Weisgerber, Charles Henri, II, sailed away from this world’s dock at his home on July 21, 2010. He was predeceased by his parents Charles ‘Vexil’ Domus Weisgerber and Mora Souders Weisgerber, and his first wife of 31 years, Rubimae Leigh Johnson Weisgerber, and his brother Stuart Malon Weisgerber. Charlie is survived by his wife of 25 years, Janet Milton, his five sons, Kevin (Jane), Brian (Cathy), Todd, Erik, and Shawn (Penny), six grandchildren, and one great grandchild.
Charlie was born June 6, 1926, in Woodbury, N.J. His father, Vexil, was the curator of the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia, Pa., and was born in the Betsy Ross House in1902. Charles traveled with his father, a paymaster in the National Guard, to numerous military bases in New Jersey, Georgia, and Washington State.
Charlie graduated from Columbus High School, Columbus, Ga., and joined the Army Air Corp and was active from December 1945 to February 1947. He re-enlisted in the USAF Reserves and was stationed in North Africa serving in Cairo Egypt and Tripoli, Libya.
His post war studies included the college of South Jersey (Rutgers) and the Columbia Institute of Radio Broadcasters, which led to work at WNEX in Macon, GA., WCAM, and WCAU in Camden, N.J. Charlie was a host DJ of “Club 18” and other venues for teenagers and young adult’s dance parties broadcast live on the radio. He met entertainers such as Frankie Laine, Pattie Page, Vic Damone, Tex Ritter, Johnnie Ray, Eddie Fisher, Art Lund, Guy Mitchell, Perry Como, Mel Torme, and the Four Aces. He was the master of ceremonies at a benefit with Woody Hermand and the Herman Herd with guest singer, Frank Sinatra.
Charlie married Rubimae May 3, 1952, and they had five sons. He joined the National Cash Register Company as a salesman and worked with them for 18 years. His customers included the Army and Air Force Exchange .Upon moving to the corporate headquarters in Dayton, Ohio, he serviced the Navy and Marine commissaries accounts and was involved in other government retail systems. He helped to develop the lottery and para mutual machines and finished is his career with NCR as manager of the Des Moines, Ia., branch handling all statewide sales.
Charlie and Rubimae purchased their first Baskin Robbins franchise in Des Moines. After a few years they sold the first store and moved to Treasure Island, FL, purchased the Baskin Robbins franchise in Largo, FL, and later the Baskin Robbins store in Oakhurst, running the store with their sons. Rubimae died of cancer on November 1, 1983.
Charlie’s second phase of life began with the purchase of a 27’ Morgan sailboat “The Matchmaker” and his marriage to Janet Mary Milton on June 15, 1985. They enjoyed many trips together and many outings on the sailboat and later on the motor boat “Charlie’s Angels”.
Charlie’s civic work included the Chamber of Commerce of Largo, Seminole, Gulf Beaches, as well as Treasure Island. His other accomplishes included the following:
Area representative for the Florida Sailing Association
Instructor with the American Sailing Association
Volunteer for the Morgan Invasion
Member of the Masonic Order
Member of the Ye Mystic Krewe of Neptune
Veterans of Foreign Wars
Division Chairman of United Way
President of the Hotel/Motel Association, Treasure Island
Chairman, City Facilities Committee, Treasure Island
Canadian American Week
The Signature Bricks Walkway on Treasure Island Causeway
American Flag display on the power poles on beach roads and causeway
Restoration and donation to the State Museum of Pennsylvania of the
9’X13’ painting “Birth of Our Nation’s Flag” , artist C.H.Weisgerber, I, 1892.
American Flag Day Association
Betsy Ross House
Charlie passed at his Treasure Island home with his family. Services will be held at Bay Pines National Cemetery, 10000 Bay Pines Blvd, St Petersburg, FL, August 6, 2010 at 1:15pm followed by a Celebration of Life which will be held at the Treasure Island Tennis and Yacht Club, 400 Treasure Island Cswy, Treasure Island, FL from 3:00pm until 6:00pm.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Hospice of the Florida Suncoast, 5771 Roosevelt Blvd., Clearwater, FL 33760 in the memory of Charles H. Weisgerber.
A letter from the family to those attending the graveside service.
My name is Kevin Weisgerber. Thank you for coming to my father’s service. The support you show with your presence means a lot to my family and me.
Jan, I want to thank you for allowing me to be with you and Charlie during his final weeks. I want to thank you for being a great stepmother and accepting us five sons and our families into your life.
