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Charles A. Runbeck


1928 - 2020
Charles A. Runbeck Obituary
Charles A. Runbeck

Phoenix - Charles A. "Chuck" Runbeck passed away on Monday, March 9, 2020, six weeks shy of his 92nd birthday. Born in 1928 in Aberdeen, South Dakota, his parents were Swedish immigrant Anton Runbeck and Wisconsin native Nina Hooper. In 1937, his family moved to Coolidge, Arizona, where he helped his grandfather produce the local newspaper. His family returned to Aberdeen just as World War II was starting in Europe. Chuck enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 18 in 1946. After an honorable discharge in 1948, Chuck moved to Phoenix and attended Arizona State College. In 1952, he started an advertising agency with his soon-to-be wife, Kathryn "Kay" Liem. Chuck and Kay married in 1954 and had three sons: Charles Craig (1955), Robert Kevin (1957), and Brian Frederick (1963). In 1953, Chuck began a long partnership with Johnny and Martha Akers selling advertising and publishing construction-related magazines. In 1969, he launched Runbeck & Associates, an advertising agency and print brokerage. Chuck added election printing to the mix in 1970, and that became important work that grew steadily. His son, Kevin, took the company helm in the late 1980s, and the name evolved from Runbeck Graphics to the current Runbeck Election Services. In 1983, Chuck returned to magazine publishing, creating Southwest Contractor and later Southwest Builder. In 1990, he sold both these successful publications to McGraw-Hill, but not ready to retire, he and son Kevin began Southwest Graphics magazine. Chuck "retired" for the second time in 1997 and he and Kay moved to east Texas, while Chuck managed to stay actively involved in Southwest Graphics. In 2006, Chuck and Kay returned to Arizona, first to Payson and then back to Phoenix at Sagewood retirement community in 2012. In 2011, at age 83, Chuck was approached to help launch a new magazine, Arizona Contractor & Community; he mentored the young staff and became the lynchpin for the publication's success. He continued selling advertising through his 90th year. Chuck also proudly served for 35 years as Executive Director of the Associated Equipment Distributors of Arizona. Throughout his life, Chuck enjoyed travel, family, friends, and work. Chuck is survived by his wife of 66 years, Kay, sons Craig (Debra) , Kevin (Sandi and Kayti), and Brian, grandchildren Nathan, Daniel (Chelita), Matina (David), and Erin, great-grandchildren Emilio and Elena, sister June Potochnik, and many in-laws, nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, friends and co-workers, all of whom loved him dearly. Unfortunately, no public services can be planned at this time. Please visit hansenmortuary.com for online condolences.
Published in The Arizona Republic from Mar. 20 to Mar. 22, 2020
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