Colleen Charles

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Colleen’s life began in Orofino, ID with its sparkling sidewalks and is ending in the golden light of heaven.  Our beautiful  Colleen was born March 23, 1924, to Jack and Margaret Griffin in Orofino, ID.  The family soon moved to Bossburg, WA.  She grew up in the rural setting learning to swim in the Columbia River along with her siblings and friends with no cell phones or I pads.  They created their own fun and games.  She completed grade school at the Bossburg Elementary and high school at Marcus High in Marcus, WA. She remembers being a ribbon winning high jumper.

After graduation she moved to Ellensburg where she lived with her Aunt and Uncle, Mr & Mrs Tracy King, and enrolled in Central Washington College.  Her parents and family moved to Ellensburg shortly afterwards.  Here she met her husband –to- be, Fred Charles, who was at the College for pilot training in the Army Air Force.  To support college she worked in the local corn cannery, beet fields and apple orchards.  She worked at J.C. Penney’s and as an usher at the theater.  She also worked at the Draft Board and enlisted her brother, John.

Boeing needed female workers in 1944 so she left school and moved to Seattle and was employed as an expeditor in Experimental Tool Production until the end of the war.  That qualified her to be a “Rosie the Riveter” and she is officially registered in Washington DC.  She made her family proud that she was among the first in the local Rosie organization and was the center fold month (July)in the original Rosie Calendar, which was published in 2008. When the war ended she was laid off and temporarily went to work for Bartell Drugs.  She was called back to Boeing and became a Lead Clerk in the Field Service Department.  Her soon to be husband, Fred Charles, returned from the War in the Pacific and they were married April 6, 1946.

Together, they raised two sons, Frederick (Ric) and Jon.  They established their home in the Upper Rainier Beach area and last year celebrated 66 years of marriage there.  Together, they enjoyed traveling, camping and going in their motor home, family gatherings, genealogy and dancing.  After volunteering with Head Start she was later employed by the Seattle Public Schools as an Instructional Aid in Special Education.  She retired in June, 1986.  She loved working with the Children.

She belonged to the Elizabeth H. Sackman Guild of the Children’s Orthopedic Hospital, the Boeing Blue Bills and volunteered with Special Olympics.  While doing genealogy she found ancestors in the American Revolutionary War and became a member of DAR, Rainier Chapter, where she served on various committees.  Colleen and Fred belonged to the Boeing Travel Club where they made lasting friendships and traveled extensively.

She is survived by her husband, Fred Charles, sons – Ric (Dawn) and Jon.  Grandchildren – Lacy Pages (Sergio), Amanda Charles, Katie Henderson (Tim), Tanner Charles, Danielle Gibson and Diana Gibson and seven great grandchildren.  Brothers and sisters  –  John Griffin and Darrell Griffin (Ellensburg), Ben Griffin( Fall City), Roger Griffin (Bellevue), Chery Griffin (Renton) and Fay Moss (Bill) of Renton, WA.  (She said she would beat her brothers at arm wrestling and they confirmed it.)  And many nieces and nephews who remember with love the many family traditions that began with her as the matriarch.


8 Responses to “Colleen Charles”

  • Amanda Charles says:

    Best Gram ever!! xoxoxo

  • Tessa Fuentes says:

    She was a wonderful woman. She was like a second grandmother to me and my brothers. Her memories remain and she will be greatly missed.

  • Anita Bowman says:

    She was a beautiful lady with a unique style. I am so blessed to have known her. I love you always.

  • Bill Walters says:

    I think I was five years old when Collen & Fred moved in next door. They were wonderful neighbors, great friends to both of my parents and to me. Colleen will be missed greatly and my condolences go out to Fred, Ric, Jon and to the entire Griffin family.

  • Taine Garrick says:

    I sent an earlier message but I guess you didn”t get it.
    I am already missing Colleen. I have no one left to call an talk it over with. She alwys had time to talk and if she didn”t she would always call you later. A good frien for sure. We had such good times raising our children together. I learned a lot from her. She being the oldest girl in her family and me being the youngest in our family, I had never been around children so she knew so much more than I did. Yes she was a very very good frien.

  • Taine Garrick says:

    I sent a note earlier so here I go again. I already miss Colleen. She was such a good friend. She was always there when I needed her. I learned so much from her. I had never been away from my family and I was so impressed how Fred and Colleen took us in
    and became such good friends and neighbors. They helped me from missing my family so much. She helped me raise my kids. I knew nothing about babies. I was so far away from home so I copied what colleen did.
    We had so much fun when we started our dinner get togethers. They were always so much fun. Colleen was good to my children. They always looked forward to going over to play. (I can stay 1/2 an hour), A wonderful woman

  • ingrid wiltse says:

    colleen, you were my inspiration … will never forget your grace and beauty…

  • Robin Lagergren says:

    Fred and colleen were my godparents,I wouldn’t be who I am today without them.I will love you always!

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