Charles “Chuck” E. Church Sr., 92, of Black Lake, died at Otsego Memorial Hospital in Gaylord Sunday, December 17, 2023. The son of Maynard and Harriett (Carroll) Church, Charles was born in Oxford November 5, 1931. Chuck married Jewell Mercer in Flat Rock October 3, 1970. At the time of her death April 1, 2013, they had been blessed with 42 years of marriage.
Chuck retired in 1979 from General Motors Co. where he worked at the Fisher Body Plant Number One in Flint in the skilled trades as a diemaker. Upon retirement, Chuck and Jewell moved north to Hillman where they lived for 11 years before moving to Black Lake in 1990. Strong in his faith, Chuck was a longtime member of the Onaway United Methodist Church.
Proud and patriotic, Chuck served in U.S. Army during the Korean War. Stationed in Germany, he was honorably discharged in 1954. A lifetime member of George C. Garms Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 5857 in Onaway, Chuck rarely missed a post event. He marched in many parades, cooked Sunday breakfast at the post, worked the Fourth of July chicken barbecue, sold poppies, attended meetings, and served on the funeral detail providing military honors for countless fellow comrades. He was a devoted member who was always willing to help and generously volunteered his time. He was well-liked by all the members and had many good friends at the Onaway VFW.
An avid hunter and fisherman, Chuck’s greatest passion was the outdoors. Hunting and fishing were a tradition in his family as Chuck enjoyed these activities with his sons, grandsons, brothers and nephews. He enjoyed deer hunting during rifle season as well as bow hunting. He was a successful bear hunter, filling his tag on a hunt near Hillman. Chuck went on trips to Canada where he hunted moose and bear.
Chuck loved fishing equally as much as he enjoyed hunting. He fished Black Lake, Fletcher’s Pond, and Lake St. Clair, where he caught a sturgeon many years ago. He enjoyed ice fishing, spearing pike, and smelt dipping. There wasn’t a lake or river that Chuck wouldn’t fish or a time of year that he didn’t have some type of fishing that was enjoyable for him.
Chuck was a humble man who loved the outdoors. He was devoted to God, his country and his family. He was friendly, easygoing, and well-likedwith a little touch of stubbornness. Surviving is his son, Charles “Chuck” E. Church Jr. of Onaway; grandsons, Brendan Tippett and his family and Justen Tippett and his family, both of Florida; brothers, Bob of Chicago and Rick (Fran) of Millington; as well as nieces and nephews.
Chuck was preceded in death by his wife, Jewell; a son, Randy; a daughter, Darlene Tippett; a granddaughter, Sheila Church; a great-granddaughter, Meghan Tippett; sisters, Beryl “Sis” Ivancik and Joann; brothers, Ted and Craig “Bud” Church; and his little rescue dog, Babe, who was a good companion and fishing partner.
Visitation will be held at Chagnon Funeral Home today (Thursday, December 21) from 11 a.m. until the time of the funeral service beginning at 1 p.m. with military honors by Onaway VFW Post 5857. Elder Thelma Curtis will officiate. Interment will be in the spring at Hillman – Rust Cemetery. Those planning an expression of sympathy please consider a donation in memory of Chuck to Onaway George C. Garms VFW Post 5857.