Mostly I want to thank you for giving Charlie a second chance at love, companionship and friendship. Louis told me that Charlie made you happy. I know the same was true with Charlie about you. Know that my brothers and I will still be but a phone call away.
To my brothers and sisters-in-law, as the sorrow of the loss of our father fades, take comfort in your memories, memories that will remind you of Charlie when you catch yourself saying or doing something the way Charlie did. Charlie would lend his advice as I raised my son, but would add that after sixty years, he was out of the child raising business. Now Charlie meant most of what he said as fact, but that statement not so much. He was never out of the child raising business. I wanted to share with everyone one of the last exchanges I had with Charlie. I was standing next to his bed and had laid my hands on his hands which he had often folded on his chest. Although Charlie really could not communicate with his voice or see or hear, he still felt and he took my hand, rearranging his hands and placed mine on his heart with his hands on top of mine. A simple gesture, but as he held my hand, I felt his sense of peace with no signs of discomfort or pain. Charlie was always looking for joy in life and it seemed to me he was still feeling this joy. Having experienced the joy of new life watching both my son and my granddaughter enter this world, I can say I was watching the joy of life leaving this world. Be assured Charlie is still happy.
I am sure many of you know this side of Charlie. He found great joy in meeting new people, getting new business cards and venturing into new activities. When you think of my father and remember his various contributions and his fundraising efforts, remember his smile and go-getter nature. I think Charlie believed that one needs to give to receive, that there are greater goals to strive for and that America is a great nation, a nation that although diverse, can be one nation, one people. He felt this same way about people around here also and that by connecting one another, great things can happen. I want to thank all of you again for coming. Thank you for being Charlie’s people. As he touched your lives, I challenge you to pass it on and touch someone else’s life. Charlie’s wish would be to live to love, embrace life and live it to the fullest. Thank you for coming. May you all be blessed and may Charlie rest in peace. Please join us in a celebration of life for Charlie at the Treasure Island Tennis and Yacht Club following the service.
A letter from the family to those attending the Celecbration at the Treasure Island Tennis and Yacht Club.
My name is Kevin Weisgerber, Charlie’s oldest son, but I must add I’m also a twin, so oldest but not by much.
I want to thank all of you for coming this afternoon to celebrate the life of Charles Henri Weisgerber II or Charlie or Charles or Chuck as he was known. The family has placed pictures on the rear tables of Charlie’s life. Please take a few minutes at some time this afternoon to look through them. The pictures span his childhood, WWII service, radio days, careers at the National Cash Register Company and the Baskin Robbins Stores, and involvement with local organizations. I am going to say a few words and after I finish I would like to open the microphone for anyone else who would care to make a comment or observation or tell a Charlie story. I am going to fill in a few years growing up and look forward to hearing other talks.
I want to first thank everyone that has helped to make this event possible. A special thanks to Bill Edwards and the Treasure Island Tennis and Yacht Club Staff. I would also like to thank the Hospice of the Sun Coast and the Veterans Funeral Care for their help and assistance.
Charlie was born June 6th, 1926 in Hadden Heights, New Jersey and grew up in the Camden, New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Jersey shore area. As a child he often participated in Flag Day, June 14th, festivities, as his father was both the curator of the American Flag House and Betsy Ross Memorial and was born in the Betsy Ross House. As a young teenager, he traveled with his father, who was in the National Guard, to various army bases in the U.S. Charlie graduated from high school in Columbus, Georgia. He went into the service in 1944, enlisting with his buddies, Bill Hambleton and Jimmy Horner. Bill could not be here today, but sent his best and a couple of stories. Charlie ended up in Cairo, Egypt and then Tripoli, Libya. After the war, he had some college and then went into a career as a radio disc jockey and married Rubimae Leigh Johnson, followed by careers with the National Cash Register Company and Baskin Robbins franchises.
Growing up with 5 boys in the household always meant many challenges. Our first house was in Merchantville, New Jersey in the Camden area. I have early memories of motor boat outings on Charlie’s first boat I remember, the Rubi Jean, a cabin cruiser that he owned with his brother Stuart. The yearly summer trips to Treasure Island to visit our grandparents had us near the water at an early age. My parents had us in swim programs at the YMCA, so I mention a photo you can see of Charlie and his 5 boys on a long board off the dock her in Treasure Island. You can see his eagerness for us to enjoy the water, at this point I need to issue a disclaimer and suggesting not to do this at home as 5 boys probably under 7 or 8 with no life vests would more than likely get you a citation for child endangerment!
