Dr. Charles Slagle


Dr. Charles F. Slagle, age 85, of Storm Lake, Iowa died Monday, March 6, 2023 at Methodist Manor in Storm Lake.
Celebration of Life services will be held Saturday, March 25, 2023 from 3-6 p.m. with a Prayer Vigil beginning at 6 p.m. at the Fratzke & Jensen Funeral Home in Storm Lake. The Fratzke & Jensen Funeral Home in Storm Lake is in charge of arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Buena Vista University to support student travel opportunities and the women's golf team.
Charles Francis Slagle was born on March 21, 1937 in Bancroft, Iowa, to Francis and Veronica (Drew) Slagle. He was baptized into the Catholic faith at St. John’s Church in Bancroft and was confirmed at St. Michael’s Church in Whittemore. He attended kindergarten in Barnum, Iowa, and attended the Presentation Academy in Whittemore for the rest of his elementary, junior high, and high school years, graduating as a proud member of the Presentation Academy Class of 1954. Upon graduating high school, he began his college studies at Emmetsburg Community College, where he earned his associate of arts degree in 1956. He continued his undergraduate studies at the University of Iowa, and completed his bachelor’s degree at Buena Vista College, graduating with the Class of 1960. Charles was accepted to the University of Iowa College of Law in 1958, but chose to do his graduate work at the University of South Dakota, where he was awarded a PhD in chemistry in 1970.
Charles proposed to his future wife and biggest supporter, Mary Anne Crowley, on Thanksgiving Day 1958, and they were married on May 30, 1959 at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Emmetsburg. To this union, four children were born: Susan in 1969, Margaret (Peggy) in 1971, Ellen in 1975, and Karl in 1977.
Charles was always a hard worker, and is best known for his distinguished teaching career. He began as a high school math and science teacher in Thompson, Iowa, and, upon completion of his PhD, was hired as a chemistry professor at Buena Vista College in 1969. While at BV, Charles was instrumental in developing the computer science program, writing a grant to purchase the college’s first computer (which took up an entire room), and co-authoring a computer science textbook. He helped develop the international travel program at BV, where hundreds of students got to see the world with him leading the way. In his 30 years as a professor at BV, some of his other accomplishments included directing a summer English language learning institute for groups of visiting students from Showa Daiichi High School in Tokyo, Japan; coaching women’s golf; serving on the Faculty Senate and many faculty committees; and establishing a research station for BV students to work and study at in Puerto Rico. For the 10 years prior to his retirement from Buena Vista University in May of 1999, he served as the Dean of the Estelle Siebens School of Science.
In addition to teaching, some of his additional ways of “winning bread,” as he told his daughters, included raising beagles, lifeguarding, playing professional saxophone with area big bands, helping his uncles with anything they needed, working as a licensed electrician, and having part-ownership in the Emmetsburg Publishing Company.
A man of many interests, Charles was a proud member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity at the University of South Dakota; the Storm Lake Elks Lodge #1636, where he served a term as Exalted Ruler; the American Chemical Society; the Rock Island Technical Society; the Cherokee Symphony, where he played cello; the (world famous) Zauerkraut Band, where he played saxophone; Lake Creek Country Club, where he served a term as President and co-wrote the history of the club with Dick Gaffney; the Buena Vista County Sesquicentennial Committee; and the Buena Vista County Historical Society, where he served as a board member. Charles was a world traveler, having visited all of the continents except Antarctica. He spoke German, Spanish, French, and enough Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, and Japanese to get you what you needed, get you where you needed to go, or get you in a little bit of trouble. He was a sports fan (especially the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, Buena Vista Beavers, Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, and FC Bayern) and a highly dedicated golfer who made a point to golf in almost every state and country he ever visited. He was also a voracious reader, an accomplished pianist, and an avid model railroader, having played a key role in acquiring and completing the large model train layouts at Santa’s Castle in Storm Lake. Charles had great pride in his Irish and German ancestry, taking over the role of “Family Genealogist” after the passing of his beloved Uncle Elmer. He was a connoisseur of single malt scotch, good beer, and world cuisine. His gifts of blarney and sharp wit were so finely-tuned that his daughters sometimes wondered if Mel Brooks, Monty Python, and Alfred E. Neuman were some long-lost uncles they had never met. Charles always looked on the bright side of life, and, while he was always busy, he never missed the chance to include his family in his hobbies and adventures. The education and joie de vivre they experienced with him were gifts that could never have been found in a classroom.
Charles is survived by his wife of nearly 64 years, Mary Anne Slagle; children: Susan (Cary) Boyd and Margaret/Peggy Slagle; grandchildren: Chloe Christie and significant other, Austin Moro; Nickolas Slagle; Isaac Stone and significant other, Sally Henry; and Liam Stone and significant other, Geoshua Topacio; step-grandchildren: Jodi (Daryl) Krikke, David (Jenna) Boyd, and Carly (Kyle Craft) Boyd; siblings: Joan Schlegel, Nancy Slagle, and Tom Slagle; nieces: Joyce Thielhorn, Sarah (Russ) Poppler, and Camilla (Brian) Ringler; nephews: Richard (Rhonda) Schlegel, Joe (Teresa) Schlegel, Peter (Missy) Schlegel, Ed (Kelly) Schlegel, Rob (Heather) Schlegel, and Sam Slagle; cousins-in-law, Anne Hurlbut, Michael (Kate) Wilson, and Ute Wilson; sons-in-law, Shawn Stone and Jason Christie; and many extended family and friends who knew and loved him.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Francis and Veronica Slagle; parents-in-law, Joe and Della Crowley; infant sister, Mary Margaret Slagle; sister-in-law, Judy (Crowley) Nixon; brother-in-law, Dave Nixon; brother-in-law, Arman Schlegel; infant niece, Mary Clare Schlegel; niece, Renee Schlegel; infant son, Karl Slagle; and daughter Ellen Slagle Christie.
Special thanks are given to the at-home caregivers who became a part of the family, especially for their care and dedication in Charles’ last months living at home: Leandro Marin, Jocelyn Ramos, Beauna Thammathai, Heather White, Alejandra Rodriguez, Makenna Eppes, Cheyenne Barnes, and Liz Swartz.
There are so many things that can be written about the incredibly interesting and full life that Charles led. The inscription on the plaque he received when he won the distinguished Henry Olson Alumni Award at Buena Vista University in Oct. 2009 described him in a perfectly succinct manner: Innovative Educator, World Traveler, Renaissance Man. He will be deeply missed.