Charles Bernard Guest Jr.
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Charles Bernard Guest, Jr.

Salinas - Charles Bernard Guest, Jr. (Lt. Col. retired) passed away peacefully at home in the loving company of his devoted wife and only son. He was 91 years old.

Charles ("Chuck" to friends and family) was born in Oakland, CA, to Irene Westrick and Charles B. Guest. He is predeceased by his brother Wayne (Kathleen) Guest. He is survived by his wife, Betty; his son, Charles Grant Guest (Erin Milnes); brother Ronald (Roberta) Guest; sister-in-law Barbara Miller; grandson, Duncan Cullison Guest; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Charles was one of three boys who grew up at 955 Lee Avenue in San Leandro, CA, in a house built by his father and his uncle. The house is still there, immaculately maintained, which fits Charles' sensibilities for keeping things in good order. He learned to be handy helping his father maintain rental properties and worked in a hardware store. All things eventually break and Charles was the fellow to fix them. Organized and compassionate, he had the ability to make things right in all aspects of life. If you were in trouble or needed answers, he could help, which he did for countless people in many ways.

Charles graduated from the University of San Francisco in 1951 as a Distinguished Military Graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration. Upon graduation, he entered the Army as a platoon leader with an Artillery Anti-Aircraft (AAA) Gun Battalion at Camp Hanford, Washington. In 1952, he was transferred to Alaska, where he joined the "40 Below" club. He saw the Northern Lights. He saw the camp cook shoot a moose from the roof of the mess hall so they would have stew. Rotating to Fort Sill, OK, he became a battery commander prior to joining the 7th Division in Korea in early 1955. He returned to Fort Sill in 1957.

On a fateful Saturday, he visited a house in Lawton, OK, to see a woman named Roberta and wound up talking to Betty, her roommate. Betty was about to go on a date. The following Monday, Charles called Betty to ask her out. He didn't waste time.

Charles was transferred to Hawaii in August of 1961. Betty had taken a job in Hawaii at an architectural firm. They got married soon afterwards and honeymooned on Maui - when it was actually secluded - and the Big Island. In 1963, their son was born. They lived at Schofield Barracks military base.

After five years in Hawaii, Charles was deployed with the 23rd Artillery Group in Vietnam as his wife and son remained in quarters in Fort Lewis, WA.

His decorations of military service include a Bronze Star Medal, a Meritorious Service Medal, a National Defense Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Vietnam Service Medal with three bronze service stars (3 different campaigns), Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, Meritorious Unit Citation (Vietnam), and the Legion of Merit, which is one of only two United States military decorations to be issued that go around the neck, the other being the Medal of Honor.

After Vietnam, he attended the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS. His later tours included Heidelberg, Germany, and Fort Ord, CA, after which he retired and moved with his family to Toro Park, a community between Salinas and Monterey.

When his son was born, Charles sent a telegram to his parents in San Leandro saying "ANOTHER FISHERMAN." Charles loved to fish in moving streams. Rainbow trout were afraid of him, with good reason.

If you asked him today how he was, he would say "If I were doing any better, I'd be in trouble." He was a mischievous soul, a playful person with a wonderfully expressive laugh, a great dancer who loved Glenn Miller, a devoted and caring husband, a loving father and grandfather, and an eternal optimist who will be cherished forever.

Funeral Arrangements by Struve and Laporte Funeral Home.

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Published in The Salinas Californian from Dec. 30, 2020 to Jan. 2, 2021.
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2 entries
January 7, 2021
I don't remember much about Chuck, other than what his brother Ron & my sister Roberta told me but I knew I would like him and I am so glad & privileged to say that I did get to know him & Betty on one of our niece Lori & my "road trips" to Monterey. We stopped in to say hello to Chuck & Betty in their lovely home in Salinas and they were so gracious, kind & funny. They treated us to a delicious dinner in the Library in town. As young adults, Lori & I had never had such an experience and to this day I remember how she and I must have eaten all the popovers the chef made for the night. I remember we shared stories and laughed with and at each other. It's a dinner I will always remember and just wish we had done this with Chuck & Betty more than once. I am honored to have known this kind man.
Louellen Lawton
December 31, 2020
Dear Betty and Family, Sending prayers to you all. Betty, I remember when you were a volunteer at the Monterey Chamber/VCB in the 1990s. You and your husband were so kind. May the love and memories help you through this time. Thank you both for your service. Love, Jeanne
Jeanne Sison
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