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Charles Wallin

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Charles Wallin Obituary
CHARLES C. WALLIN, 71 ROCKFORD - Charles C. Wallin, 71, passed away Thursday, May 1, 2014, in SwedishAmerican Hospital. Born in Rockford on June 11, 1942 to Clifford A. and Linnea (Alexson) Wallin, "Chuck" was a retired Marine and lifelong resident of Rockford who proudly served the city's youth as a teacher, coach, and lifelong mentor. A 1960 graduate of East High School, Chuck lettered in cross country and track before earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Northern Illinois University in 1964. He continued his education at the University of Oregon, earning a Masters of Science in Physiology in 1967. His accomplishments at UO were punctuated by competing for the Oregon Track Club under legendary coach, Bill Bowerman, as well as the publication of his Masters thesis in a quarterly scientific journal. Upon completion of his schooling, Chuck enlisted in the Marine Corps and served alongside many of his Oregon Track Club brothers, coming home between assignments to marry the love of his life and wife of 45 years, Toni (Smith) Wallin. He rose to the rank of Captain, and received the Bronze Star Medal for exemplary conduct in combat before retiring from active duty in 1970, though he remained a reservist for several years. True to his athletic passion, Chuck held the record for the Marine Corps boot camp three mile run, executed in full combat gear. His military service was honored during the 2012 Rockford Airfest. Chuck taught science at East High School for nearly 40 years, designing an innovative anatomy and physiology curriculum. He was a Golden Apple nominee, inspiring countless students to pursue careers in science and teaching. His true glory and passion were found in the world of running. Coaching track and cross country at East High from 1972 to 1998, "Coach" helped build the programs into state powerhouses, and saw the East Relays become one of the premier track invitational's in Illinois. His 3200-Meter Relay teams ran under the magical 8:00 minute mark an astounding 55 times, including the 1976 team, which ran the race in 7:36.8, breaking the national record. The 1984 team won the state championship with a time of 7:41.7, which was the fastest team in the nation that year. Under his guidance, the track teams won 16 conference titles and nine sectional titles, highlighted by a second place finish in the 1975 state meet. The cross country teams qualified for ten state meets with four top ten finishes, highlighted by a fourth place finish in the 1975 state meet. His runners earned seven individual All State medals, notably Dan Gilchrist's second place finishes in the 1975 state cross country meet and the 2-Mile Run in 1975 and 1976. Chuck's staggering achievements were recognized in 2008, when he was inducted into the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches' Association Hall of Fame. His legacy is further celebrated by the running of the Chuck Wallin Cross Country Invitational, a cross country meet hosted by East High, now in its third year. Chuck is well-known in the running, skiing, and biking communities of Northern Illinois, contributing greatly to early Rockford Marathons and Fourth of July races. He shared his great love of skiing with his companions in the Northern Illinois Nordic Club, who recently named their "Skier of the Year" award after Mr. Wallin. He was also an active member of the East High Class of 1960, where he worked tirelessly to raise scholarship money for current East High students. He is survived by his cherished wife, Toni; children, Erik (Stephanie) Wallin and Andrew (Shannon) Wallin, both of Chicago; brother-in-law, Roger Schmidt of Rockford; grandchildren, Noah and Alexandria; as well as nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents and his sister, Carolyn. Chuck also treasured his vast network of friends, especially his "Assist Crew", which faithfully made it possible for Chuck to enjoy his favorite activities up until the end. The family would also like to extend its deepest gratitude to the SwedishAmerican Home Health staff, and the Outpatient Oncology Center nursing staff. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 10, 2014, in Zion Lutheran Church, 925 5th Ave, officiated by Rev. Dr. Michael Thomas. Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 9, in Olson Funeral & Cremation Services, Fred C. Olson Chapel, 1001 Second Ave., and from10 to 10:45 a.m. Saturday, May 10 in Zion Lutheran Church. In lieu of flowers, memorials made to the family will be donated to charities closest to Chuck's heart. To share a memory or condolence, visit olsonfh.com.
Published in Rockford Register Star from May 7 to May 8, 2014
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