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Edison Christian Life Services
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Life Story / Obituary
Intelligent, creative, and hard-working, Charles “Chuck” Ervan Jaquith lived a life rich in family and friends. Chuck was a talented creative whose love of learning, exploring, creating, and sharing inspired his love of teaching. With discipline and determination, Chuck embraced each day as a gift and every person as a friend. He was curious, enthusiastic, and eager to grow and encouraged others to be so as well. A devoted father, grandfather, teacher, mentor, and friend, Chuck will long be remembered and ever so missed.
Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, 1931 beheld a power of hope that undulated in the hearts of many. With a natural drive to not just endure but thrive in the face of uncertainty, the nation continued to put one foot in front of the other to build a better future. Nowhere was there a greater sense of hope than in Jackson, Michigan, as Harold Burgess and Eva Belle (Miller) Jaquith welcomed their son Charles to their family on June 10.
Chuck’s early years were built on the firm foundation of family values that included a strong faith life, excellent work ethics, and the importance of education. His mother, who was born on a farm in Saginaw, was a teacher. She began teaching in rural schools in Saginaw County before teaching in Big Rapids and eventually making a career in Jackson County, where she raised her four children. His father, who was born in Big Rapids, was a final inspector for Muskegon Motor Specialities in Jackson. He also sold Roseland Cemetery lots during the Depression and was a founding member of Loomis Park Baptist Church in Jackson, where the family explored and celebrated their faith for many years.
Along with his siblings, Marilyn, Phil, and Linford, Chuck enjoyed growing up in a neighborhood filled with many young families. When Chuck wasn’t enjoying a book, he could often be found outside playing neighborhood games. Family camping trips to many of Michigan’s State Parks, hunting, and fishing in Jackson County lakes inspired Chuck’s lifelong love of the outdoors, especially fishing. The family also made many trips around the state, visiting relatives and attending family reunions.
Chuck attended Jackson Public Schools, where he excelled in his studies. He was also an active Boy Scout. A talented writer, Chuck wrote the Boy Scout News for Camp Tee Tonka in Jackson County for his school newspaper. He even wrote the pageant for graduation. Chuck also worked as the equipment manager for several high school sports. With signature drive and discipline, he earned the Boy Scout rank of “Star,” was a senior patrol leader, a camp counselor for Boy Scout camp, and program director of Camp Westminster on Higgins Lake.
With a passion for the outdoors, Chuck was naturally drawn to the sciences. After graduating from Jackson High School with Regents Alumni Scholarship to the University of Michigan in 1949, Chuck began his formal studies in science and education. He graduated with his Bachelor of Science degree from U of M in 1953. A natural scholar, he soon returned to the university to further his studies, earning his Masters of Science in School Administration in 1953 and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction in 1973.
While an undergraduate at U of M, Chuck began dating the love of his life, Mary. Though they had attended the same high school, they did not date until they were both attending the university. Not only did Chuck and Mary share the same hometown, but they also shared a career path in education. Mary became an elementary and music teacher, while Chuck began his career teaching science, social studies, and English. After dating for three years, the couple married at Greenwood Park Evangelical Church in Jackson, Michigan, on August 29, 1953.
The newlyweds honeymooned in northern Michigan and were pleased to become parents on New Year’s Day, 1956, when their son, Stephen Charles, was born. Their family grew on July 22, 1959, with son Donald Bruce and was complete upon the birth of their daughter, Cheryl Lynn, on February 1, 1963. As a father, Chuck was traditional and conservative. His insistence on order, respect, discipline, and strong work ethics, were the ways he encouraged his children to do their best. He was a proud father who relished in his children’s accomplishments. He enjoyed sharing his love of nature with them and taking them fishing, camping, and sightseeing. Wonderful memories were made at the cottage on Littlefield Lake, exploring Wisconsin, traveling out west, taking trips to Florida, and touring the New England states.
As Chuck advanced in his career from classroom teacher to middle school principal, the family lived in many different places throughout the country. These included Saline, Michigan; Boron, California; Port Huron, MI; Kenosha, Wisconsin; Ann Arbor, Petoskey, Shepherd, and Grand Rapids, MI. After being a middle school principal for 17 years, Chuck became a professor at Central Michigan University, where he supported young people for 22 years. His position at CMU afforded him and Mary the opportunity to live in Southern England four times while taking Central Michigan Students there for study abroad. Chuck also sold real estate for five years. While in Europe, Chuck and Mary had the opportunity to travel to France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland. Switzerland proved his favorite country.
Throughout his career, Chuck continued to hone his writing. He wrote textbooks for CMU, pamphlets for the Maple Syrup Festival in Shepherd, wildlife and nature trail guides, memoirs, and nine full-length plays. Later in life, as head of the drama club at Covenant Village, he became well known for the 12 plays he produced. A voracious reader, Chuck enjoyed reading adventure stories, as well as anything to do with nature and history.
Chuck was a man of many interests, a lifelong learner who enjoyed being active. After retiring from his career, Chuck enjoyed the freedom to travel more often. Over the years, he took organized bus trips to the East Coast, New Orleans, Williamsburg, Washington D.C., New York City, the Boston area, Toronto, Alaska, and Hawaii. The favorite of these trips was the Alaskan cruise. In addition to his prized fishing equipment, books both antique and new, and Bible, Chuck enjoyed his computer graphics programs that helped him create hundreds of special cards and posters and continue to write his many stories and articles. He enjoyed listening to hymns and classical music, steaks on the grill, anything with jalapeno peppers, and his legendary chili.
Always quick to give of his time and talents in service of his community, Chuck was a member of the Lions Club for over 40 years. He also served on various church committees, helped with many church activities, was a member of Shepherd Historical Society, helped with the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival, and participated in a Lunch Bunch group in Shepherd. Chuck was best known in later years for his many creative cards and posters, program flyers, writing and producing dramas, and encouraging people to get involved in Covenant Village life from the moment he moved into the new Covenant Village of Great Lakes facility in 2003.
Without a doubt, it is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Chuck’s steadfast presence. May our many treasured memories and the honor of carrying his legacy forward provide deep comfort. With each challenge we meet with discipline and confidence, adventure we take, thoughtful card we send, walk in nature we enjoy, we celebrate the many ways Chuck gifted our lives. In this way, we keep his spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired us.
Charles Ervan Jaquith, age 90, of Grand Rapids, passed away on June 21, 2021. He was preceded in death by his brothers, Phillip and Linford Jaquith, and brother-in-law, Maurice Fry. Charles is survived by his wife, Mary; children, Stephen (Barbara) Jaquith, Donald Jaquith, and Cheryl (Jerry) Boros; 7 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; sister, Marilyn Fry; and brother-in-law, Thomas Detwyler. A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, July 31 at 2 PM in the chapel of Covenant Living of the Great Lakes, 2510 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to Edison Christian Life Services, 1000 Edison NW, or Covenant Living of the Great Lakes, 2510 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to read Charles’s life story, submit a favorite memory, photo or sign the guestbook online.