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Obituary: Charles David "Chuck" Tolson, Columbus


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Charles David "Chuck" Tolson, 78, of Columbus, IN, died Wednesday, December 12, 2012, at Hospice of South Central Indiana Inpatient Facility in Columbus, IN.

Mr. Tolson was born the third of five children to George Richard and Alice Moore Tolson on February 1, 1934, at Vincennes, IN. A graduate of Vincennes Lincoln High School and Vincennes University, Chuck graduated with a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 1956.

Charles worked for Magnavox Corporation in Fort Wayne, IN, in the mid-1950s as a Technical Writer on the P-58 communications system. In 1958, he became an Associate Professor in the Engineering and Science department of Vincennes University. In addition, he was the department head and developer of the emerging Technology Department, with coursework in drafting, electronics, and general engineering. He also initiated the development of WVUT, the Vincennes University television station. This early framework became the basis for the thriving technology programs that Vincennes University still offers today in several locations.

Charles left VU to become an Engineer at McDonnell Douglas in St Louis, MO, in 1963, where he obtained Top Secret DOD Security clearance to work on a multitude of military aircraft in the midst of the Cold War. He designed avionics for such special aircraft as the F-4 Phantom, the F-18 Super Hornet and eventually worked on the development of stealth technology. His forte was the integration of all electronic systems on an aircraft to ensure that no one system interfered with the work of another system, even when these systems were sourced from a variety of suppliers. His steady and excellent work led to multiple promotions up to the level of Unit Chief, one step below Vice President in this huge corporation. He took a sabbatical from his job to complete a Master's in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Rose-Hulman in 1968 after which time, he returned to McDonnell Douglas, continuing his work on military aircraft. He completed his career with this company, then known as Boeing Company, in June, 2004, when he retired with 39 years of service.

Chuck was a devoted family man, who cared for his mother and two teen age sisters after the death of his father in 1959. He continued to care for his mother until her death in 1982 and shared a home with his youngest sister in Glendale, MO, until his health failed in June of 2012. An ardent Snoopy fan and collector, Chuck also enjoyed a lifelong devotion to the Saint Louis Cardinals and the Indiana Hoosiers.

He was a lifelong member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), serving as Deacon and Elder, with his latest membership in the Webster Groves Christian Church of Webster Groves, MO. He was also a veteran of the United States Army.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, George, and sister-in-law Jackie Tolson; his sister, Ruth Ann, and brother-in-law Robert Burnett Sr.; and a great-nephew, Luke Paul Tolson Neuhedel.

He is survived by his sister, Jane Tolson, now of Columbus, IN, and his sister, Mary Alice Tolson Springer, and her husband Tom, of Henderson, KY, as well as by his beloved nephews and nieces, John (Debbie) Burnett, Robert (Vicki) Burnett, Mary Jane (Tim) Pratt and Lisa (Joe) Harping, all of Columbus, IN, David (Kathy) Burnett of Westport, IN, and Kay (David) Scott of Xenia, OH, all of whom contributed to his care, and Becky Tolson (Paul) Neuhedel of Garden City, NY., Jenny Tolson of Seattle WA., Tom (Russella) Springer III of Madisonville, KY, and Matthew Springer of Jeffersonville, IN.

In addition, he leaves behind 24 great-nieces and nephews and two great-great-nephews. He will be sorely missed by his pet dog, Phantom.

A Celebration of the Life of Chuck Tolson will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, December 29, 2012, at the First Christian Church in Vincennes, IN, Chuck’s home church. Inurnment will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery in Vincennes, IN.

Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of South Central Indiana.

Online condolences may be sent to Mr. Tolson's family at www.myers-reed.com.

Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Myers-Reed Chapel in Columbus, IN.

 

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