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Charles E. Gustafson, 89 Print E-mail
Written by TRF Times   
    Kingwood, Texas - Charles E. Gustafson, born July 2, 1923, passed away peacefully in his sleep at age 89 years and nine days.      
    A memorial service is planned in St. Petersburg, Florida later in the year.
    Charles was the youngest of five siblings, born and raised in Thief River Falls, where he graduated from Lincoln High School in 1941. World War II interrupted his studies at the University of North Dakota, so he enlisted in the Army-Air Corps, where he earned his wings to become a fighter pilot. Because of his fluent French, he was assigned to Gunter Field in Montgomery, Alabama where he would excel as a flight instructor of French cadets in the AT-6.
    After the war, Charles returned to the University of North Dakota and earned a master’s degree in psychology.  He served as Director of Counseling and taught psychology for 10 years at Hibbing Community College in Minnesota, before settling in Dayton, Ohio, where he worked at Wright-Patterson AFB as a civilian in the Human Engineering Department.  While in Dayton, Charles and his wife shared a great passion for community theater. While Phyllis enjoyed being stage manager, Charles’ gifts were evident with his large collection of “Best Actor” and “Best Director” awards.
    After 20 years of civil service, he retired to St. Petersburg, Fla., where he and his wife began a life of travel, and he a pursuit of a lifelong dream, to be a writer. He had begun working on a novel in high school, and had submitted a chapter to a publisher who was interested in seeing the finished product. Sixty years later, his wife inspired him to complete the novel he began so long ago. “Like a Wildflower” was completed as promised, shortly after her death, as well as another novel and a series of short stories.  
    Charles will be remembered by family and friends as a warm, loving, and gentle soul.  He had a quick wit and terrific sense of humor even as he struggled with Alzheimer’s. The caregivers at the Unlimited Care Assisted Living Cottages in Kingwood deserve special thanks for their commitment and devotion to “Mr. Charles’s” welfare.
    He is survived by his son, Stephen E. Gustafson and his wife Tommie of Kingwood, Texas and his daughter, Jan V. Kimble and her husband Jim of Arlington, Texas. He also has a living brother, Ralph Gustafson of Bemidji; two granddaughters, Amanda and Amber Kimble; and two great-grandsons, all of Arlington, Texas, and a special friend, Barbara Carothers, of St. Petersburg, Fla.
    He was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Phyllis Caldis Gustafson, his parents, Carl David and Jule Gustafson, a brother Kendall, and two sisters, Jean Tiedeman and Peg Peterson.
    In lieu of flowers, a contribution may be made to the Thief River Falls Education Foundation http://www.trfeducationfoundation.com/en/give_a_gift/memorial/ or your local Alzheimer’s Association.