Charles Perry Maciel
Nov. 18, 1919 to Jan. 13, 2013
Resident of San Jose
Charles Maciel, a true exemplar of the "Greatest Generation," completed his final mission, reporting to his Heavenly Commander on Jan 13, 2013. Charlie enlisted in the Navy soon after Pearl Harbor and flew 33 missions over the North Atlantic as Navigator on a B-24. He was shot down 3 times while providing protection to Liberty ships from enemy submarines. He did his job with bravery and excellence, completing his extraordinary WWII adventure by flying air cover over the English Channel during the D-Day Invasion. He was awarded several medals for his distinguished service.
Lt. Maciel returned to San Jose and married his sweetheart, Mary Louise Alvernaz, in 1944. Together, Charlie and Mary Lou built successful retail businesses in the South Bay that provided financial security and opportunity for their extended family and for countless others. For almost 50 years, Charlie conducted his business life with intelligence and integrity. Many of his business associates and customers became lifelong friends.
Charlie and Mary Lou made a wonderful life together for over 68 years. They were a team, partners in a marriage defined by love, selflessness, hard work and laughter. It is said that courage comes from being loved deeply and strength comes from loving another deeply. He was courageous and strong to the end because he was loved by so many, and he returned that love a hundred times over
If the mark life of a well-lived life is to make the world a better place for just one other person, Charlie's life was a phenomenal success. His was a life of giving. In so many ways he gave to his country, his Church, his community, his friends, his family and to countless strangers in need and asked for nothing in return. Those who knew Charlie well, knew him as a man with a huge heart, an indomitable spirit, a razor-sharp mind, and a wicked sense of humor. As a child of the Depression, he lived by a code of self-sufficiency. One of his principles was never to pay another what he could do for himself (which explains his trimming 30-foot pine trees at the age of 90!). His frugality was legendary but if he would drive out of his way to save a few cents in gas at Rotten Robbie, he would also drive for hours to distribute food for St.Vincent De Paul or donate a Jeep full of medicine to African relief efforts.
After retiring at age 72, he spent countless hours in his garden, playing Scrabble with his family, and working as head of the Finance Committee at St. John Vianney. For decades he would be seen at the first tee at Spring Valley Golf Course on Tuesday mornings with close friends whom he now joins at the 19th hole of eternity. His charmed life included a hole-in-one witnessed by his grandson, Evor (with whom he skydived at age 75!), He loved traveling and took family on memorable trips to Europe, Hawaii, Alaska, Asia and rafting down the Green River in Utah. "Appa and Granmama" also made many trips to New England for family visits and building projects (a small backyard bridge in Vermont stands as tribute to his carpentry skills). Perhaps his most enjoyable times, besides winning at Scrabble, or sinking a birdie putt, were the golf tournaments Mary Lou gave him for his birthdays for a decade.
He lived an exceptional life. Reflecting on his life in his last year on this earth, he would say, "Life is what you make of it, and I've had a pretty darn good one: a wife who loves me and whom I love a lot, and good kids, grandkids, and great-grandchildren who I'm proud of. A man can't ask for more than that."
In addition to his wife, Mary Lou, Charlie is survived and loved by three children: Peri Vattuone (Evor), Steven, Timothy (Kathleen Maceda); four grandchildren: Evor Vattuone (Jessica), Elizabeth Panagotacos (John), Charles Maceda-Maciel and Sarah Maceda-Maciel,; five great-grandchildren: Joelle, Elise, Evore, Jacob, and Grace; a beloved sister, Dolores Wesseling; by sisters-in law Margaret Amaral, Lorraine Gonsalves and brother-in-law Arthur Gonsalves, and many nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his brothers, Mel, Joseph, Alfred, George, and brother-in-law Bob Amaral.
Special thanks to the Thomson family, who are angels disguised as friends. Heart felt gratitude to Dr. Marvin Masada, caregivers Helima, Aneth, Danielle, Lisa, Marcella, Karl, Ray, Stacey and Pilar.
A mass with military honors, will be held at St. John Vianney Catholic Church, 4600 Hyland Ave. San Jose on Saturday, February 23rd at 11:00AM.
A private family interment was held on January 17 at Los Gatos Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, PO 1000 Dept 142 Memphis, TN, 38148-0142 (tribute # 32648716); Odyssey Hospice Foundation 2055 Gateway Pl San Jose, CA 95001 or St. John Vianney Restricted Fund, 4600 Hyland Ave. San Jose, CA 95127.