Charles Hathaway

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Charles Frederick Hathaway
August 2, 1926 - January 7, 2013
Charles Hathaway of Marina del Rey passed away January 7, 2013, of pneumonia and related complications, at the age of 86. A prominent figure in the Los Angeles business community, Charles was admired for the way he successfully balanced work with his outside endeavors of sailing, endurance rowing, woodworking, hiking, running, travel, gardening, painting, and dancing barefoot with his young grandchildren. His dedication to personal fitness epitomized the fitness lifestyle of the Los Angeles Athletic Club where he served his entire career. A fourth-generation resident of Los Angeles born to Charles F. Hathaway, Sr, and Melodile Garbutt Hathaway, Charles grew up in the Silver Lake district. He honed his mischievous sense of humor selling chewing gum door to door that was made by his grandfather from backyard eucalyptus trees. In WWII he served as an airplane mechanic and machine gunner in the Navy Air Corps. Charles graduated from Principia College in 1950 where, as he was fond of saying, he made the best decision of his life by marrying an Iowa farm girl, Patricia Yelland, his wife of 63 years. He achieved a Master's Degree in Hotel Administration at Michigan State University in 1959. In his club management career Charles provided 40 years of distinguished service to the Los Angeles Athletic Club and its allied clubs, retiring as President, then served for an additional 17 years as Director of its Managing General Partner, Stability LLC. His proudest business achievement was leading the re-founding of California Yacht Club in 1961. After CYC was shuttered by the U.S. Coast Guard during WWII, Charles, along with a small handful of other businessmen, took a risk by subleasing some space on the then dusty flats of Marina del Rey, and led its development into the world-class yacht club that it is today. He also served as President of the Club Managers Association of Southern California, was a past Director of the Club Managers Association of America and National Club Association. Charles was known for his epic adventures, which included leasing the family home in Van Nuys in 1957, buying a sailboat in Miami, and sailing for 4 months to Los Angeles through the Panama Canal with his then very young family. He was an able and courageous seaman, winner of numerous yacht races, and explored many of the world's oceans on a wide array of sail and power craft. No matter how far he traveled he had an uncanny knack for meeting people who already knew him. In 1976, for his 50th birthday, Charles pioneered endurance rowing in Southern California by completing the first known solo crossing from Catalina Island to Marina del Rey in his beloved fixed-seat ocean dory, Fritz. Five years later he repeated the same row, laced up his shoes and ran to Riviera Country Club, then rode his bicycle downtown to LAAC, to complete the first triathlon of that type in Southern California. In 1984, at age 58, he rowed Fritz from Santa Barbara to Marina del Rey, an astounding open ocean distance of 72 nautical miles. He also completed the first LA Marathon and completed the 1982 New York Marathon. He was active in a diverse array of business and community services, including Chairman and Director of the Board of Central City Association, and was a Special Advisor to the President's Council on Physical Fitness under Ronald Reagan. He served as Director of Santa Monica Bank, and served on the Board of the Catalina Island Conservancy. He also gave back to the city he loved by serving numerous non-profit organizations such as the Weingart Foundation, Skid Row Development Corporation, Azusa-Pacific College, and FIDM LA. Charles co-founded the Skid Row Garden Club and served on the Board of California Hospital Medical Center. His indefatigable spirit could not be dimmed by Alzheimer's Disease during his last years, as he pursued creative interests such as drawing and flower arranging, even earning awards for his paintings on naturally textured eucalyptus bark. Charles is survived by his siblings Frank Hathaway, Barbara Wolff, and Sylvia Eisenberg, and a large and loving family, including his wife Patricia, their five children Steven Hathaway, Rebecca Halladay, Thomas Hathaway, Sally Miller, and Robin Luley, their spouses and 13 grandchildren.
A memorial service is pending. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his honor to The Catalina Island Conservancy.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Jan. 11, 2013
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