Charles J. Gafner

Resided in Escanaba, MI
Died April 12th, 2017

Charles “Charlie” J. Gafner, 88, passed away Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at Bishop Noa Home following a lengthy illness with cancer.

He was born on March 29, 1929, in Escanaba, MI, son of Charles and Beatrice (Bernier) Gafner. He graduated from St Joseph’s High School and attended Northern Michigan University.

On October 2, 1948, Charlie married Patricia Willette in Gladstone MI. She preceded him in death on January 31, 2017.

He served in the Air Force as a Staff Sargent and radar instructor from 1948 until his honorable discharge in 1952.

Charlie started working for Red Owl Foods in 1952, with his career lasting 35 years. He was an assistant manager in Appleton WI, manager at the Ironwood, Menominee, and Escanaba stores, then a district manager for the franchise stores in the U.P. and Upper Wisconsin.

He loved rabbit and deer hunting, watching sports on TV, especially the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Red Wings, golfing in his younger years and spending time at his beloved camp in Cornell. He also loved watching high school sports, especially girls softball and basketball. He played fast pitch softball as a catcher for several years in Ironwood, Menominee, and Escanaba, playing for over 30 years total in many different states.

Charlie was a member of the Elks and Knights of Columbus. In his younger years he was involved in the Kiwanis and Lions Club.

Among the survivors include his children, M. Lynn (Jim) Soderberg, Edward (Christine) Gafner, David Gafner, Karen (Mark) Gardipee, Paula (Ron) Kreiter, Laura Richards, Peter (Debra) Gafner, James (Christine) Gafner; grandchildren, Melissa (Bill) McBerkowitz, Trisha (Tom Bissell) Miller, Craig (Amy) Miller, Steven (Patty) Miller, Megan Soderberg, Scott (Tina) Gafner, Erick (Briony) Gafner, Adam (Amber) Gafner, Erin (Eric) Hiddema, Erica (Christian) Picard, Jonathon (Marissa) Rolig, Ryan Kreiter, Patricia Kreiter, Daniel Kapalin, Andrew Kapalin, Sara Kapalin, Katrina Gafner, Peter Gafner II, Allysa Rogers and Sydney Gafner, Kyle Wendt and Sara Wendt; 24 great grandchildren; sisters in law, Suzanne (John) Chansler and Mary Carrington; cousins, Tom Gafner, Beverly Peterson, Jim Gafner, and Phyllis Neven; 13 nieces and nephews.

In addition to his wife, Patricia, Charlie was preceded in death by his parents.

Visitation will be Monday April 17th from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm at the Crawford Funeral Home in Escanaba. Veteran services will begin at 3:00 pm. The Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 5 p.m. at St. Joseph and St. Patrick Church with Rev. Eric Olson officiating. A luncheon will follow in the church hall.

Entombment will take place in Gardens of Rest Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Holy Name School or The Honor Flight. Envelopes will be available at the funeral home.

The Crawford Funeral Homes are assisting the Gafner family.

3 Tributes to “Charles J. Gafner”

  1. Don and Charlie became friends when they were 20 years old and in the Air Force together. They teamed up with another “buddy” named Lennie “Duke” LeDoux. After many years of not seeing each other, they connected again in Fl. The yearly visits were always a fun time. The “war stories” would get more elaborate every year. We have missed seeing Pat and Charlie but know that now they are together again and in peace. They not only had a large family but a large number of friends and were very much loved. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

  2. I want to say a BIG thank you to my Grandparents for being an example that I wish all could experience. For showing up unannounced at 5am every day during the Summer to pick me up to work at Grandmas. I hated it then, yet thank you today because it taught me to be a provider for my family. For being at every event that I can remember in my life. Whether convenient or not, you showed up. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of that lasting impact. And finally for your honesty. You never sugar coated giving me a kick in the ass when needed. Everybody needs that. It will be a while before we meet again, but the Charlie and Pat story will continue in my home forever.

    Your favorite Grandson Adam

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