In 1964 Charlie and Rubimae enrolled themselves and Brian, my twin, and I in a Scuba Diving Course. We secured our certificates at age 10. This led to family camping trips both to here in Treasure Island and in the Florida Keys at numerous underwater dive parks. Charlie taught us all to water ski in the finger water ways of Treasure Island, often pulling 2 or 3 boys behind the boat at high speed. These days that behavior will bring the ire of the neighborhood!
Growing up in the northern states meant changing seasons and to keep the boys occupied when there was snow on the ground, Charlie got the idea to tie ropes to the station wagon bumper and pull us through the neighborhood streets first on sleds and toboggans and later on snow skis, developing an early form of the modern day x-games.
Discipline often came to the household where it was inevitable that a behavioral incident or a case where something was broken occurred. Our mother would repeat maybe for the tenth time, “Wait till your father gets home.” But even as we got older and Charlie would return from a business trip with “the belts coming off,” the direction from our mother, and Charlie would instruct the guilty party to make sure and cry out loud enough as he took the belt and lashed the bed, making us promise not to do it again. I don’t want to paint too negative a picture for quite often we 5 did behave through schools and church and camps.
I was in college when the family moved to Florida. The Baskin Robbins store in Des Moines was sold and replaced with the Baskin Robbins in Largo and later the Oakhurst store was added.
With our mother’s passing in 1983, Charlie entered a new phase of life as a single man again. My wife’s family had planned a family cruise in 1984 and invited Charlie to join us for the week trip out of Tampa to Cozumel, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. On that trip I watched Charlie become re-invigorated with life, interacting with the family, crew and other shipmates. Still a Baskin Robbins man, he worked a deal with a Jamaican fellow trading his Baskin Robbins cap for what he swore to us all was a miniature ice cream scooper. Well, it was a spoon, but we kidded him about its use for years!
During this time in Charlie’s life, I would tell my friends in Virginia about my dad’s life living in a town called Treasure Island on an island called Paradise with a street called Dolphin Drive and a second chance at love with Janet Milton and the 27 foot Morgan Matchmaker. I’m not entirely sure of the sequence of whether he got the boat and then the girl or vice versa, but we sure are glad it happened. Charlie called with another tale out at sea with Jan on the Windjammer. I was left with a vision of a fifty-something year old in a toga, onboard on toga night, using the supplied hand tongs to check others for cheating. Charlie did like to try new things!
I think my brothers and I live a little of that feeling in our own blood, one of the inherited traits passed on. Up until his last year or so, Charlie could easily pass for 10, maybe 15, years younger than he was. His vitality and ability to be upbeat was enviable.
When he and Jan would visit my wife and me, Charlie would be up at 5:30 and down the driveway and into town for a paper and coffee, and maybe a new business card. He would be back at 6:30, read the paper and be ready at 7:30 to head out with me to a construction site. He enjoyed seeing the crew and swapping stories. He would jump right in to help with whatever work needed to be done. His trips north sometimes would include the Flag Day Events or Pennsylvania Society Luncheon. His five year effort to
get his grandfather’s painting restored and back on public display was in reality closer to a twenty-five year goal culminating with its debut showing at Political Fest 2000 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and then a permanent home with its donation to the State Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He was extremely proud of his family’s associating with the Betsy Ross House and his grandfather’s involvement in saving the American Flag House.
His cancer awareness party at his home coincided with a campaign he told me he was considering launching to change the meaning of the universal “South Jersey index finger salute” to the new meaning, “Did you get your prostate exam?” Thereby he could spread more cancer awareness. He said by his observations driving around town that it was really catching on!
Here in Treasure Island, as articles have attested, Charlie got involved in many of the month to month projects with his associations with the town councils, the hotel/motel association, various political campaigns and numerous magazines in and around the bay area. The sympathy cards sent to Jan and the family show the extent of the rounds, as he would call them, that he would make up and down the beach, usually dressed up, always with a smile on his face and almost always upbeat.
In reflecting and preparing for today, I thought maybe Charlie had 5 boys because it would take all of us to fill his shoes, but in reality we just can’t replace him. He’s just irreplaceable. We will miss him. And let me just finish by saying that at 55 myself, I don’t see anything wrong with a 50 something in a toga. I volunteer on three non-profits at home and so as Charlie would probably say, “May I have your business card in order to contact you in the future?” Thanks again for coming.