Published 12:00 am Monday, November 17, 2008
The memorial service for Charles F. Stephenson of Albert Lea will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday at Ascension Lutheran Church in Albert Lea. The Rev. Mark Boorsma will officiate. Friends may visit with family one hour before the service at the church. Military honors will be accorded by Albert Lea veterans organizations. Interment will be in Fort Snelling National Cemetery.
Charles died on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008, at the Albert Lea Medical Center, at the age of 89.
He was born on Feb. 21, 1919, in Ramsey, the son of Charles William and Beulah(Cambern) Stephenson. His family moved to Rushford when he was in 8th grade. He graduated from Rushford High School in 1937. He was a member of the football team, playing center and fullback, and the baseball team, playing in the outfield.
Charles was a military career man serving our country in the U.S. Army for more than 29 years, having served in World War II, the Korean Conflict, and also the Vietnam War. He was proud to have achieved the highest rank attainable, command sergeant major, for a non-commissioned officer before his retirement. His tour of duty began when he was drafted in March of 1941 to serve with the U.S. Army Artillery in the South Pacific. He returned home in September of 1945.
He served in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1945 to 1950 while working at Queen Stoves in Albert Lea. It was during this time that he was united in marriage to Rebecca M. Hatle. They married on Nov. 22, 1947, in Mason City, Iowa. He was called again to active duty in April of 1950, when the Korean Conflict began. He remained in the U.S. Army receiving many decorations, including two Bronze Stars, before retiring in Fort Bragg, N.C., in April of 1972., He had also been granted the opportunity to teach Artillery at West Point during his military career.
He was a member of the V.F.W. and the American Legion and had served on the volunteer Military Honor Guard for several years. He was also a member of the Elks, the Masonic Lodge and a very willing volunteer within the community.
He is survived by his wife Rebecca of Albert Lea; three daughters: Cynthia Powell and Brad of Fort Wayne, Ind., Sandra Stephenson of Albert Lea and Gina (Shawn) Mitchell of Rochester; grandchildren: Sarah (Brian) Busse and their children Zoe and Jackson of Fort Wayne, Indiana and Claire Mitchell of Rochester; sisters-in-law: Elaine Johnson of New Richland, Avis (Glenn) Wobschall of Waseca, Edith (John) Hansen of Washington State, Ruth Strand of Albert Lea; and several nieces and nephews. He especially enjoyed sharing his stories with his nephew Rodney Hatle.
He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters: Leota Swenson, Charlotte Stephenson, LaVonne Schroeder and Elaine Stephens; and brother Don Stephenson.