Charles G. Gangaware|
Charles G. "Charlie" Gangaware, 89, of Enola, passed away on Sunday, Sept. 22, in the Geno J. Merli Veterans Center, Scranton, Pa.
Born in Coaldale, he was a son of the late Chester L. and Emily (Reis) Gangaware.A 1942 graduate of the former Coaldale High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served with the 702nd Tank Battalion during World War II. When he was discharged, he worked briefly in the coal mines and post office in Coaldale.
- He was the husband of Irene (Jones) Gangaware. They were married for 35 years.
In 1945, he moved to Harrisburg and became employed by the American Legion Department of Pennsylvania in the mail room. He was Emblem Director from 1952-1965 and his Legion background in sports covered more than 30 years.
Charles was activities director from 1965-1985 and it was those last 20 years that his name became synonymous with Pennsylvania American Legion Baseball. In 1966, he got Pennsylvania back into the national fold after a 30-year absence and Pennsylvania soon became the largest American Legion Baseball Program in the country - more than twice the size of any other state.
He was a member of the National Americanism Commission and served as Baseball Chairman from 1985-1991 and a member of the National American Legion Baseball Rules Committee - his long tenure as chairman and his influence and leadership brought about many changes to the rule book.
"Mr. Legion Baseball," as Charles was known, coached American Legion Baseball for 12 years; was president of Dauphin County American Legion Baseball for six years; and was District Chairman for nine years.
Charles took great pride in sending over 350 baseball players to the Major Leagues and thousands have gone on to college out of the Legion ranks on scholarships for their baseball ability.
Other youth programs inaugurated by Charles for the American Legion were the Junior Amateur Golf Program and the Junior Amateur Bowling Program. Softball and tennis programs were also started under his watchful eye. In addition to promoting and directing athletics throughout the state, he was very involved in the local community.
Charles coached youth baseball and basketball from 1952-1967 and his Junior Legion Basketball teams won four state championships and his Senior Legion Basketball Team played in the state championship game in 1952.
Charles is fondly remembered by his former players and colleagues for his dedication and accomplishments to Harrisburg Youth Sports.
In 1963, he was one of the founders of the Pennsylvania State Sports Hall of Fame, of which he was a charter and life member and was named the State Executive Director and Treasurer and served in those positions until 1983.
He was the founder of the Capitol Area Chapter Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame and was its first president and served two terms. He was inducted into the Pennsylvania State Sports Hall of Fame in 1997, along with being inducted into both the Capitol Area Chapter Hall of Fame in 1967 and the Carbon County Chapter Hall of Fame in 2012.
Charles was vice president of the Junior Baseball Federation of Philadelphia from 1965-1985; director of Pittsburgh Pirates Foundation, which is called HYPO (Help Young People Organize) from 1965-1983; a Major League Baseball scout for the Phillies, Orioles, Indians and Dodgers; and worked in public relations for the Tigers. He was a director for Pa. Special Olympics for six years; and served on the Harrisburg Recreation Board for 10 years and the Susquehanna Recreation Commission for four years.
Charles was a life member of American Legion Post 1001 and he was instrumental in establishing Post 1001 in North Harrisburg. His leadership and organizational skills led to its growth and success. He became Commander in 1955-1956 and again in 1985-1986 and he was Judge Advocate for 29 years from 1974-2003. He served as president of North Harrisburg War Veterans Home Association for 25 years.
Charles enjoyed bowling in leagues with his grandsons at ABC East Lanes and was an avid golfer and worked part-time at Silver Spring Golf Course.
Surviving in addition to his loving wife are a brother, Chester J. of Coaldale; three stepdaughters, Deborah, wife of Michael Swab of Halifax, Irene, wife of Daryl Bower of Middletown, and Georgeanne Cunningham in Nevada; eight grandchildren, Michelle Swab, Johnathan, Brandon, Trevor and Dylan Bower and Samantha, Bobby and Matthew Hutchison; two nephews and a niece.
He was also preceded in death by his sister, Jennie Hartranft of Fullerton, Pa.
Service: Funeral service will be private, with burial in the Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, Annville, Pa., with full military honors. Contributions in his name may be made to the Pa. American Legion Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 2324, Harrisburg, Pa. 17105; the Capitol Area Chapter of Pa. Sports Hall of Fame Scholarship Fund, 531 Kingston Rd., Harrisburg, Pa. 17112; or the ABC East Lanes Youth Bowling Scholarship Fund, 1001 Eisenhower Blvd., Harrisburg, Pa. 17111. The Neill Funeral Home, 3501 Derry St., Harrisburg, is in charge of the arrangements.
Published in Times News on Sept. 25, 2013