Charles Rafferty Weidner (Rafferty to family, "Chuck" to friends) a resident of Bellingham for 20 years, died of heart failure at age 67 in Anchorage, Alaska.
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Born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Charles and Maryann Weidner, he spent his early years with his family in Alaska's Matanuska Valley.
As his family moved around, Rafferty attended elementary school in Palmer, AK. junior high in Ellensburg, WA and grades 10 and 11 at North High in Columbus, OH, before graduating with honors from Burlington- Edison High School where his father taught.
Receiving an Alfred G. Sloan National Scholarship, he entered Whitman College in 1962. At Whitman, he joined the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and served, variously, as president of the Debate Honorary Society, president of Young Democrats and as Faculty Forum chairman. He was an exchange student at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and in his senior year, was elected to Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities.
After graduating with Academic Distinction and earning a BA degree in Political Science in 1966, Chuck married Leslie Mullin, a classmate, and the two of them went off to Chad, (Africa) as Peace Corps volunteers.
In the early '70s, he took a job as a restaurant manager on Mercer Island, WA and soon parlayed that into a lucrative ten years as a master baker with Universal Services in Prudhoe Bay, AK. Chuck stayed in Alaska when the oil boom slowed but fell prey to bouts of depression that would recur throughout his life. In l992 he returned to Bellingham where with ongoing help and encouragement of the Lake Whatcom Residential Treatment Center he settled into the life of the community.
Possessed of a mordant wit and a vocabulary that brought it to full flower, Chuck's iconoclastic views were on early display as an outstanding college debater. His convictions, political and moral, at once contradictory and persuasive, are preserved in writings that are largely private but that should have been made available to a wider audience. Chuck maintained an ongoing interest in the politics of the day, continuing to read and discourse knowledgeably -- and at length -- over a broad area. For many years, he was a regular contributor of funds to support African children and their families.
As described by those who knew him best in recent years, his move to Alaska was to be permanent and by all accounts his last months were ones of personal contentment. He will be remembered as a first-rate story-teller and a man with a good heart.
He is survived by a daughter, Ella, of Kasilof, Alaska; by his father, Charles, Surrey B.C.; a brother, Geoffrey Weidner of Kelowna, BC and a sister, Bethany Weidner of Olympia, WA. His nephews JD Ross, Earl and Charles, and nieces Jillian and Emily knew him, but not well enough. As a first-born grandson, he was especially doted upon by his grandmothers Marie Dolis and Bethel Weidner Hunt both of whom died earlier. His mother, Maryann Weidner died in 2007. You may contact the family via his sister at email@example.com
Published in Skagit Valley Herald Publishing Company from July 31 to Aug. 1, 2012