BY JAMES HARPER
Elder Charlie Charles held back tears as he read Psalms 23 on Aug. 10 during the celebration of the life of his brother, Johnny Charles, a popular local educator, coach and 30-year employee of the Florida Department of Corrections.
Retired educator Vivian Charles grabbed a rose from the top of her husband’s casket as it was wheeled out of Allen Chapel AME Church to be taken to its final resting place.
Pastor Nathan M. Mugala, who delivered the eulogy at the service that attracted hundreds of family members and friends, said Charles “had always talked about going home.” He said Charles was prepared for life after death.
“He preached his own funeral by the way he lived and treated people,” Mugala stated.
Charles passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by family and friends on Aug. 2. He was born July 4, 1928, to the late Raymond and Eddie Lee (Driskell) Charles.
He grew up in Daytona Beach, one of nine siblings. He attended Bonner Elementary, Campbell Sr. High School and Bethune-Cookman College.
Used his gift
Mugula said he was confident when Charles met the Lord, God said he him, “Well done thy good and faithful servant.”
“It’s one thing for people down here to say it but to hear it from the Lord,” Mugala continued.
He reminded the congregation no one knows when the lord will come, and he cautioned them to do like Charles and “make proper preparation.”
“Use your gift. People are sitting down on their gifts. If you got it, be able to use it. Charles used his gift. Even in his sickness, Mr. Charles was trying to do God’s work,” Mugala said.
He concluded by telling Charles’ friends and family if they also want to hear “well done that good and faithful servant” for the Lord, they need to use their gifts, be governed by God, and be grateful for the Lord’s grace.’’
Charles was a veteran and served in the Korean War as a staff sergeant. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and Health from Bethune-Cookman College. He furthered his studies at Stetson University toward a master’s degree. His professional career revolved around playing sports, both professional baseball and football.
After retirement from professional and semiprofessional sports, he taught and coached football and basketball at Jerkins High School in Jasper, director of recreation centers in Daytona and Ormond, taught and served as assistant football coach at Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, and was athletic director for the Florida State Prison in Starke for 30 years.
He married Vivian Hickley on Dec. 24, 1954. He was preceded in death by a son, Scott Marlo Charles. Along with his wife, he is survived by Stacy Mark Charles (Loretta), Miami; grandsons, Jamelle and Jared, Miami; brothers, Elder Charlie Charles (Mildred), Daytona Beach and Edwin Charles, New York; a sister, Virginia Charles, St. Petersburg; and a host of other relatives.