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Charles H. GaffeneyJuly 22, 1924 ~ May 13, 2017 (age 92)
“The Haich is for Henry.” Charles Henry Gaffeney was born July 22, 1924, the first son of Henry and Helen.
Charlie’s booming laughter and twinkle of the eye were a fitting example of the Irish heritage and positive attitude that kept him going for so long. He and his brother Thomas (Tommy) were devoted to their mother, an Irish beauty who became a widow during the Great Depression. Mother and sons lived in a humble apartment, and later Charlie bought a duplex in Red Bank, New Jersey, taking in renters and holding fast to that unflappable Irish spirit of survival and resilience.
He graduated from Red Bank Catholic High School and entered the Army at the onset of WW II. His efforts on the European front earned him military honors and medals, his greatest achievement being his participation in the Battle of the Bulge. Blessed with the Irish “gift of gab,” and having kissed the Blarney stone, he would recount that fateful day when he landed with hundreds of soldiers on the shores of France to help liberate Europe from the horrors of Hitler’s tyranny. Then he’d show you his hats, the ones with “Battle of the Bulge Veteran” and “WW II Veteran” written on them.
Charlie returned from combat and attended Catholic University in Washington, D.C., earning a degree in architecture. His steadfast loyalty - another Irish trait, no? - and intelligence - yet another - earned him job security and helped him climb the ladder to success. He worked for the DuPont Company until his retirement.
Charlie moved in with his Aunt, Margaret Sweeney Haupt in Wilmington after her husband died. He kept “Aunt Margaret” good company for many years, enjoyed visits from his cousins and extended family, and often tinkered with his Ham radio. But the greatest interest that carried him through his golden years was his airplane. He built one of his own at the Newgarten Airfield, earning the nickname, “Sky Chuck,” which he also named his plane. He also looked forward to the monthly meetings at the Irish Culture Club, the retired men’s luncheons, and was a parishioner of St. Helena’s Catholic Church. As his health declined, he moved to Shipley Manor in Wilmington, where he enjoyed the company of its staff and residents. The family is grateful for their care.
Charlie is survived by cousins, Margaret Labate (Phil Pergolizzi), Mary Anne Anderson (Ames), Patricia Dolan, Ann Vandenbord, and John Picone.
Calling hours for Charlie will be held at the Doherty Funeral Home, 3200 Limestone Road, Pike Creek on Tuesday, May 16 from 5:00-7:00PM. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Helena Roman Catholic Church, 602 Philadelphia Pike, Wilmington on Wednesday, May 17 at 10:00AM. Interment will follow in Cathedral Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Charlie may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, PO Box 758516, Topeka, Kansas 66675-8516 (www.woundedwarriorproject.org).
“May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”
Mary Anne Anderson, cousin
Wounded Warrior Project
PO Box 758517, Topeka KS 66675