Charles Butler Garner, Sr., 89, had a joyful reunion with his Parents and Sister and many other Loved Ones in Heaven on Saturday, February 22, 2014. Charles (Sonny Boy) was born in Galveston, Texas on September 1, 1924, to Charles W. Garner and Margaret Butler Garner. He lived in Dickinson, Texas from the age of six until college, and he resided in Houston throughout most of his adult life. His father, a pharmacist, owned and operated Garner’s Drug Store in Dickinson, and his Grandfather, Charles Buck Garner, was the first and only medical doctor in Dickinson for many years.
When Charles was about seven years old, his Dad bought him a horse–a mare–and lo and behold, a few months later colt “Bill” was born! Charles and Bill were “best friends” from then until Charles was grown and married–Charles would often ride Bill from morning until dark in the ranch fields and along the bayous of Dickinson, a boy and his horse on their daring adventures.
Charles graduated from Dickinson High School, where he played football and basketball. He attended Texas A&M, and then the University of Texas, before joining the Navy where he served overseas in the Pacific Theater as a Radio Man. Charles was blown off the top of his ship as a result of a suicide bomber attack during World War II. Fortunately for his future family, Charles fully recovered from his injuries, and he received an Honorable Discharge from the Navy in May 1945. He returned to school and graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelors Degree in 1947, and with a Masters Degree in Psychology in 1948. Charles’ entrepreneurial spirit led him to ventures in the construction, real estate, and insurance fields, but his true calling was in the field of education where he positively affected the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of students during his 32 years of devoted service as a high school Teacher and Senior Counselor in the Houston Independent School District.
The love of Charles’ life has been his wonderful Wife of 67 years, Marie Witte Garner, also an Educator. Charles and Marie’s love and appreciation for education was passed on to their six children, who all received college degrees, with some also obtaining advanced degrees. Charles was always very proud of his children, his 19 grandchildren, and his 11 great-grandchildren.
The grandchildren cherished their summers at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, particularly enjoying the trips to the beach, learning to play bridge, listening to Grandpa’s stories and singing, and learning from Grandpa’s passion for exercise and staying fit–Charles was a weight-lifter throughout his life and held the weight record for his age group at the Houston YMCA for many years.
Charles was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Margaret Garner, and by his younger sister, Gloria Weiss and her husband John B. (Jack) Weiss, and by many other cherished family and friends. Charles is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Marie Witte Garner; son, Charles B. Garner, Jr.; son, Senior Judge David E. Garner and wife Linda; daughter, Senior Justice Margaret Garner Mirabal and husband Blas; daughter, Katharine Garner Vanya and husband Stephen; son, Nathan P. Garner; daughter, Natalie Garner Sanders and husband Mike; grandchildren Trey Garner and wife Deb, Matthew Garner and wife Alison, Greg Garner, Tricia Garner Parker and husband Marcus, Jason Garner and wife April, Shannon Garner, Daniel Garner and wife Jodi, Danielle Mirabal Plumlee and husband Michael, Michelle Mirabal, Keegan Lucas and wife Kristen, Skylar Lucas, Kolson Lucas, Kylynn Lucas, Sarah Garner Noonan and husband Brendan, Jacob Garner, Meghan Sanders Wolfe and husband Aaron, Ryan Sanders, Connor Sanders, and Caitlin Sanders; and great-grandchildren Noah and Lauren Garner, Nicholas Garner, Bryce and Chase Parker, Jack and Gage Garner, Nolan Garner, James and Oliver Noonan, and Brandon Wolfe.
Charles and his family are deeply grateful to the wonderful, dedicated staff of Memorial Hermann Hospice, and to CNA Rosalind Brown, who provided loving care for Charles during the last weeks of his precious life. If desired, donations in memory of Charles may be made to St. Helen Catholic Church, or to Memorial Hermann Hospice, 920 Frostwood, Suite 7-400, Houston, Texas 77024.
Visitation for family and friends will take place at Clayton Funeral Home, 5530 W. Broadway, Pearland, Texas on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 6:00 PM, with a Rosary at 7:00 PM. The funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 AM on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at St. Helen Catholic Church, 2209 Old Alvin Rd., Pearland, Texas, 77581. Pallbearers will be Charles and Marie’s six children, Charles, David, Margaret, Katharine, Nathan, and Natalie.