SHELBY-Charlene Oakes Bartholomew Hamrick of Shelby and Blowing Rock, died peacefully at home on April 7, 2013. She was born August 23, 1920 in Richmond, Va., daughter of the late Raymond Leslie and Ann Hood Oakes.
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She was also predeceased by her brother Raymond Leslie "Bunny" Oakes Jr., and her first husband, Samuel Wilson Bartholomew.
Charlene is survived by her second husband, Rush Hamrick, and her four children – Samuel Wilson Bartholomew Jr. of Nashville (Vicki), Rebecca Bartholomew Weeks (Dr. Kenneth Durham) of Charlotte, Susan Oakes Bartholomew of Kingsport, and William David Bartholomew (Caroline) of Nashville – as well as 11 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
Charlene attended Westhampton College (now part of the University of Richmond) and later the University of Tennessee. During the Sadie Hawkins Day Race at UT, she beat out other sorority girls by running the fastest and "catching" the football team captain Sam Bartholomew, who she married a year later on April 10, 1942. After Sam played professional football for the Philadelphia Eagles and served in the U.S. Army in Fort Benning, Ga. and Europe, the couple settled in Kingsport, Tenn., where Sam was an executive with the Tennessee Eastman Company. Charlene and Sam lived their entire married life in Kingsport, except while Sam was a Sloan Scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for two years. Sam died in February 1999.
Charlene's love of travel was infectious and her adventuresome spirit led her to pioneer the travel agency business in East Tennessee and found the Kingsport Travel Service, which she presided over for 30 years. She developed and led memorable tours, many of which are still being enjoyed today. Her children and grandchildren have wonderful memories of their international travels with Charlene, led by her without a map or a concern.
After meeting Rush Hamrick in Blowing Rock, Charlene married him in July 2003. Charlene and Rush loved spending their summers in the mountains, attending Blowing Rock Methodist Church, playing bridge with their many friends and enjoying the beautiful views. Charlene also loved her life with Rush in Shelby, having been warmly welcomed by his family and many lifelong friends.
Most people will remember Charlene for the way she lived - with gusto and boundless energy. Known lovingly by her friends and family as "Char Char," she led a full life and enjoyed golf, tennis and aerobics. She started playing golf with her father when she was 12 years old, had five career holes in one, multiple club championship wins, and could still be seen playing twilight golf at age 90. She was an avid and fearless bridge player as well. She had a passion for sports and considered competition as both a goal and a social outlet.
Charlene also leaves behind two stepsons – Charles Rush Hamrick III (Susan) of Morehead City, and Dr. Dale Rutledge Hamrick (Cherrie) of Columbia, SC, and their three children and 10 grandchildren.
The family wishes to thank the excellent caregivers who tended to Charlene throughout her life – Opal Hensley, Patti Beam, Jennifer Beam, Willie Mae Poston, Chubby Craig and Mary Eastridge. They also want to acknowledge the special care Charlene received from Hospice of Cleveland County.
Memorial Service: 2 p.m. Wednesday at First Baptist Church Shelby, and 11 a.m. Thursday at First Presbyterian Church in Kingsport, Tenn.
Funeral Home: Cecil M Burton Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the family of Charlene Hamrick
Memorials: May be made to Blowing Rock Methodist Church at P.O. Box 352, Blowing Rock, N.C., 28605
Online Condolences: www.cecilmburtonfuneralhome.com
CECIL M. BURTON FUNERAL HOME and CREMATORY
106 CHERRYVILLE RD.
Shelby, NC 28150-4208
Published in Shelby Star from Apr. 8 to Apr. 9, 2013