On July 20, 2011, Charlie Stablein passed away in his sleep. He almost made it to his goal of 100 years old. He will now be with the Lord and his many family and friends that preceded him.
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Charles A. Stablein was born Oct. 21, 1917, in Great Falls and he attended Great Falls public schools, graduating in 1936. Growing up during the Great Depression he, like everyone of his time, worked many jobs. As he would say later in life." you name it and I've probably worked at it." He started college in 1938 at Montana State College in Bozeman, but it would be many years before he graduated.
In 1939 Charlie moved to Los Angeles where he worked and attended evening school whenever he could. He worked as a grip at MGM and Twentieth Century movie studios, salesman at Montgomery Wards, and as an automobile mechanic. He attended Frank Wiggins Trade & Tech School, Los Angeles City College, and The Art Center of Pasadena studying "production illustration" while working at North American Aircraft building airplanes.
He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942. The war years 1942 to 1945 were spent at Camp Haan Quartermaster Depot at Riverside, Calif.
Charlie met and married Virginia (Gow) Lofgren in June 1945. They had three sons, Charles, Richard and James.
Charlie graduated from Montana State College in 1949 with bachelor's and master's degrees in art. Upon graduating Charlie taught art at Lewistown High School, was the art supervisor for Bozeman Public Schools for several years, and taught art at Bozeman Junior High School. Many of his students would visit his house for help with art projects or stop him on the street and tell him how much they had learned about art in his class. Charlie loved teaching and working with young people, retiring from teaching in 1979.
Charlie worked summers as an information specialist with the U.S. Forest Service greeting and guiding visitors to the Madison earthquake area and designing informational displays regarding historical areas in the Gallatin National Forest.
Charlie lost his first wife, Virginia, to cancer in 1962.
In 1966, Charlie married fellow teacher, Beulah Pospisil. Charlie and Beulah loved to travel and made numerous trips both in the United States and around the world. On several occasions they acted as tour guides.
Charlie liked to hunt, fish, and fly airplanes. He was an active member of the Bozeman Senior Center serving on the board of directors and foundation board. Charlie and Beulah often volunteered for special events at the center. He helped organize the computer program at the center, taking it from a single donated computer to the present room with 15 computers. He taught basic computer skills to numerous beginners (seniors), many much younger. It was a sad day for him when, because of ill health, he could no longer devote the time to those activities. Charlie lost his second wife Beulah on March 31, 2011, to cancer also.
Charlie was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Hazel Stablein; one brother, Joe; sisters, Marie and Pat; and both wives, Virginia and Beulah.
Survivors include sons, Charles of Denver, Colo., Richard (Gloria) of Monroe, Wash., and Jim of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Charlie is also survived by grandchildren, Chris (Jen) Stablein, Karlyn (John) Clark, Samantha (John) Willis; and great-grandchildren, Hunter, Leif, and Finn Clark and Keira Stablein.
The family would like to thank the staff at Spring Meadows Assisted Living for their care and help, as well as the many doctors and nurses that assisted in trying to get him almost to that 100-year mark.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the local Worthy Student Scholarship Fund, or to a charity of your choice.
A memorial service will take place at 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 26, at the Bozeman Catholic Community Center, 210 S. Grand Ave., with interment to follow.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.dahlcares.com.
Dahl Funeral Chapel
300 Highland Boulevard
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on July 24, 2011