Charles Erling Arntsen died peacefully on Monday evening July 12 at Masonicare Hospice in Wallingford, CT surrounded by his children. Charlie was predeceased by Regina, his beloved wife of 72 years and mother to his seven children, in 2020. Charlie was born in New York City on March 13, 1926, and was raised in Washington, CT.
Charlie is survived by six of his seven children: sons Charles (Robin) of New Haven, CT, Peter (Linda) of Meriden, CT, Christopher (Christina) of Olathe, KS, David (Karen) of St. James, NC, Stephen (Susan) of Eastham, MA and daughter R. Christin McCracken of Leawood, KS. He was predeceased by a brother Leonard and daughter Cynthia Mary McCade of San Antonio, TX. In addition, Charlie had 24 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren.
Academically gifted, Charlie excelled at the Gunnery School (Washington, CT) winning a full scholarship and graduating in 1943. Charlie was accepted to Yale and attended one semester before enlisting in the Army Air Corps at age 17. The war brought him to the China Burma India (CBI) theatre of conflict where he served as a Morse Code operator. Charlie purportedly fired his weapon, just once, and that was to dispatch a Burmese cobra which had found refuge in his bed. Later when asked if he had ever been to Europe he would answer with a twinkle, "I've never been west of the Ganges."
Charlie returned to Yale in 1946 and in 1948 married the great love of his life Regina Vogt. By age 31, Charlie had been to war, graduated from Yale and was the proud father of seven children. He ensued on a banking career in New Haven and he and Regina settled into a large old house. He became adept at glazing windows, electrical wiring, and carpentry. His skillset and mettle were sorely tested by the original disrepair of the house and his borderline feral children. He persevered. His next home in Madison, CT would be a new one.
Charlie's banking career would lead he and Regina to the environs of Kansas City and then back to Connecticut. Upon retirement they settled in Jupiter Florida and enjoyed the warmth of the sun, new friends, and frequent visits by their now-adult brood. Charlie and Regina summered with son Stephen and his family on Cape Cod.
Charlie's interests were varied and often arcane which he delighted in sharing at the dinner table to the groans of his children. Charlie loved the country and would take his children hiking in Washington, CT. His picturesque hometown would forever occupy a special place in his heart which he passed onto his children and their children. Charlie and Regina would delight their grandchildren with strongly contested games of gin rummy. Charlie was also a gourmet who loved cooking holiday meals and gashouse eggs for breakfast. When Charlie cut his gashouse eggs, the angles had to be perfect. This, of course, became a reservoir for good-natured teasing. He was very fond of gardening and this, too, he has engendered in his children. He also loved singing and participated in several church choirs throughout his life. The operettas from Gilbert and Sullivan were high on his list of favorite things and he would sing these in the car to his children.
Charlie was a complicated man. The richness of his experiences which he shared with family will always be treasured.
Charlie's body is to be cremated. The family will hold a private memorial service at a future date.
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