Rev. Charles Bates Gompertz By Marian Huntington Widely admired and beloved Charles "Chuck" Bates Gompertz, an Episcopal priest serving St. John's Episcopal Church in Ross, for more than 30 years, died October 2 at his Nicasio home from complications due to congestive heart failure. He was 83. Born September 13, 1935 in Philadelphia, Chuck moved with his parents to the East Bay Area, where the Gompertz family had deep roots, especially at UC Berkeley. Both of Chuck's parents, Dr. John "Jack" Gompertz and Margaret Bates Gompertz, were Cal graduates, as was Chuck, who graduated with a degree in Speech and Communications in 1959 after serving in the U.S. Navy. He found his calling as a priest, and received a Master of Divinity in 1962 from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley. Thereafter, "his life was dedicated to service and love," said his wife of 33 years, Leslie Ross Gompertz. From 1962 until his death, he was affiliated with several Episcopal churches in the North Bay Area, from the contemporary "church in the round" in Ignacio to Nob Hill's majestic Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. To honor the completion of the Grace Cathedral's construction in 1965, Chuck spearheaded an innovative musical production, the first Jazz Mass, featuring pianist Vince Guaraldi. He volunteered for numerous organizations, serving as Board President of the Volunteer Center of Marin; Member of the National Board of Planned Parenthood; Board President of the College of Marin Foundation; Board President of the Nicasio School District; Board President of West Marin Senior Services; Member of the San Francisco Yacht Club, where he served as the Eight Bells Chaplain; and Member of UC Berkeley's Big C Society. Besides his wife, Chuck is survived by four children: Pamela Gompertz Schmitz (David); Margaret Gompertz; John Gompertz; and Ross Gompertz (Kat); grandchildren Leslie and Mary Charlotte Schmitz; sisters Peggy Gompertz Huntington and Jody Gompertz Cooper Martin (Ned); and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, November 3, at St. John's in Ross. Memorial contributions in Chuck's honor can be made to St. John's, P.O. Box 217, Ross 94957; West Marin Senior Services, P.O. Box 1031, Pt. Reyes Station 94956; and Planned Parenthood, 2 H Street, San Rafael 94901.
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Published in Marin Independent Journal on Oct. 21, 2018.