Charlie Mae Chandler made her journey home to be with the Lord on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, after a long battle with kidney disease.|
Born May 25, 1925, in Hueytown, Ala., to MaryJane and Orris Carroll, Charlie Mae's life began in a small town outside of Birmingham to a family and community of hard working people.
She was blessed in many ways by being surrounded by her parents, grandparents and siblings who loved her dearly. The church she attended also played a pivotal role in her upbringing. She accepted Christ at a very early age.
Compassion, love, respect and the need to treat others as you wished to be treated is how she conducted her life and this she passed on to her children.
The oldest and most adventurous of her two siblings, took her to far away places early from New York to Alaska. In her teens, she went to work at La Guardia Air Field as a dining room attendant and sent her earnings home to help support her family.
Another adventure took her to Tacoma, Wash., to visit with her Aunt Della. She decided to stay after finding employment there. This is where she met and fell in love with her future husband, Booker T. Chandler.
As a carpenter in the construction industry, his job sent him and a team to Sitka in 1947, to start construction of Mount Edgecumbe Hospital. Naturally, Charlie Mae joined him so she could see for herself if Alaskans really did live in igloos.
At the completion of Booker's job, he and Charlie Mae decided to visit Juneau before returning to Washington. This is where they really fell in love with the beauty of Alaska and its people. They made a decision to start a family and make Alaska their home.
As a young mother, her time was spent raising her six children. She saw a need in the community for childcare, so she opened and operated a daycare center while raising her family. She began caring for children of all ages which seemed appropriate because her home was always open.
One of her proudest accomplishments (she called it "my career change") was going back to school to learn a trade where she received a certificate in computer and clerical training. Her first job in the clerical field was working at Fort Wainwright for the Bureau of Land Management and then on to USSAC as a civil service senior switchboard operator. There she remained until her retirement in 1987.
Charlie Mae's leisure time was enjoyed by fishing, growing beautiful flowers, sewing and traveling by RV around the state. Her greatest joy by far was spending time with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
After a diagnosis of renal failure in 2001, Charlie Mae still managed to travel to places she had always wanted to see. Although somewhat restricted, and with no regrets she managed yet one more cross-country trip in 2011 to Virginia to visit with family.
Charlie Mae touched the lives of so many people, and was there for anyone needing advice or a helping hand. Her life was truly dedicated to the communities she lived in.
She was preceded in death by husband, Booker; parents, MaryJane and Orris Carroll; siblings, Annie Mae Washington and brother Orris Carroll Jr.; and sons, Arthur Lee Harris and Thomas Chandler.
Charlie Mae is survived by her daughters, Margaret (Sergio) Correa, of Virginia; Kathy (Landon) Glenn, of Fairbanks; Mary (Paul) Hackney, of Seattle; Ardella (Trell Torres) Chandler, of Fairbanks; son, Joe Chandler, of Anchorage; and scores of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Special thanks to the incredible medical staff at Fresenius Dialysis Center, Fairbanks Memorial Hospital Hospice Care Staff, Dr. Swenson and his nurse, Sue, who attended to Charlie Mae's medical needs.
A private memorial service was held at Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home, followed by a wake at the home of Ardella Chandler. Pastor Eric Jones of New Birth Christian Church officiated.
Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home.
Published in Daily News-Miner on Feb. 27, 2013