After 91 years of living life to its fullest, Charles Lewis Wolf passed away on April 30, 2023 at his home in Shelburne. He had just spent several days with his family. His wife of 67 years, Mary Ann, sang him “The Cornell Evening Song” just before he died.
Charlie was born in Sunbury, PA to Grace Lucy (Startzel) and Lewis Reuben Wolf. He grew up on “The Island” in the Susquehanna River, and made many life-long friends, including his best friend, Bill Dunkelberger. He often recalled stories of happy times in 1944-1945, when he lived and worked on the Hauck Farm. Between milking cows and haying fields, he goofed around with the three Hauck boys and became part of their large family.
After he graduated from Sunbury High School, he attended the Taft School in Watertown, CT, then graduated from Cornell University where he majored in Economics.
At Cornell, in the spring of 1955, he met Mary Ann Peck. They married in October in Binghamton, NY. The two of them shared a life filled with family, friends, music, and beloved dogs. For their 50th anniversary in 2005, they had a party to celebrate their lives together. Charlie kept the guest list in the apartment to remember the wonderful day with so many loved ones.
Mary Ann and Charlie had three children, Robert Lewis Wolf, William Peck Wolf, and Karen Ann Wolf. They moved 10 times in the first 10 years of marriage with their young boys, from Army bases in NJ and AZ, to graduate student housing in NYC, apartments in PA to NJ, and eventually settled in Vermont where their daughter was born. Charlie loved his children deeply, and was interested in all of their endeavors.
Charlie served in the US Army Signal Corps as a First Lieutenant and was awarded the Army Commendation Ribbon upon his honorable discharge. He was proud of his service in the military.
Charlie began his professional life with New Jersey Bell Telephone, but resigned to become a full time graduate student at Teachers College, Columbia University. He graduated with his Master’s Degree in 1962 in Student Personnel Administration. His passion was to work as a financial officer in higher education.
He began working at the University of Vermont in 1965. During his 29 years at UVM, he moved from creating the Internal Audit Office to starting the Budget Office, then to the Comptroller’s Office, and finally served as Treasurer. Some of his favorite professional work was from 1973 to 1990 when he consulted for the university’s software vendor, Information Associates Inc., at universities and colleges in Saudi Arabia, Australia, Newfoundland, British Columbia, and throughout the US.
Music was central to Charlie’s life. He played slide trombone and piano from an early age. He sang in church choirs starting at Sunbury’s Zion Lutheran Church and for many years at the First Congregational Church in Burlington. At Cornell he sang 1st tenor in the Glee Club and with the triple quartet called the Cayuga’s Waiters. He appeared on the CBS Perry Como Show, ABC radio, toured to Mexico City, Bermuda, and sang on several records distributed by RCA. He paid for some of his college expenses from record royalties. He reunited with the Waiters after retirement, meeting for annual weekends to sing together. Singing brought him tremendous joy. He would come home from a long day at work and sit down at the piano to play show tunes or Scott Joplin. At Christmas, he was the maestro for neighborhood sing-alongs in the living room, bringing a smile to everyone’s face with a boisterous rendition of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”
Community was important to Charlie. Many know him as a dedicated volunteer. He was happy to carry boxes, walk dogs, mentor middle schoolers, cheerfully serve at the Chicken & Biscuit Suppers, or plan an investment strategy for non-profits that were near and dear to his heart: Feeding Chittenden (formerly Burlington Emergency Food Shelf), Mobius Mentoring, Green Mountain Club, Joint Urban Ministries Program, Humane Society of Chittenden County, Williston Federated Church, First Congregational Church of Burlington, and Boy Scout Troop 1 in Burlington. He worked with other community members to create the Williston Community Food Shelf and the first Respite House in Williston.
Charlie played baseball and football as a youth. He considered himself an “avid, but average sportsman.” He began running marathons in his 50’s, golfed, skied, enjoyed sailing with his family, rode his bike in the Williston 4th of July parade with his granddaughters, and worked out with beloved trainers at Fitness Options weekly. He was proud that he did 91 pushups everyday until March, and continued to do strength training while in hospice, even four days before he passed.
He leaves his wife of 67 years, Mary Ann Wolf; His children and their partners; Bob Wolf & Cydney Wolf, Willi Wolf & Alex Nowik, and Karen Sharpwolf & Steve Sharp; Beloved granddaughters Olivia Wolf, Caroline Wolf, Sophia Sharp; Nieces, nephews, dear friends, countless dogs past and present, and one special cat, Pauli.
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, June 3, 2023 at 10 a.m. at the First Congregational Church in Burlington at 38 South Winooski Avenue. He was a colorful character, so colorful clothing is welcomed. It will also be available via streaming for those who cannot attend in person.
The family wishes to thank Bayada Hospice, the caregivers at the Residence at Shelburne Bay, and Hands at Home Care Service for excellent care.