Charles (Charlie) M. Gilbert, of Fairfield, Calif., passed away of natural causes on November 11, 2019, at Paradise Valley Estates, Fairfield, CA. He was 102. Charlie was born on August 31, 1917 in Florence, SC, and had what he always described as a wonderful boyhood in a loving family. A natural athlete, “playing ball” was his passion. He and his Florence High School basketball team twice won the state championship. He followed his older brother “BB” to college at The Citadel in Charleston, where he played on the baseball team and co-captained of basketball team, again winning the state championship. His nickname there was “Champ.” He graduated in 1939. As the US pre-pared for war he was selected as a candidate to be a US Army officer. Charlie assumed his first command in 1940. He made the Army a career, specializing in both artillery and logistics. Charlie spent the war in Hawaii, where he met Eleanor Gohl of Hillsborough, CA. They married in 1945. Three children followed. Charlie received an MBA from Harvard in 1951. He served in various commands, as well as staff to the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. He received an an ad-vanced business degree from Harvard in 1964. Charlie retired from the Army at the Presidio, San Francisco in 1966, and immediately joined the newly opened UC Santa Cruz campus as assistant business manager and then business manager. He was active in the Santa Cruz community, serving as president of Rotary and a director of the Chamber of Commerce. After retirement from UCSC in 1977, Charlie was the founding president of the UCSC Friends of the Long Marine Lab and the first lay chairman of the Dominican Hospital Foundation. Charlie gath-ered many good friends around him in Santa Cruz, many on the Pasatiempo Golf Course. In 2002 Charlie and Ellie moved to the Paradise Valley Estates retirement community in Fairfield, CA. Ellie passed away in 2007. At age 90 Charlie met Phyllis St. Louis; they married in 2009 and made a happy and wonderful life together.
Charlie believed in family, social engagement, and staying active. He was a positive influence in the lives of many. He found meaningful Christianity in recent years through his wife Phyllis.
Charlie is survived by his wife Phyllis; his children, Sue Thalman (Ron) of West Linn, OR, Chuck Gilbert (Ayse) of Anchorage, AK, and Ed Gilbert (Carolyn) of Soquel, CA; grandchildren Tadd Largent (Portland, OR), Lily Bostrom (Oakland, CA), and Otto Gilbert (Anchorage); and eleven nephews and nieces. Charlie is preceded in death by his mother and father, and brothers BB and Claude and sisters Eugenia and Lena, and wife Eleanor. A private service will be held in Santa Cruz and his ashes will be interred in the veterans area of the Santa Cruz Memorial Park.
Any donations can be made to the Dominican Hospital Foundation at or call 831-462-7712: or to Long Marine Lab/Seymour Marine Discovery Center at or call 800-933-SLUGS.

Posted in: Santa Cruz Sentinel

Posted on: 2019-11-18

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