each have two young children.

Charles re-married in 1972 to Thora Mathilde Thoner, a tall, elegant Saskatchewan lady of Norwegian background. Although they settled in Chilliwack she shared his later love of golf and of the southern sun, and they spent many winters together golfing and cultivating snowbird and American friends in Arizona and California. They also played bridge, and his somewhat reckless approach to the game severely taxed her limitless patience. Thora passed away in March of 2006. Charles’s love of travel persisted. He enjoyed a commemoration trip to France in 2012, a tour of Ireland in 2014 and a visit to Toronto in 2015 to see his beloved Blue Jays play a home game.

Charles is sadly missed by his friends and family, including many close relatives on Thora’s side. A Celebration of Life will be held at 12:00 noon on Saturday, May 21, 2016 at Woodlawn Mt Cheam Funeral Home, 45865 Hocking Avenue, Chilliwack. In lieu of flowers a donation in Charles’s name to The Heart and Stroke Foundation or the Canadian Cancer Society would be most appreciated. The family wish to thank Dr, Cameron Ross and the staff of Crossroads Family Practice for the excellent care provided to Charles over many years.

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