He was 90 years of age and had suffered from Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinsonism. His one desire was that “everyone go to Heaven.”
Charles was a native of Bluefield, Va., and moved to Norfolk his senior year of high school, graduating from Granby in 1942. He attended the Norfolk Division of the College of William & Mary (1944) and won a scholarship to Julliard Music School.
While at Julliard, he was invited to spend four summers with the prestigious Chatauqua Opera Company, studying and performing with Metropolitan Opera singers. He toured the country with an opera company, performing in more than 36 operas. He sang in New York at Asti’s Restaurant, with Milton Berle, Arthur Godfrey, Fred Waring, Robert Shaw and many others. When he returned to Norfolk, he starred in The Confederacy, many musicals with Norfolk Little Theatre, Virginia Beach Little Theatre and Sandpiper Playhouse.
He retired from WTKR-TV after almost 30 years as producer-director and Production manager. He also directed many national events for Network TV, including Douglas MacArthur’s funeral.
For many years, Charles was the Singing Santa Claus at the Norfolk Sports Club, Princess Anne Country Club and Sandbridge, always sharing the true meaning of Christmas with those he entertained. This was one of the great joys of his life.
He was a member of the quartet at Freemason Street Baptist Church in Norfolk for 42 years and retired in 2006 as the baritone emeritus. Of all his endeavors, his tenure at Freemason Church was the most meaningful to him and he loved his church and all its members . He also sang for various civic organizations and for many other churches in the Hampton Roads area and enjoyed being a part of their services. He gave freely of his time and talent wherever there was a need.
He and his wife, Anne, moved to Williamsburg in 1985, and he enjoyed many years playing golf and making new friends. He embarked upon a second career as the Singing Mayor of San Marco at Busch Gardens (1986-1991) and loved singing Italian songs and entertaining the crowds.
Charles showed great courage and determination throughout his illness and continued to bless those he met. He loved everyone, and this is his greatest legacy.
He is survived by his devoted wife of 49 years, Anne; his sister, Eileen Foulkes, and his son, “Jay” of Virginia Beach.
A memorial service and committal in the Church Columbarium will be held at Freemason Street Baptist Church, 400 East Freemason Street, Norfolk, VA 23510 on Tuesday, December 1, at 11 a.m.; and a reception to honor him will be held at the Kingsmill Golf Club on Saturday, December 5, from 2 to 4 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to Freemason Street Baptist Church. Nelsen Funeral Home & Crematory is handling arrangements.
Special thanks to his loving caregivers, Cheryl Winston, Karen Fair, and the staff and nurses at Patriots Colony Convalescent Center where he had resided for the last 10 months and to Riverside Hospice Services for their many kindnesses and care.
Please leave online condolences for the family at Nelsen Funeral Home.
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