Memorial services are scheduled for 2 p.m., Tuesday, April 16, 2013, at LaGrone Funeral Chapel for Charles C. “Chuck” Correll, age 90, of Roswell, who passed away on April 13, 2013. Rev. Matt Brooks of First Baptist Church will officiate.
Chuck, beloved husband of Jessie Marie Cooper Correll and adored father of Donna Marie Correll Leahy, was born June 18, 1922, in Batavia, Iowa, to Stella Wilson and Charles Correll. He was raised on a farm by his maternal grandmother and grandfather Mom and Pop Wilson. Chuck attended a one-room school in Drakesville, Iowa, graduated from Hedrick Consolidated High School in 1940 and then enrolled in Chillicothe Business College where he learned the “art” of telegraphy. He also taught himself to play the alto saxophone and helped support himself by entertaining folks with his music. Thus began Chuck’s lifelong love affair with music.
Because of his skills in communicating through Morse code, he was recruited by the Atchinson, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway to move to New Mexico. (Stop – hum a little bit of the song). Chuck met the love of his life in 1941 while working in Melrose. He would meet that sweet, young girl every day after she got out of school and walk her home. He and Jessie Marie Cooper were married in Ft. Sumner on June 3, 1943. Thus began a love story spanning almost 70 years.
Since World War II was raging across the seas, Chuck found himself moved all around the state of New Mexico, utilizing his telegraph skills to expedite the movement of troops to their next destination. Chuck and Marie eventually settled in Artesia where they acquired their lifelong friends, Joe and Ginny Howell.
Chuck’s world was complete when Donna Marie entered their life. He wanted a little girl and boy, did he get one! She was, and still is, quite a handful!
Chuck was transferred to Pecos, Texas, in 1957, where he worked as the station manager at the depot there. He found various other ways to get income for his family, from pasting those huge glue-based posters on the sides of the REA trucks, to working at the cantaloupe shipping station (where we could buy huge paper sacks of PECOS cantaloupe for only a one dollar!)
Chuck, Marie and Donna were strongly entrenched in West Park Baptist Church in Pecos. He was the church treasurer, deacon and enthusiastic member of the choir. His slightly off-key tenor seems all the more precious now.
While living in Pecos, Chuck learned the specifically Texas game of 42. He honed his skills at Sunday night, after church, gatherings of friends.
Chuck also participated in various church sponsored musicals while in Pecos. One memorable skit showcased Chuck as “Old Time Cowboy Joe.” He was a huge hit. (Stop – hum a few bars of the song.)
In Pecos, he also developed his lifelong “obsession” with catching little swimming critters and turning them into the best fish fry you’ve ever tasted.
While in Pecos, Chuck joined the Lions Club, where he eventually became a 50-year member.
Much to the distress of daughter Donna, who was just entering high school in Pecos, the Corrells were transferred to Roswell in 1968. They joined First Baptist Church of Roswell and purchased their house on Forest Drive, where Chuck and Marie lived until health conditions necessitated the move to an assisted living establishment. Chuck joined with several members of First Baptist to develop the bus ministry which allowed Roswell children an opportunity to attend church and learn the meaning of Christianity. He influenced many young Roswellites through the ministry. One day while eating lunch, Marie was approached by a strapping young man who asked if she was Mrs. Correll. The young man identified himself as being a young bus rider and Mom immediately said John 3:16. It seems his home address was 316. He commented on what the bus ministry had meant to him and his sister.
Not to be slowed down one bit, Chuck transferred his membership in the Lions Club and enthusiastically participated in its yearly broom sale. Surely everyone in Roswell has purchased a broom from him at some point.
The move to Roswell allowed them to rekindle their friendship with the Howells, who by now lived in Ruidoso. Many trips ensued between Roswell and Ruidoso, where Joe Howell installed a permanent parking space for Chuck’s RV. The numerous fishing stories those two could tell got more colorful each time they were repeated. Easter at Ruidoso became an annual tradition where Chuck had to start making a map of where each egg was hidden because spoiled eggs don’t really smell very good.
After he retired from Santa Fe in 1987, with 47 years of faithful service, Chuck developed wanderlust and decided to see the country in his very own RV. He and Marie, mostly with the Howells, traveled the country, stopping at every creek, river and lake; searching for that perfect catch. A four-hour trip could easily turn into an all-day affair if Chuck and Joe happened to have fishing fever. The road trips became the scene of many rousing games of Texas 42, always the men against the women. Chuck’s team started wearing the hats “Mr. Always Right” and “Mr. Never Wrong” as an emblem of their perceived skill at the game. (The women mostly won.) When the RV broke down, they would set up the card table beside the road and play until much needed repairs arrived.
Chuck also decided to try his hand at gardening while living on Forest Drive. He set up a garden in the alley facing the Hondo River and had wonderful success at growing squash, tomatoes, okra, and cucumbers; which he gladly shared with his neighbors.
Chuck “adopted” the Howell grandchildren as his own and loved them as such. He developed a love of college basketball when the oldest grandson was accepted to play basketball at Duke University, in one instance traveling via RV to watch a game at Cameron Hall. He even met Coach “K.” What a treat!
After an unexpected gift of a computer, Chuck immersed himself in learning how to use it. At one point he started a friendship with a fellow music buff in Australia and would trade songs and techniques back and forth with his far-away friend.
After retirement, Chuck spent many, many long hours practicing his “horn.” Sometimes Marie would have to ban him to the bedroom (door closed) when he became too enthusiastic. He could always move into a rousing rendition of “Turkey in the Straw,” no matter what. (Stop – hum a few bars.)
Unfortunately, during his final years, Chuck developed Alzheimer’s, a horrible, debilitating disease. As he lost memory of friends and family, he continued to show love and gratitude for the help he received as the disease progressed. His family sends sincere thanks to all those who participated in his care: Julie Adams, Susan Gibson, Josie, Patricia, Amanda and Rose; as well as the wonderful, caring people from Vista Care and La Villa. You have truly been our angels throughout this process and have earned your own special stars in Heaven.
Chuck is survived by his beloved wife Jessie Marie Correll and adoring daughter Donna Correll Leahy. He is also survived by his son-in-law Brian Leahy of Spring, Texas, and god- daughter JoAnn Howell Domzalski and family of the heart Virginia Howell, Jerry Domzalski and Don and Diane Howell and their families, who always had a special place in his love and affection. In addition, Chuck leaves behind nephews Ron (Rena) Cooper and Leon (Joan) Cooper of Albuquerque, great-niece Linda (Jim) Russell of Portales, great-great-nephew Jeremy Russell of Portales, cousin Nancy Lucas of Missouri and numerous nieces and nephews throughout New Mexico.
Special, special thanks to our two angels on Forest Drive – Howard and Betty Hicks. We could not have done it without you.
The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, a donation be made in Chuck’s honor to the Alzheimer’s Association or your favorite charity.
Daddy is in the arms of God, no longer suffering. He is at peace.
Condolences can be made online at lagronefuneralchapels.com.
Arrangements are under the personal directions of the professionals at LaGrone Funeral Chapel.