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Charlotte Van Etten

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Charlotte Van Etten Obituary
CHARLOTTE VAN ETTEN 05-29-1916 - 07-20-2013 Beloved wife of 68 years to Peter G. Van Etten, generous in her loving kindness as mother of 3, grandmother of 5, and great-grandmother of 9. Charlotte was born Charlotte May Bakkela on May 29, 1916 to Louise and Weimer Bakkela of Red Wing, Minnesota. She and her younger sister Vivian, moved with the family to California in 1926. Charlotte attended Occidental College in Los Angeles with her future husband Peter in 1936, graduating in 1938. Pete and Charlotte were wed on July 29, 1939. In 1940, she served as assistant to the Dean of Women at Occidental College. Their first child, Vivian Lynn, was born in 1943. The couple moved to Riverside in 1944, where Peter began his medical practice. Another daughter, Mary Claire, was born in 1945, and their son, Peter Bakkela, was born in 1947. Charlotte's faith in Jesus Christ was central to the person she was. It came from within her spirit: her love of people, places and things in nature, created by a loving God. She generously shared her interests and hobbies with her family: teaching the Bible, collecting shells, golfing, swimming, boating, her writings, paintings, embroidery, sewing, crafts, and her appreciation of other cultures and lands. Charlotte shared her creativity with her church, her PEO Chapter J, and the residential community of Braemar Co-op Garden Apartments. She served her church as editor of the Calvary Call for fifteen years, and as a church deacon. She was a leader in Calvary Women's Association, presenting Biblical plays that she wrote and directed, even into her 90's. Charlotte genuinely enjoyed working closely with the cast and crew, who were all devoted Calvary members. Charlotte was a PEO member for 61 years, and was especially proud of PEO's history of providing scholarship funds for women's education. She also taught elementary school for five years. In 1994, Pete and Charlotte moved into the Braemar Garden Apartments. They formed many friendships, and enjoyed taking part in the Drama Group, "The Braemar Players." Charlotte joined the writing group, a painting class, and led a pool exercise group. Charlotte was honored by the Mayor's Commission on Aging in 2009, and was presented with a Senior Citizen Award for her "contribution to improving the quality of life in the City of Riverside." Charlotte was preceded in death by her husband Peter G. Van Etten in 2008. She is survived by 3 children: Vivian Lynn Flinspach (husband Mack), Mary Claire Vickery (husband Brian), and Peter Bakkela Van Etten; 5 grandchildren: Derek Devine (wife Michelyn), Matt Gaches (wife Meagan), Dan Gaches, Mandy Shelton (husband Kip), Mack Flinspach lll (wife Angela); 9 great-grandchildren: Brooke Vivian (7 months), Charlotte Claire (3 years), Macky Louis ( 6 years), Kyranda Lynn (7 years), Logan Allen (8 years), Ayden John-Michael (8 years), Joseph Rene (12 years), Dustin Vance ( 15 years), and Chloe Ann (26 years). The family wishes to give a special thanks to the amazing caregivers, nurses and staff at Chapman Hospice for their compassion and care of Charlotte. A celebration of Charlotte's life will be held on Saturday, August 17, 2013 at 2:00 pm at Calvary Presbyterian Church 4495 Magnolia Ave. Riverside, CA 92501 In lieu of flowers, gifts to Calvary Presbyterian Church are suggested.
Published in Press-Enterprise on Aug. 4, 2013
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