Charles F. Kissel

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 28, 2007

SMITHFIELD—Charles Francis “Chuck” Kissel died Sept. 23, 2007, when he lost his battle with pulmonary fibrosis.

Mr. Kissel would have been 73 Oct. 3, 2007. He grew up in Albany, N.Y., where he graduated from Roessleville High School. Most of the men in his family worked on the New York Central Railroad and he continued the family tradition as he started his career with the railroad after graduating from high school.

In 1953, he interrupted his career with the railroad as he joined the Air Force and was a member of the 375th Bomber Squadron based in Savannah, Ga. He liked to say that he fought the Korean War in Morocco where his squadron was based when out of the U.S.

After serving his country, he went back to the railroad where he worked his way up the ladder into management. He lived in Ohio and Indiana during his stint with the railroad. After many years on the railroad, he decided that it was time to move on to new experiences. At that time, he was living in Timberlake, Ohio. He worked for various companies in the Cleveland area including Edgely Air Conditioning and Murray Corporation.

In 1975, he met the love of his life, Dianne, and they married in 1980. In 1985, they moved to southeastern Virginia where they built their dream home, Pagan Creek Farm in Isle of Wight County.

His work in Virginia included running a family business and later, working at Busch Gardens as an electrician and maintenance supervisor. He retired in 2005, but continued to work part time rehabbing distressed properties. This work provided him the opportunity to utilize his many skills as he was truly a man of many talents. He loved to learn and he frequently took on projects requiring him to hone new skills.

Nothing stood in his way when he decided to pursue new goals. While living in Ohio, Chuck was very involved in the Chagrin Lagoons Yacht Club (CLYC). He served as an officer of the club for four years, two of which were as commodore. He was also a member of the Great Lakes Offshore Powerboat Racing Association (GLOPRA) and participated in many races with Tim Walters who owned the &uot;Martini Mist&uot; race boat.

Some of the happiest days of his life were spent at CLYC where he had many friends and enjoyed a very busy social life. It was one of his favorite places in the world.

Other organizations to which Chuck belonged included the Newport News Moose Lodge 1119 and the American Legion. He was also a Mason. Chuck was known for his love of life, nature and animals. He was a humble man and he was a friend to all. He exhibited respect and compassion for all living things. He saved animals, then took them in and cared for them and all were welcome. Grieving for their dad are the cats, Mikey, Oreo and Tarbaby; his dogs, Murphy, O’Reilly and Jack; and his horses, George, Abbey, Sprite and Babe.

Survivors include his wife of 27 years, Dianne S. Kissel; his mother-in-law, Joyce Brittingham of Newport News; his sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Carolyn and Ron Walkup of Williamsburg, Bonnie and Patrick Miller of Richmond and Dottie and Gary Edwards of Newport News; two nephews, Jonathan Lawrence of Mississippi and Hampton Massengill of Newport News; and two very special friends, John and Meg DeStefano. He will be missed by many friends for his keen sense of humor, his willingness to help whenever needed and for his kind and gentle nature.

On future dates, memorial services will be held in his honor at Pagan Creek Farm, his other favorite place in the world, and at CLYC in Eastlake, Ohio. Plans for his services are being finalized and will be published when complete. Arrangements are in the care of Colonial Funeral Home, Smithfield.