Sunday, October 17, 2004

Charles Trevathan, J.D. (1936-2004)

Charles Trevathan had some unfinished business to take care of following his heart attack on March 21, 2004, but having already lived a life full of good-will towards his fellow man, Chuck needed less than seven more months to be able to say, “Mission Complete.”

On October 12, 2004, a second heart attack took the life of Charles Trevathan while he spent the evening hours of the day in a place that he loved so dearly, his ACU office. In an Optimist article that was so appropriately entitled “For the Love of Teaching” which was a superb piece of prose written about Charles less than three weeks prior to his passing. In this piece, Charles’ good friend Rae Adams told how Charles once told her “that if he died in the classroom, he’d be happy.” Personally, I think his office was what Chuck meant by “the classroom,” because I think he wouldn’t have wanted to die amidst a class lecture, because he would be determined to get it finished before he would allow himself to take a final breath.

If you had the opportunity to talk to Charles in the time following his first heart attack, he most likely expressed to you on more than one occasion his hope to teach seven more years in order to have a life of three 25-year periods of careers: a student, a lawyer, and a teacher. Unfortunately, Chuck’s teaching career fell a little short, but in the 18 years of teaching that he did have, I think he reached more people than most teachers reach in a 30 or 35 year career!

Charles Trevathan had a gift for reaching people. He had a yearning to help and befriend individuals and it didn’t matter who they were. His Father and his family came first, but after that, it was open to anyone and everyone that he could come in contact with. The best part was how he would “get to you” without you really realizing it was happening until it was too late (I believe this talent matured from his career as a lawyer). I think Shiloh (Webb) Jones put it best in her tribute to Charles that she signed to his guestbook online (; “He let us into his life just as much as he asked us to let him into ours.” You wouldn’t know it, but by the way he would tell us about his life, he was slowing drawing himself into our life. This truly was a gift of his!

At the funeral on Sat. one of the speakers so perfectly described Charles as the true meaning of altruism; I could not agree more! Never once can I think of a time where he thought of himself before those around him. His students were his number one priority when he was in the classroom or in his office. It didn’t matter how much paper work he had building up on his desk that was going to keep him up later and later, night after night. With Charles, if a student wanted to talk, all grading was pushed aside.

A husband, father, grandpa, teacher, colleague, friend, mentor, role model, servant, preacher…and the list goes on. While that list only begins to describe the many roles that Charles fulfilled in his time on earth, the list of characteristics to describe him is just as endless…altruistic, humble, loving, caring, funny, wise, inspirational, motivation, stubborn, determined, gentle…(now if only the answers to his tests had had this many correct responses).

So, if Charles wasn’t an angel in disguise, I don’t know who would be! While this angel has moved on to share his stories with some of the other angels, we who have been left behind will continue his gentle spirit through our memories and the good-will he instilled in each person he so innocently touched.

Long live the Trevathan spirit!

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