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Charles Theodore Schaedel Jr.


1922 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences
Charles Theodore Schaedel Jr. Obituary
Charles Theodore Schaedel Jr., 92, passed away peacefully at home Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, in Fort Worth, surrounded by family and friends. Memorial service: and celebration of his life will be arranged at a future date in the Founders Chapel at First United Methodist Church, Grapevine. Private interment: Bluebonnet Hills Memorial Park. Memorials: In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to a . Charles was born March 17, 1922, in Bay City to Charles T. and Etta Lee Woolsey Schaedel. Shortly after his birth, he moved with his parents back to Africa, where they resumed their Methodist missionary work in the Wembo Nyama District of the then Belgian Congo. His mother taught and his father operated a river steamer named "S.S. Texas" on the Congo River. After his 1929 return to Texas with his family, including a sister, Minnie Lee, Charles spent his youth in Bay City, graduating from Bay City High School in 1940. Following in his father's footsteps, Charles entered Texas A&M University, majoring in engineering, serving in the Corps of Cadets and playing tuba in the Aggie Band. Cutting his education short, he joined the United States Army Air Corps in 1943 as a lieutenant, stationed first at Bradley Field in Connecticut as assistant engineering officer. His tour in the Pacific theater concluded with a final posting at Guam. While at Bradley Field, Charles met Sylvia Ann Grochmal from nearby Indian Orchard, Mass., and on his stateside return they married on May 13, 1945. Sylvia died June 29, 2005, just after their 60th wedding anniversary. Following the war, the Schaedels moved to Bryan-College Station where Charles returned to his studies at A&M, graduating with a B.S. in mechanical engineering. While in Bryan, the Schaedels welcomed their first daughter, Mary Carol. The family then moved to Fort Worth, where Charles worked for Consolidated Vultee (Convair), now Lockheed Martin, on a variety of projects, including the secret Nuclear Energy for the Propulsion of Aircraft (NEPA) program. While at Convair, he completed his master's in engineering at SMU in 1959, continuing his work in nuclear energy. During their years in Fort Worth, the Schaedels welcomed two more daughters, Kathleen and Laurine. In the summer of 1963, the family moved to Pittsburgh, Pa., where Charles worked for Westinghouse Electrical Corporation's Astronuclear Laboratory as a test planner and analyst. He was later named senior engineer of the company's NERVA Reactor Assembly project designed to power the first long range space vehicles. His work focused primarily on propulsion to Mars. Westinghouse transferred Charles and his family to Washington state in 1971, where he continued his work in radioactive control technology at the Hanford Engineering Development Laboratory. His work also included research and development of the Breeder Reactor program. After concluding his work at Hanford, Charles and Sylvia remained in Kennewick, Wash., where he continued to consult on a variety of nuclear energy projects. After Sylvia's death in 2005, Charles came back to Texas to be closer to his family. Following the legacy of his parents, Charles was active in his church work and volunteered across his community. His deep faith, wide smile, infectious laugh and generous spirit brought him love and admiration from all who met him. The family is deeply grateful to Charles' caregivers and friends: Darryl Sanders, Mary Jane Ashton, Paul and Mary Beth Marsh, Gloria, Beverly and the staff of Caring Hearts and Freedom Hospice Services. Charles was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Sylvia A. Schaedel; daughter, Kathleen Schaedel Cox; and sister, Dr. Minnie Lee Schaedel Lancaster of Grapevine. Survivors: Daughters, the Rev. Mary Carol Schaedel and partner, Mary Ellen Cravotta, Little Elm, and Laurie Schaedel McGown and husband, Quentin, Fort Worth; grandchildren, Tammy Cox, Detroit, and Christopher Cox and wife, Rana, Roseville, Calif.; great-grandchildren, Hailey and Channing Cox; nephews, Charles, Tim and David Lancaster; great-nieces; and great-nephews.
Published in Star-Telegram on Aug. 17, 2014
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