John Charles, a resident of Mount Shasta for nearly 40 years, passed away after a short illness in the hospital in Medford, Oregon, on April 15, 2021. Born in Redding on August 25, 1942, his family moved to Dunsmuir when he was in the third grade, where he met his lifelong friends and Nikki Edson, a Dunsmuir native and the love of his life who would become his wife on July 10, 1966.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in history and his teaching credential from Sacramento State University, then returned to Northern California to teach grammar school in Castella. After two years of “parents” he joined the Forest Service and spent three years fighting fires throughout the western States. Although he and Nikki enjoyed the rugged lifestyle the job brought, their son was nearing school age and a gentrified job was needed, so he applied for and was accepted to the California Highway Patrol academy where he graduated first in his class. He went on to become a decorated officer serving for almost thirty years before retiring from the Mount Shasta Office.
An avid reader, historian, mountaineer, and skier, he is described by his family as a true “renaissance man.” He hiked, fished and hunted throughout the North State but had a special place in his heart for Mount Shasta, which he summited over a hundred times, beginning in his youth as a Cub Scout and continuing well into his 60s.
He was preceded in death almost five years ago by his wife, Nikki Charles, due to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). He was involved in her care during the long period of time she was undiagnosed but experiencing difficult symptoms. He is survived by his son, daughter-in-law, granddaughter, two great- grandsons, three sisters, brother, and his mother, who turned 101 years old last month.
His family and friends remember him as quiet, unassuming, a good listener, and someone who sincerely cared for those around him – “a good ear and a great heart.” He always reminded those around him to “enjoy what you’re doing” and tasked his family and friends to “smile every day.” He will be greatly missed.
A wake will be scheduled at a later time, but no other services will be held at his request.
Memorial contributions may be made to the ALS Association.
Posted online on April 28, 2021