Charles A. Neaves May 18, 1914 - January 5, 2014 Resident of Santa Cruz Born in London in 1914, Charlie immigrated to the U.S. with his family at age 9 and settled in San Jose. Some of his fondest childhood memories included rollerskating down the hill from Alum Rock Park, building short wave radios from crystals, and spying on the "rum runners" who rented the garage behind his parent's house. During high school years he also attended trade school and was trained as a machinist. This led to immediate work upon graduation as a machinist/tool and die maker. He had a 30 year career working for NASA at Ames Lab at Moffett Field and retired as head of Metal Model Branch at age 57. Charlie was happily married to Lillian Boer Neaves for 52 years, and they raised daughter Kathleen and son David in San Jose. As a hobby, Charlie built several small boats which the family enjoyed on camping trips to Clear Lake each summer. During retirement Charlie and Lily built a home in Aptos and helped to raise Kathleen's son Steve Howe. They were very active in St. Andrew's Church. Not one to lounge around, Charlie developed his talents for turning and carving black walnut and created many beautiful works of art. He was known as "CN of Aptos". During Lily's long illness Charlie was a devoted caregiver until her death at age 74. Through a common interest in RVing and dancing Charlie met Ruth Barber and they shared 5 fun filled years as a married couple until Ruth's passing. Continuing to dance and socialize, Charlie found happiness once again with Bette Rider Staggs of Santa Cruz and they were married for 13 years. After Bette's unexpected passing, Charlie continued to enjoy life, family, and friends and inspired everyone he met with his humor, intelligence, generosity, and dedication to physical fitness and walking. On most clear days Charlie could be seen driving his scooter with his orange helmet on throughout the Live Oak area always ready to stop, share a good word, and make people smile. After a brief illness at age 99 and 7 months Charlie was ready to seek his next big adventure. He died at home surrounded by family. Charlie is survived by daughter Kathleen Duncan and son in law Gary Duncan, son David Neaves and daughter in law Betsy Neaves, and grandchildren Steve How and wife Rochelle, Adam Neaves, Victor Neaves, and Amber Neaves. Many thanks to the wonderful caring team at Heartland Hospice for their support. A celebration of life will be held on Sunday January 26 at 2pm at Shoreline Mobile Home Park Clubhouse at 1555 Merrill St., Santa Cruz.
Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on Jan. 19, 2014