ORONO - Charles Newton "Chuck" Meier, 86, born September 9, 1928, in White Lake, South Dakota at the onset of the Great Depression, devoted husband, loving father and grandfather, died peacefully of natural causes on January 29 at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, Maine, surrounded by loving family members.
Chuck is preceded in death by his father Carl, his mother Beulah (nee Blattler), and all seven brothers and sisters Karl Meier, Kermit Meier, Betty Coleman, Paul Meier, James Meier, Lois Hale, and Orlyn Meier. Lately referring to himself as "the last leaf on the tree," he is survived by his wife Helen and his three children and their spouses: son Steven Meier and wife Roberta Meier of River Forest, Illinois; daughter Nancy Connor and husband Jody Connor of Old Town, Maine; and son Douglas Meier and wife Mary Meier of Truckee, California. Chuck is also survived by grandchildren Anne Connor, Nicholas Meier, Mariel Brown (and her spouse Ivan Brown and children Jonathan and Russell), Danielle Meier, Henry Meier, Stefan Meier, and Walter Meier.
Chuck was immensely proud of the close family bonds developed during a hardscrabble childhood on the South Dakota prairie ("we did not know we were poor"), and the lessons of perseverance, integrity, and self-reliance that he learned, carried forward, and passed on to his children.
After graduating from White Lake High School in 1946, Chuck enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served in Virginia, Omaha, and finally Point Barrow, Alaska. In 1949, Chuck enrolled in the University of South Dakota, on the G.I. Bill. It was there he met the love of his life and wife of 62 years, Helen Jane Dahlman of Vermillion, South Dakota. Newlyweds Chuck and Helen moved to Brookings, South Dakota, where Chuck earned his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from South Dakota State University in 1953.
Following an on-campus interview with the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Chuck joined that firm at its headquarters in Akron, Ohio as a chemical engineer, and Chuck and Helen settled down in nearby Stow, Ohio to raise their family.
In his 35-year career at Goodyear, Chuck earned several patents in compound engineering before moving on to managing people and directing programs at the company's corporate headquarters. In 1970 he accepted an assignment in Luxembourg as manager of product development, which required relocating his family overseas. He then returned to Akron to run the tire test division and the farm and agricultural tire programs.
Chuck retired from Goodyear in 1988, but he did not exactly retire. Chuck turned his inquiring mind to genealogy, thoroughly researching and documenting his family's history, became active in the local Lutheran church, and dedicated himself to public service.
Convinced that "a persons' life is not complete until he has given something of himself to the service of his community and of his neighbors and friends," Chuck served six terms as councilman on the Stow City Council.
Recently, in 2011, Chuck and Helen relocated from northern Ohio to Dirigo Pines Retirement Community in Orono, to be close to family.
Throughout his life Chuck maintained an engaging sense of humor, and a love of travel, reading, history, discourse, and debate. He was an active Republican, an occasional golfer, and, perhaps most of all, a singer. His love for music and song was instilled early in life. A talented tenor, Chuck enjoyed singing in church choirs, in barbershop quartets, at family events, or at the slightest provocation. His life's song remains with us always.
Relatives and friends are welcome to call 4-6 pm Wednesday, February 4 at Brookings-Smith, 133 Center Street, Bangor. A funeral service will be held 2pm Thursday, February 5 at Redeemer Lutheran Church on 540 Essex Street in Bangor. Interment will take place this spring, in Vermillion, South Dakota, date to be determined. Those who wish to remember Charles, who suffered from severely impaired eyesight in his later years, can make a donation to The Iris Network, c/o Contributions Office, 189 Park Avenue, Portland, ME 04102 (www.theiris.org).