Charles Mares

Charles E. "Chuck" Mares

GREAT FALLS —Charles E. "Chuck" Mares, 69, of Great Falls, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 of natural causes while surrounded by his family.

A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. at Hillcrest Lawn Memorial Chapel followed by burial at the Chartier Family Cemetery. Schnider Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Chuck was born on June 30, 1944 to Charles and Ruth (Tabor) Mares in Great Falls, Montana. He attended elementary school in Great Falls, Montana and Portland, Oregon. An industrious young man, Chuck started picking up odd jobs at the age of 5. After graduating from Great Falls High School in 1962, Chuck was drafted in to the Army and reported to the military on August 5, 1965. He married Susan Chartier of Sand Coulee on October 23, 1965 while he was home from Basic Training and AIT. Together they raised three children. They divorced in 1982 but remained lifelong friends.

Upon return from Vietnam, Chuck worked full time at Buttrey Foods and additional part-time jobs while attending the College of Great Falls on the GI Bill. After graduating from college, Chuck started a new career in management as the Dock Foreman at Garrett Freightlines. His true niche in life was truck driving which he did after returning to Buttrey Foods. From this point on Chuck was a dedicated Buttrey Foods employee. He worked in the warehouse and won many pallet loading competitions. He drove truck for many years before retiring in the early 2000's with a superior driver safety record of which he was very proud.

Starting from an early age, Chuck was a truly generous man. He would give the shirt off his back, buy the first drink and insisted on always picking up the dinner tab. He helped many deserving and non-deserving people along the way. Chuck could fix anything with an engine or tires and was a proud owner of stock cars. He also enjoyed raising pigs, chickens, and turkeys and helping out around the farm.

The highlight of his life was supporting his son, Chad's motocross career by being the driving force and mechanic behind multiple state championships. Many motocross weekends he was the driver, cook, and mechanic for "shoestring racing". This brought great joy and pride to not only Chuck, but his entire family.

In his retirement years, he spent much time helping his family, neighbors and friends and taking care of the smaller creatures in the world, from the fish he trained to eat out of his hand to the doves that wintered in his back yard. His beloved pets, Spooky and Casper knew more tricks than most dogs. During these later years is when he became very patriotic regarding his service and devotion to the Vietnam War.

He is survived by his mother, Ruth Burch of Albuquerque, NM; aunt Marge Mares of Medford, OR; mother of his children and longtime friend, Sue Kerkes; children Christen Obresley of Havre, Kasie (Scott) McIntosh of Chinook and Chad (Bobbi) Mares of Great Falls; grandchildren Malcolm Obresley of Great Falls and Spencer Obresley of Havre, Madisen and Ian McIntosh of Chinook and Cade and Rilee Mares of Great Falls; special friend, Melissa Wetzstein and her children, Aaron (Terri Muller) Stafford and Tasha Stafford; and grandchild Brent "Dozer" Stafford; brothers Phillip (Sharon) Mares of Salt Lake City, UT, Joseph (Linda) Mares of Antelope, CA, Wayne Mares of Fresno, CA, and Garth (Linda) Burch of Albuquerque, NM; sisters Roberta Dewar of Scottsdale, AZ, Susan (John) Richards of Sidney, AU, Leah (Marty) Dershewitz of Larkspur, CO, Gail Sholtis of Albuquerque, NM, Thea (Monte) Smith of Syracuse, NY, Cheryl Threatt of Olympia, WA.

Chuck was preceded in death by his father, Charles L. Mares; uncle Clarence Mares; and aunt Wilma (Ed) Spesock; beloved canine companions, Casper and Spooky.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are requested to the Arthur "Chuck" Tuomi Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Jim Luoma, 67 Brown Rd, Sand Coulee, MT 59472. Chuck was a Founding Member of this scholarship foundation.

Condolences for the family may be posted online at www.schniderfuneralhome.com.

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Funeral Home

Schnider Funeral Home
1510 13th Street South Great Falls, MT 59405-4501
(406) 727-1368

Published in Great Falls Tribune on May 11, 2014