April 4, 1925 – June 22, 2017
Charles Emmett Wendt Jr. was born on April 4, 1925, in Los Angeles, California, to Estelle and Charles Emmett Wendt Sr. and died on Thursday, June 22, 2017, at the Bruce McCandless Veterans Community Living Center in Florence, Colorado.
Charles grew up in Lubbock, Texas, and graduated from Lubbock High School in 1942. Upon graduation, he enlisted in the United States Navy and served as a photographer’s Mate Second Class in Fleet Air Photographic Squadron One, South Pacific Combat Zone. He received an air medal with the citation for “meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight in combat areas over the Island of Kyushu, Japan, while harassed by antiaircraft and enemy airborne opposition.” A letter from the Secretary of the Navy, James Forrestal, states, “WENDT contributed materially to the success of the mission during which excellent photographs essential for planning future operations were obtained.”
After his service to his country, he returned to Lubbock, where he studied journalism and photography at Texas Tech. While there he met and married another journalism student, Maradee Foster. Maradee and Charles were married for 65 years and had two daughters, Deeann (Wendt) Jayson and Vicki (Wendt) King. Maradee and Vicki predeceased Charles. He is survived by his daughter Deeann (Ron) and seven grandchildren, Tara (Dusty) Astrom, Ethan (Elyse) Jayson, Zach (Suny) Jayson, Carrie (Tyler) Rossman, Jerad King, Kent (Katelyn) King, and Christi (Greg) Baker; and three great-granddaughters, Marin and Kelty Rossman, and Charles’ namesake, Charlie Astrom. Known as Gan-Gan to his grandchildren, he will be missed with much sorrow.
Charles' professional life was spent as a photographer and journalist for the Raton Range (Raton, New Mexico), the Arkansas Valley Journal (La Junta, Colorado) and the Boulder Daily Camera, where he was the staff photographer for 25 years. He retired in 1988. He was a member of the National Press Photographers Association and Colorado Working Press.
Not only was Charles a photographer extraordinaire, teaching photography classes for CU extension office and for CU journalism days in the 1960s and sharing his expertise with Mike’s Camera, but he was also an accomplished woodcarver, carving a personalized Santa for each of his grandchildren, a complete crèche, and his favorite, caricatures of cowboys. He was an archer who made recurve and long bows along with his own arrows and quivers. For several years he taught archery for McKinley School 6th graders at Trinity Ranch as well as all family reunions. There isn’t enough room to tell about all his leather work, fly tying and radio-controlled airplane hobbies he enjoyed. There wasn’t a hobby that Charles didn’t try and excel in!
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Bruce McCandless Veterans Community Living Center Benefit Fund, Four Seasons Trail, to purchase needed items for our veterans.
Services for Charles will be on Saturday, July 1, 2017, 1 p.m., at Christ Episcopal Church, 802 Harrison, Canon City, Colorado.
Services have been entrusted to Holt Family Funeral Home.