David Emerson Charles, age 78, passed peacefully on July 16, 2022, at Unity Hospice in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
It seems Dave was put on this Earth to enhance the lives of all blessed to know him. He fulfilled that purpose. Born August 30, 1943, Dave lived as a devoted son, supportive brother, steadfast and loving husband, adoring father, doting grandfather, trusted advisor, and cherished friend. Dave was born as the second of five sons to William H. Charles II and James Carolyn (“Jamsie”) Emerson Charles. Growing up in Riverdale, Iowa, he met and married his best friend and life-long love, Karen (Wiesen) Charles in 1964. Dave and Karen conquered life’s challenges and shared life’s blessings, including their son, Robert (Kristin) Charles and daughter, Susan (Dan) Borchardt. Dave’s face radiated pride and affection with every embrace of his five grandchildren, Amanda (24), Sara (22), Maria (20), Allyson (18), and Benjamin (14).
Dave graduated from Monmouth College and began a successful career in leadership at Sears. After managing Sears stores in Des Moines, LaCrosse, and Madison, Dave became a certified financial planner with IDS. Dave defined success simply: could he truly understand his clients’ dreams and carefully craft sound plans to help them be realized? Through his pure intentions, heavy sense of responsibility, gifted intelligence, hard work, and unmatched listening skills, Dave impacted hundreds of lives in his fruitful career, retiring in 1998 to Green Lake, Wisconsin. While building his own business, Dave also supported his beloved Karen in building hers. Together they created and successfully ran KC Freight until 2003.
Family, friends, and clients will remember Dave as subdued and calm. Casual, yet classy. On point with a quick wit. Dave gave his undivided, sincere attention to every interaction. Never in a hurry to tell a story but always eager to hear one, Dave was a wonderful conversationalist. Friends and family undoubtedly recall cherished, unhurried cocktail hours-- always enjoyable with clever quips and plentiful laughter. Afterwards, you always felt special and heard. Upon reflection, you may have caught the subtle, sound life advice he sometimes weaved into those conversations. Oh, how we will all miss him.
No tribute to Dave would be complete without mentioning his second love, the game of golf. Golf combined all things Dave loved: competitiveness, camaraderie, discipline, manners, class, celebration of success, and forgiveness of the occasional slice. He donned a particular grin after good golf days. We saw that grin often. Dave shot three holes-in-one throughout his life. Just months before his passing and dealing with stage 4 cancer, the man shot his age. Not bad.
Rob and Susan are honoring Dave’s wish not to hold a funeral service or visitation. Instead, family will gather for a celebration of life. Consistent with Dave’s values, Rob and Susan ask friends and family not to send flowers or gifts. Dave would rather have you invest your resources in something meaningful to you. And, if you are so inclined, gather with fellow friends who knew Dave. Have a gin and tonic in his memory. Listen to each other’s stories like Dave would listen to yours. Laugh. Give thanks for knowing this kind, beloved man. The family would enjoy any written memories and photos of Dave on the tribute page or emailed to Rob or Susan.
“We love you, dad. Enjoy eternity together with mom.”