Charles DeSander, Sr

Dec 17th 1938 - Oct 5th 2012

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It takes a special person to go out of their way to make someone happy, and receiving joy by making others laugh and smile was all Chuck DeSander needed to make his day. He had a great sense of humor, and loved any type of mischief involved along the way. He was a hard worker, and taught his children well about the important things in life. Above all, Chuck loved his family, and will be deeply missed.

Just as the U.S. was slowly emerging from the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt helped strengthen the economy with the establishment of the minimum wage law in 1938. The sounds of Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald, and the Andrews Sisters filled the airwaves, while Superman made his debut in the comic strips. With much anticipation, new life filled the hearts of Emiel and Tracy (Felt) DeSander of Saginaw, Michigan with the birth of their son, Charles, born on December 17, 1938

At the age of five, young Charles moved to Riverside, California with his mother when his parents divorced. Charles was the oldest of eight children. From an early age, he knew the importance of family. He helped raise his younger siblings, made them breakfast most mornings, and even potty trained a few of the younger ones. Chuck was a responsible big brother with whom his brothers and sisters could rely. To him, the needs of his family came before all.

Life in Riverside was good for Chuck. Always a talkative fellow, he made friends easily, and it was a trait he carried throughout his life. During his youth he found his share of mischief, which also carried through to his adulthood. He liked making others laugh, and was pretty quick with a joke. Chuck attended the local schools and during high school he was a very good athlete. He lettered in football, basketball, track, and loved boxing, too.

Chuck remained in Riverside with his family until the age of 19 when he returned to his home state of Michigan. It was a big move for such a young man, but he felt drawn to return to the place of his birth. In time, his move would prove to be beneficial in more ways than one.

Chuck met a pretty young girl named Emojune Vandegriff who captured his heart from the start. Since he was older, he waited until after she graduated from high school to begin a dating relationship with Emojune, to whom he would pledge his love. He proposed at Christmastime by giving her a cookbook, and placed a beautiful engagement ring on her finger. Having shared vows of marriage on May 14, 1966 in Lansing, the happy couple was well on their way to making a good life together.

Emojune was the love of Chuck's life and he loved surprising her with flowers. Before long they were blessed with a family of their own when Theresa, Chuck, and Tricia came along. His early beginnings continued to be at the center of Chuck's heart, and family remained at the center of his life. As a family they were members of St. Joseph Catholic Church of St. Johns. He was a stern father, but very loving just the same. With a desire to see his children receive a good education, he made sure their studies were a priority. Chuck had a special understanding of kids, and even took in troubled youth, trying to help any way he knew how.

With a strong work ethic, Chuck supported his family through his job with GM and enjoyed raising game chickens. For years he served as president for the Michigan Game Fowl Breeders Association. He was also a member of U.A.W. Post #652, and a mentor through the Clinton County Boys Club. Never one to sit on the sidelines, he became an active part of his children's lives. He coached youth softball, was a Cub Scout Master, and served as coach with the Clinton County Boxing Club. Chuck once again became involved in boxing in 1978 when he began running the St. Johns Boxing program. He did so until 1989, and in 1992 his son, Chuck, Jr. took over the program.

Along with Chuck’s many talents, he also learned to make moonshine. He was doing quite well for several years . . . until the FBI came and ceased his operation. This experience really scared Chuck as he knew he could lose everything he had worked for. Following a few large fines and having his car confiscated, he moved on to more legitimate enterprises!

After 31 dedicated years working for GM, Chuck retired. He and Emojune enjoyed traveling during this time, and ventured to destinations such as California, Hawaii, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Over the years, Chuck and Emojune enjoyed dinners together with their family and spending time with the grandchildren they adored. He loved taking them to school whenever he could.

In 2008, Chuck began having health problems and over the months that followed he steadily declined. Sadly, at the age of 73, Charles A. "Chuck" DeSander, Sr. went to be with the Lord on Friday, October 5, 2012. Gone but never to be forgotten, his memory will live on in the hearts of all who knew and loved him.

Chuck is survived by his wife, Emojune; his children, Theresa (Chad) Thompson, Chuck (Michelle) DeSander Jr., and Tricia (Kris) Cooper; grandchildren, Makenzy, Jaden and Haden Thompson, Mehgan, Hunter, and Seneca DeSander, Brian and Mason Paksi, Hailey, Meadow, and Sydney Cooper; a sister, Florine Ingwersen; his brothers, Billy Collison, Emiel DeSander, Jr., as well as many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, mother and stepfather, Forrest and Tracy Ingwersen; sister, Cookie Thornburg; an aunt, Magdalena Spak; and father-in-law, Chester Vandegriff.

Chuck's family will receive friends Monday, October 8, 2012 from 2-4 and 6-8 PM with the Rosary being prayed at 3:00 PM and a vigil service at 7:00 PM at the Osgood Funeral Home in St. Johns. His funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:00 AM, Tuesday, October 9, 2012 with Fr. Michael Williams presiding at St. Joseph Catholic Church in St. Johns. Memorial donations may be made to the Clinton County Boys Club. To learn more about Chuck, view his Life Story film, share a memory, photo, and to sign his online guest book, please visit his personal web page at

Charles DeSander, Sr