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Charles S. Elder

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Charles S. Elder Obituary
Charles S. Elder (10.17.28 - 03.30.13) lived a quietly extraordinary life. Raised in Louisville, Kentucky, he started his life under segregation laws and ended it seeing a black president take oath of office. Though his grandmother had been born a slave, he grew up happily and even privileged, yet unable to drink from white water fountains, shop in white stores, sit at the front of movie theaters or occupy white train cars through certain states. As a mechanical engineering student at the University of Colorado in Boulder, he experienced a wider world. There, amidst the Rockies, along with an eclectic group of buddies, he took up motorcycling as a grand passion. Later, he served his draft, meeting more of the men who would become his lifelong friends. A budding sailor, he worked briefly in Boston and fell forever in love with this city surrounded by water. Other work took him out to California for a few years, where he met his future wife, Marcia. He proposed on his sailboat. They married in 1963. When MIT offered a permanent job, he returned east, dragging his Californian wife 'kicking and screaming'. He worked at MIT's Draper Laboratory, a job he adored, for 30 years. Marcia came to love the area too, and they brought up two children, Adrienne and Douglas, offering them a life rich with love, laughter, creativity, adventure and support. Marcia died in 2003 with her family by her side. Douglas died recently, on March 9th, after a year-long struggle with cancer. Charles died 21 days later, at 84, having promised his son he'd stay alive for him and after saying goodbye to his daughter, son-in-law and grandson who shares his same birthday. He is also survived by his older sister, Jean Cazort. People remember Charles as an exceptionally sincere, loving and interested man. He will be very much missed by many.

Published in The Bedford Minutemen from Apr. 30 to May 7, 2013
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