Vernon Rudolph Charlson, “coach, chief”, 100, of Valparaiso formerly of
Chesterton and Gary, passed away at 11:39 p.m. on Good Friday, April 10,
2009 in his daughter’s home in Westfield.
He was born February 22, 1909 in Baileytown, Ind., the son of Nels Peter
Victor Charlson and Anna (Wistrand) Charlson.
On July 6, 1935 he married Evelyn Sandine who preceded him in death in 2007.
He is survived by two children: daughter, Verlyn Charlson Wilson of
Westfield; son, Victor (Julie) Charlson of Valparaiso; son-in-law, Dr.
Donald L. Wilson of Carmel; six grandchildren, Gregory (Kristie) Wilson,
Heidi Wilson, Holly (Daniel) Wilson Cole, Amie (Matt) Charlson Paradise,
Eric (Allison) Charlson, Lindsay (Cary) Charlson Knauff and seven great
grandchildren, Emma and Andrew Charlson, Nathanael and Benjamin Cole, Andrew
“A.J.” Wilson, Coyer Paradise and Caleb Knauff.
He has one living sister, Marian Edquist, two brothers, Vincent and Alvin
(deceased), three other deceased sisters, Elvera Peterson, Eleanor Benson
and Edith Martinson.
Vern graduated from Chesterton High School in 1927. He earned a Bachelors
degree in Education from the University of Illinois in 1932, Masters degree
in Education from Indiana University in 1957, and his Doctorate in Health
and School Administration from Indiana University in 1963.
He coached at Portage High School, and at Chesterton High School. His team
won the mythical state championship in six man football, in 1940-1941. He
also coached at Lew Wallace High School, Gary.
He served in the military during WWII, where he served as Educational and
Reconditioning Officer at Foster General Hospital in Jackson, Miss.. He
served as Director of Special Services for the Gary Public Schools from
Vern served as Director of Goodfellow Youth Camp, for 20 years. He served as
President of Cerebral Palsy Association of Northwest Ind., Bethlehem
Lutheran Church, and Chesterton Booster Club. He volunteered many hours with
the Lake County Association for Retarded Children, served on the board of
Lutheran Family Services, and was program chairman for the Lake County
Mental Health Association.
He was also a member of the National Education Association, and co-chaired
with his wife Evelyn, the Luther League youth group at Bethlehem and
Augsburg Lutheran Churches. He filled the pulpit for vacationing pastors of
the LaPorte District of the Augustana Lutheran Synod. He served as disc
jockey in Jackson, Miss., and also had his own radio program entitled
“Coaches Corner” over WIMS, Michigan City.
He was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, serving as usher, greeter, and
Church Council member. He was a loving husband of 71 years, and a role model
as an exceptional parent/grandparent to his children, grandchildren and
A funeral service, Rev. Dr. John J. Santoro and Rev. Dr. Freda S. Scales
officiating, will be at 1 p.m. Thursday, April 16, at Trinity Lutheran
Church, 201 North Washington Street, Valparaiso. Interment will follow at
Visitation will be from 4-8 Wednesday, April 15, at Moeller Funeral Home,
104 Roosevelt Road, Valparaiso, and Thursday April 16, from 12 Š 1 p.m. at
Trinity Lutheran Church.
Memorials may be made to Ruth Lilly Hospice at Clarian, 2039 N. Capital
Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46202, or Trinity Lutheran Church.