Colonel Charles Waterhouse, USMCR
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AGE: 89 • Toms River
Colonel Charles Waterhouse, USMCR, 89, passed away early on Saturday morning, November 16, 2013, at the home of his daughter and son-in-law in Toms River, NJ. Waterhouse was the first and only the artist-in-residence of the U.S. Marine Corps. He continued to paint until three weeks before his death. A lifelong New Jersey resident, Waterhouse was a member of the Class of 1942 at Perth Amboy High School. Upon graduating, he enlisted in the Marine Corps and was attached to Company C 5th Engr. Bn. 5th Marine Division, FMF. On February 19, 1945 Waterhouse was seriously wounded during the first wave at Iwo Jima. Nerve damage resulted in him losing the feeling in most of his left hand. But there was no damage to the hand that would become his painting hand. After the war, two pivotal events occurred in his life: he began attending classes at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts, and he married the love of his life, Barbara Andersen. After graduating from the NSFIA, he stayed on at the school as a teacher and spent the next 28 years building a reputation as an illustrator for publications such as Outdoor Life, Readers Digest, Rutgers Press and the Boy Scouts. Three tours of duty as a combat artist in Vietnam resulted in hundreds of on-the-spot drawings that were later turned into one large volume called Delta to DMZ. In 1973, at the age of 49, Waterhouse was brought back to active duty at the rank of major to create a series of 14 paintings of the Marines in the Revolution in celebration of the bicentennial. It was supposed to be a 9 month commission but the Marines had found "their Rockwell" and they kept him on until his retired on 19 February, 1991, the 46th anniversary of the landing on Iwo. By that time he had completed over 160 major works for the USMC, and had painted every campaign in the history of the Corps from its inception through Operation Iraqi Freedom. After his retirement he continued to paint his beloved Marines. In 1999 the Colonel Charles Waterhouse Museum, a non-profit organization based in Toms River, was established. When the museum closed its doors, the majority of Waterhouse's body of work was gifted to the United States Marine Corps. In his final years, Waterhouse embarked on a series of paintings chronicling the USMC and Naval Medal of Honor recipients.
Predeceased by his devoted wife Barbara in 2009, the Colonel is survived by daughters Jane and Amy, son-in-law Gary Lotano, grandchildren Noelle, Matthew and his wife Melissa, and Baylen; great grandchildren Colin, Sam and Elle Charlie, and his Marines, to whom he was always faithful, and by his paintings, which will live forever.
A private memorial service will be held for the immediate family. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Colonel Charles Waterhouse Scholarship for the Arts, Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, 909 N. Washington Street, Suite 400, Alexandria, VA 22314.
Published in Asbury Park Press on Nov. 18, 2013