March 31, 1924 – June 26, 2019
Charles (Chuck) B. Corwin, 95, of John Day passed away June 26 at Valley View Assisted Living in John Day. A graveside service will be announced later.
Chuck was born March 31, 1924 in Brooklyn, New York. His family lived in Rowayton, Connecticut on the Long Island sound until Chuck was 12 years old. When Chuck’s father passed away, his mother moved him and his sister to Burlingame, California, to live with his grandmother and two aunts. While in primary school, Chuck peddled newspapers to earn money. In high school, he was part of the marching band and part of the band that walked across the Golden Gate Bridge the day it opened. He liked to say: “I made it across the new Golden Gate Bridge before the governor did.”
After high school, Chuck joined the U.S. Navy in 1942 in San Francisco and did his basic training in Farragut, Idaho. He served as a radioman on a fleet oil tanker called the “Cache 8067.” He was the first man on his ship to copy and decipher the code saying the atomic bomb had been dropped. He remembered the date well: August 9, 1945. After the war, Chuck went home to California and went to college on his G.I. bill. After college, he moved to June Lake, California, where he fought fires in the summer and worked plowing snow for the state highway department in the winter along Highway 395 from Death Valley north to the Nevada state line.
In 1962, while relaxing in the Keogh Hot Springs he met, and later married, Betty Jane Patterson who had a daughter, Lynda, who was five at the time. Together they lived in Bishop, California and settled in Fortuna, California where Chuck retired from the California State Highway Dept. in 1979. He then spent 25 years working as a night watchman for Mills Logging, as well as washing dishes at the senior center, where he was honored for his services.
Chuck loved the High Sierra and Mammoth Mountains, camping, skiing and riding his old triumph motorcycle. He also enjoyed history, politics and was once a reserve sheriff for the Inyo and Mono Counties. He enjoyed volunteering everywhere he went and always did so with a smile. He loved dancing and could often be seen dancing with his daughter at Valley View Assisted Living, where he was the resident council president and had spent the last five years.
He is survived by his daughter, Lynda (Larry) Christensen of Canyon City; one granddaughter; and three great-grandchildren, all of the Seattle area.
To leave an online condolence for the family, please visit driskillmemorialchapel.com.
Paid for by the family of Charles Corwin
A Soldier Died Today
He was getting old and paunchy
and his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around at Valley View
telling stories of the past.
Of a war that he had fought in
and the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies;
they were heroes, every one.
And tho’ sometimes, to his
neighbors, his tales became a joke,
All his Valley View friends listened,
for they knew whereof he spoke.
But we’ll hear his tales no longer
for old Charlie C. passed away,
And the world’s a little poorer,
for a soldier died today.