Dr. Charles “Chuck” R. Aiken, Johnson City, TN, passed away peacefully at home on March 22, 2014. For over 20 years, he and his wife have been residents of Johnson City, celebrating 70 years of marriage this year.
Born in Cleveland, OH on January 20, 1918, Chuck grew up in Salem, OH on the family farm with his parents, Clifford and Anna Morton Aiken, and his three brothers, Warren, Robert and Cliff, Jr.
Chuck graduated from Ohio State University in 1943, then immediately enlisted in the US Army at the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. After attending Officers Training School in Fort Sill, OK, he was stationed at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, MS, and while there married Betty Jane Foster of Thornville, OH on April 9, 1944, before being sent to the Pacific Theatre. He served in New Guinea, the Philippine Islands, and Japan.
After completing his military service, Chuck enrolled at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, where he earned a Master’s Degree and a Ph. D. in Education. In 1952 Chuck moved to Des Moines, IA to become the Education Director at the Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative Association, then in 1960 moved to Washington, DC to become the Associate Power Use Director for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. In 1963, the Aiken family moved to Starkville, MS, where Chuck became the Head of Staff Development at the Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service, and a Full Professor at Mississippi State University.
Chuck was active in Kiwanis, American Legion, and Toastmasters International, and he served as an elder in the Presbyterian Church.
For many years, Chuck diligently tended a very prolific garden. His peach orchard regularly produced over 250 bushels of peaches. His huge strawberry patch was a favorite place for he and his father to spend time together. Vegetables were in abundance every year and his joy was to share them with friends and family. He loved the game of golf and played with the Mississippi and Tennessee Senior Leagues well into his 90’s. He had a fabulous short game and routinely pitched one into the cup from off of the green.
In addition to his wife, Jane, survivors include his brother Cliff, and Robert’s wife Ruth, his three children, Dr. Marc Aiken (Laura) of Johnson City, Dr. Nancy Varian (Reed) of East Canton, OH, and Dr. Carol Aiken (Brian Ramer) of Baltimore, MD, four grandchildren, Cliff Varian (Megan), Scott Varian (Samantha), Emily Aiken Anderson (Brett), and Alan Aiken, and three great-grandchildren, Foster and Frances Varian (son and daughter of Cliff), and Eloise Varian (daughter of Scott).
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Zernickow-Aiken Foundation for medical missions at 2216 Lakeland Drive, Johnson City, TN 37601 or to your favorite charity. A Celebration of Life Service for the family will be held at a later date.
Memories and condolences can be viewed and shared with the family at www.tetrickfuneralhome.com . Arrangements for the Aiken family are in the care of Tetrick Funeral & Cremation Services, 3001 Peoples Street Johnson City, TN 37604 (423)610-7171.