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Charles Thomas Chandler, 86, died Tuesday, April 2, 2020, at St. Mark’s Medical Center, La Grange, following an extended illness.

He is survived by his wife Retta Slavik Chandler of La Grange; a daughter, Susan Chandler of Temple; a son, Ken Chandler of Cleburne and his wife Lisa Chandler; and seven grandchildren, Grace Anne Wilhelm, Lauren Wilhelm Paunescu and her husband Cris Puanescu, Marie Wilhelm and Sarah Wilhelm, Anna Chandler, Bridget Chandler and Ben Chandler.

Charles T. Chandler was born on Sept. 15, 1933, in Cameron, to Katherine Underwood Chandler and James Guy Chandler. He had one older brother, Guy Edward Chandler.

Charles Chandler attended Cameron public schools and was a varsity football player at Yoe High School, graduating in 1952.

He served in the military during the Korean conflict. After completing training in the Topographical Engineering Corps at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, he was stationed in Frankfurt, Germany until the completion of his service. After service, he attended Arlington State College, which at the time was part of the Texas A&M University system, but now is the University of Texas at Arlington. He completed an associate of arts degree at Temple Junior College in Temple, Texas.

He married Retta Slavik, also of Cameron, on Nov. 21, 1956, at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church at Marak.

Charles managed the family businesses, including Chandler Paint Company in Austin and Cameron Lumber Company in Cameron for 14 years. He worked as a purchasing agent for Yowell Lumber Company in Killeen and at lumber yards in Waco, DeSoto and Duncanville. He was a staff claims adjuster for RVOS Farm Mutual Insurance Company and retired from there after ten years. He then worked as an independent adjuster for two storm seasons. During the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, he worked for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in declared disaster areas.

While living in Cameron as a business owner, he was involved in the community in the Chamber of Commerce and the Lions Club and served as president of the Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees).

Charles enjoyed large and small building projects. He built a custom home in DeSoto, in which he and Retta lived for many years. He designed the house with a special foundation to withstand time and heavy storms, as well as a beautiful marble fireplace.  He enjoyed landscape design and was an avid gardener. For a number of years, he pursued the model train hobby and built elaborate track layouts. He was also a talented artist, although he rarely painted.

Charles loved to explore and travel. He took the family on weekend and day trips to every corner of Texas. Later the family traveled from coast to coast in the summer. He and Retta continued to travel for the rest of his life, including to his ancestral village in England as well as the Czech Republic.

Although he was not Czech, Charles participated in the Czech community. He and Retta enjoyed dancing at the historic dance halls around Texas. For several decades, while living in the Dallas area, he and Retta spent the majority of their time in La Grange, building the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center.

Charles was a family man who put his wife first and worked hard his entire life. He loved order and was particular about doing things well. Whatever he put his hands to do, he completed with quality and excellence.

Due to the current pandemic, memorial services are pending. A private committal service of burial will be held at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Cemetery in Marak.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center, P.O. Box 6, La Grange, Texas 78945.


The Cameron Herald

The Cameron Herald
P.O. Box 1230
Cameron, Texas 76520

Phone: 254-697-6671
Fax: 254-697-4902