Thursday, September 3, 2020
11:00 AM EDT
Basilica of St. Adalbert
654 Davis NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
GrGRUSBC in care of Charles Orlikowski, Youth Bowling Scholarship
2405-A Porter SW
Wyoming, MI 49519
Life Story / Obituary
With a serving heart and a taste for only the best, Charles "Chuck" Richard Orlikowski lived a rich life. Never one to demand the spotlight, Chuck was content to work hard, play hard, and freely gave of his time and talents. Although not one to talk a lot, he was a terrific storyteller with a dry sense of humor, and his greatest pleasure was knowing his efforts ensured other's good times. Revered by many, Chuck will long be remembered and ever so missed.
Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, the power of hope 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 more hope than in the home of Charles Walter and Sophia (Zoe) Orlikowski as they welcomed their son, Chuck, into their family on March 12, 1933, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The oldest of the Orlikowski boys, Chuck grew up in the good company of his younger brothers, John, Tom, and George, on the northwest side of Grand Rapids. Many wonderful memories were made at the family's cottage on Camp Lake, where the boys did a lot of waterskiing in the summer. They weren't simple leisure skiers, but rather skilled trick skiers; they even had a ski jump. They worked hard and played hard.
After completing his first years of school at St. Anthonys’, Chuck attended military school for a year. He later returned to Grand Rapids and graduated from Catholic Central High School with the class of 1951. Following graduation, Chuck enlisted in the U.S. Army. Though he served for a short time in Korea, he arrived there near the end of the war and saw no combat.
In 1953 Chuck's parents built the Clique Lanes, a bi-level 16 lane bowling center located on Grand Rapids west side. The business became an important part of Chuck's life as well. Upon safely returning from his service in the Army, Chuck began working at the bowling alley. Though not naturally talkative or outgoing, Chuck was a different person at work. Knowing that customer service was critical for the success of the business, he was personable and committed to everyone having a good time. He organized leagues, continued the tradition of the Peterson Classic, organized end of season Casino trips and ran the alley for many years. He often worked late into the night, earning him the nickname, "Night-time Charlie."
Chuck also studied engineering at Aquinas for a time after returning home from the Army. Eventually, he found work as a draftsman. For many years, he worked at Grand Rapids Metalcraft and Lescoa.
He married Sally in 1956 and the newlyweds started their marriage in an apartment behind the Clique. They then moved to a home on Oswego before settling in the home on Maynard.
Chuck and Sally were blessed with four children; Carol, Kathy, Tony and Craig. Summer weekends were spent at his parents' cottage with his children and extended family. There, the traditions of summer water sports and wintertime snowmobiling continued with relish. Though strict, Chuck never raised his voice, and he was often the "fun uncle" who always looked for ways to wow and entertain the kids. Epic trips to Tiger Stadium, camping in Ironwood, and a train ride out of Grand Rapids were some of the awesome adventures Chuck created. Though Chuck and Sally's marriage eventually ended in divorce, he still did his best to provide for the kids.
Years passed, and eventually Chuck was blessed to meet Margie. The pair were a wonderful match for one another, and their marriage was filled with adventure! They enjoyed spending time together on their boat, the "Aposia," which they docked at Grand Isle Marina and traveled often. With hopes of having even more time for travel, they eventually sold the boat. Unfortunately, Margie passed away shortly thereafter.
His kids fondly recalled that he was a man with champagne taste and a beer budget. He thoroughly enjoyed the finer things in life and would splurge to show others a good time. He possessed a love for fine food and enjoyed going out to eat. Tillman's, Charlie's Crab, and in the old days, Duba's were some of his favorite restaurants. Chuck also enjoyed opening his home to family gatherings and was a terrific host. He particularly enjoyed cooking breakfast and welcomed any time he could to create a meal for his family. Chuck also enjoyed a good game of cards. Bridge, Blackjack, Solitaire, and Cribbage were just some of his favorites. During his leisure, he enjoyed reading his boating magazine, Consumer Reports, and watching sports on TV. He was also fond of his extensive coin collection, which was a pure reflection of his excellent organizational skills. Whether tending to excellent customer service or planning a memorable trip to visit his daughter and her family in England, Chuck always looked for ways to create great experiences and treasured memories for those he loved.
Without a doubt, it is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Chuck's steadfast presence. May we find comfort in our cherished memories of the fine man we were privileged to know. May we also be comforted by the knowledge that we carry the best of his legacy forward in our own lives, and that each time we share these gifts, we keep his spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired us.
Charles R. (Chuck) Orlikowski, age 87, passed away peacefully at his home on August 24, 2020. He was preceded in death by his parents Charles and Zoe; brother John; and wife Marjory. Chuck is survived by his children: Carol Orlikowski, Kathy & Jeff DeBest, Charles “Tony” & Maureen Orlikowski, and Craig Orlikowski; grandchildren RaeAnne, Dana and Jenna DeBest, Aiden Orlikowski; great grandson Landon DeBest; brothers Tom and George Orlikowski; many close nieces and nephews and his beloved cat Simba. Chuck loved bowling and his family. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, September 3 at 11 AM at the Basilica of St. Adalbert. For those who wish, donations in Chuck’s memory may be made to GrGRUSBC in care of Charles Orlikowski, Youth Bowling Scholarship. A special thanks to his brother Tom, who did so much for our dad. To read more about Chuck’s life, to share a favorite memory or photo, or to sign his guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com