Charles's Story

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Charles C. Estes passed away on Monday, November 30, 2015. Charles was born on May 24, 1931 in Oklahoma City, Okla., to Frances and “O.P.” Estes. He graduated from Northeast High School in Oklahoma City, and received a Master’s degree in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he became a life-long Sooner fan. He married his high school sweetheart and love of his life, Betty VanAntwerp, in August 1955. He was commissioned a 1st Lieutenant in the United States Air Force, and assigned to Tachikawa Air Force Base in Japan. Upon his return to the states, he pursued his passion in photography. For more than 30 years his knowledge and enthusiasm for photography helped others make memories that would be treasured forever. Charley had a veritable plethora of interests and hobbies, and a remarkably diverse group of great friends. He was an excellent photographer, loved music, especially classical, and pursued his love of meteorology and astronomy. He kept track of the daily weather statistics for over 20 years and was a long-time member of the Oklahoma City Astronomy Club. He loved sports cars, particularly his Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite. He was the founding, and only member of the “Thank You Johnny Shafto” chapter of the Andy Griffith rerun watchers club. He was an avid reader, with an incredible enthusiasm for knowledge. He loved the Sherlock Holmes stories. Charley didn’t just read about a subject; if it interested him, he became devoted to it, learning all about it until he became an expert. He learned for the pure pleasure and joy of learning. Charley was a ham radio operator, knew Morse code, spoke French, and collected unusual and interesting pens. He enjoyed target shooting, spending time with his group of buddies “The Plinkers”, and rarely missed his weekly Wednesday lunch group. Charley loved animals. His backyard was certified as a national wildlife habitat, as he always loved to take care of and feed the birds. Above all, he loved his family and his greatest joy was spending time with them. Charley taught his daughters to love animals and appreciate nature, play poker and grow tomatoes, drive a stick shift, love Beethoven and stargaze. Charley, Betty, and his daughters Robin and Kerry took many family trips together to places like Colorado, Santa Fe, and Grand Canyon—the destination didn’t really matter, as long as he was with family. He truly enjoyed his trip to Rome. These special trips continued all through his life, and Charley considered these trips and the time he spent with his wife, daughters, and later his sons-in-law, to be a treasure. He knew every day was a gift, and never took that for granted. Every family birthday was a party, and every birthday for Charley was proclaimed “Chuckie Fest.” Family celebrations were productions, but just as special was any Sunday afternoon. Countless hours were spent with his family, often just sitting outside enjoying his backyard, or in the living room talking, or watching a football game. Charley already had many plans for the holidays and coming New Year, but God had a different plan for him. We are now left with loving memories of the dearest, kindest, and most wonderful husband, father, and friend we could ever have hoped for. While we are heartbroken beyond words, we are comforted in the fact he always knew how very much he was loved, and we always knew how very much he loved us. Charley was preceded in death by his parents, Frances Ollie McClean Estes and Judge “O.P.” Estes, and brothers Jack Estes and W.R. Estes. He is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Betty Estes; his daughter, Robin Glenn and her husband, Greg; his daughter Kerry Bayley and her husband, Norman; sisters-in-law Patty Empie, and Donna Matthews, nephew Rick Jack Estes; brother-in-law Wes VanAntwerp and wife Janice; grandchildren, great grandchildren, nephews and nieces; and his loving and independent cat, Angel, who still looks for him. A celebration of his life will be 2 p.m. Saturday, January 16, 2016, at First Christian Church chapel, 3700 North Walker, Oklahoma City, OK. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to OK Save-A-Dog Rescue, 990214 South 3580 Road, Prague, OK 74864.
Published on  January 5, 2016
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