Charles F. “Charlie” Heald, 95, passed away April 19, 2018, at Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City, NM. He was born and raised in Del Norte, Colo., until he left in 1957, when he hired on with the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service on the Gila National Forest, where he was employed for 33 years and retired as the Civil Engineer Tech-Construction and Maintenance Crew — known as the C&M Crew — with a GS rating. He was very dedicated to his job and crew, who were his friends as well as “his crew.” His men all had great respect for him as a person, as well as their boss.
Charlie was born in Del Norte, Colo., in 1923 to George W. Heald and Lucille “Lucy” Rosenberg. He grew up knowing the farming and ranching life until he graduated from high school in Center, Colo., in 1941. He continued farming with his dad and on his own until 1943, when he was inducted into the U.S. Army, being honorably discharged in 1946. In the Army he served in the 89th Division, 563rd Field Artillery Battalion, also known as the Rolling W, in the European Theater of operations as a field lineman. In this position he established and maintained telephone communications systems from battalion command posts to lower and higher command echelons, laid telephone wires, connected wires to switchboards and installed telephones, as well as did troubleshooting and repaired open and short circuits. Following V-E Day he served with the MPs in dealing with the POW enclosures, liberation and occupation. After receiving his discharge, he met Maurine Rowe from Del Norte, Colo., on the same bus he was returning home on. They struck up a conversation and upon her graduation from high school in 1948, they were married in November of that year. Charlie completed four years of Institutional On The Farm training offered by Adams State College in Alamosa, Colo., under the GI Bill. Upon completion, he received a Certificate of Completion, after which he continued farming until 1957, when his college courses in ranch management qualified him to be hired on as C&M foreman with the U.S. Forest Service, which position he filled first in Reserve, N.M., and then Kingston and Silver City, NM, on the Gila National Forest, until 1990, upon his retirement. Charlie was very dedicated to his family and taught by example the importance of hard work, commitment, honesty and dedication. Although he did not express his feelings openly, his children knew they were loved and in turn were devoted to him. Any opportunity he had, he was fishing the lakes and streams in Colorado and New Mexico, as well as filling his elk and deer hunting licenses. One memorable fishing highlight was when his son, Chuck, took him on a guided fishing trip to Alaska in 2012, when he had the excitement of catching some of those big ones he so enjoyed catching.
He is survived by his loving wife of 69 years, Maurine; three children, Jonnie W. Heald (Terri) of Asotin, WA., Lucille “Lucy” Landis (David) of Perryton, TX, and Charles M. “Chuck” Heald of Del Norte, CO.; six grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. Also surviving are extended family and many friends he made during his lifetime. He was predeceased by his parents and all his brothers and sisters.
Cremation has taken place. To honor his memory, a military graveside Celebration of Life Service will be held at the Del Norte Cemetery in Del Norte, Colo., on July 28 at 4:00 PM, where his loved ones can bid him goodbye one last time. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you would consider giving to the NRA, as Charlie was a medaled expert marksman in the Army, and he truly loved his guns and the right to own them.