“Good Finish” Charlie Minner

Always a smile at the gate.

[Editor’s Note:  We have recently received a more detailed obituary for Charlie and have updated this post.  Charlie lived a rich life and loved soaring giving so much to the sport.  –WE]

Susan McCallister posted the sad news about Charlie on RAS just a short while ago.

I am so sorry to have to report the following from Micki Minner:
Charlie “Lite” Minner passed away on Thursday, May 12 in Tucson, AZ after a very brief illness. He was devoted to and passionate about the sport of soaring. Details about funeral arrangements will be posted on the SSA website as soon as they are available. A Facebook tribute page has been posted – here’s the link. Our sympathies to Micki and Charlie’s whole family.

If you would like, please share your story about Charlie in the comment section below and visit the Remembering Charlie “Lite” Minner Facebook page here.

Charles Anthony Minner (Charlie “Lite”) died on May 12, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona at the age of 64.  He was born July 30th, 1946 in Jamaica Queens, New York. He contracted Polio in 1952 and afterwards was paralyzed in both legs.  Despite his physical limitations, he was known to enjoy playing golf, Tennis, Basketball, Baseball, and Football.  Most years of his childhood were spent in iron lungs, body casts, surgical wards, and a Catholic children’s hospital. He graduated from Mepham High School, Bellmore New York in 1964; and studied English Literature at the University of Arizona Class of 1968. All while on crutches, he was a member of the Gymnastics Team(Rings),  a Service Fraternity, and hiked and camped throughout the Tucson Mountains. Charlie also helped entertain at the Cup, a coffee house in the campus Christian Center of the University of Arizona, where known as “Just Plain Charlie” he played guitar and sang.

Charlie worked as a microbiologist and his work was published in the Journal of Microbiology. He earned a degree in nursing from Pima Community College in 1977, masters degree in Special Education at the University of Arizona in 1976,  and worked as a CCRN (Critical Care Registered Nurse) at El Dorado Hospital, University Medical Center, and St. Mary’s Hospital until his retirement in 1990.  He built his own ultra-light aircraft, glider, his home in the mountains of Tucson and others.  He was a master craftsman.

Charlie loved to Fly Gliders, Watch Soaring and work at Soaring Contests.  He also loved sailboats, bird watching, gardening, sports, University of Arizona Wildcats, and was a volunteer in the Children’s play room at the University of Arizona Medical Center. He was caught many times running wheelchair races up and down the hallways of the Medical Center.

Charlie served as a member of the Soaring Society of America board of directors. He traveled across the country every summer and was well-known as a competition director and advocate for safety.   His passion for soaring involved the National Soaring Museum, The southwest soaring museum, the vintage sailplane association, and any other soaring group he could find.  He started evidencing Post Polio Syndrome in 1986 and finally went into a wheelchair in 1998.  Charlie was a member of the Tucson Post Polio Support Group, Polio Epic, Inc.  from the 80’s and served the last 15 years as an board member.

He is survived by his wife Michelle (Micki) Minner, daughters Melissa (33) and Samantha Port-Minner, (30), brother Donald Minner of Atlanta, Georgia, and Mother Helen Pascuma Minner of Bellmore New York.  He was pre-deceased by his father Clarence Minner.  Charlie grew up next door to his family of cousins and they were actually his brother’s and sisters as well.  Mary Lou Mierau Cox of Phoenix, Arizona, Howard Meirau of Tampa, Florida, Charles Edward Meirau and Richard Mierau of Bellmore New York.  Charlie is also survived by dozens of beloved cousins.

Charlie will have a Celebration of Life, 3:00 pm Wednesday May 18th in Tucson, Arizona. The Location will be 8609 E. Helen Place, Tucson, Arizona 85715.  He will have a ceremony of Ashes scattered from a glider over El Tiro Gliderport in Marana, Arizona on May 21st.  There will also be a ceremony May 24th, with Mass said at St. Rafael’s in Long Island, New York, with a graveside service at the family plot in Holy Rood.  Small family reception to follow at the Ball Household in Merrick, New York.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Polio Epic, Inc. of Tucson, the Soaring Society of America, or the Special Olympics.

Charlie will me missed.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Micki and his family.

Calling the finish at 2010 US 18m Nationals in Mifflin

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