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KEARNS, Charles E. "Chuck" 1928-2000

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KEARNS, Charles E. "Chuck" 1928-2000

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Posted: 957268800000
Classification: Obituary
Edited: 993310358000
Surnames: Kearns, Fitch
Record-Courier; Baker City, OR; 27 Apr 2000

Charles "Chuck" E. Kearns, 72, of Baker City, died Friday, April 21, 2000, surrounded by his family at his home.

A memorial service will be held in Gustavus, Alaska, on June 25. Chuck's ashes will be scattered over the Fairweather Mountains and Glacier Bay, where he spent many unforgettable years.

Mr. Kearns was born March 21, 1928, to Leslie and Vincie (Fitch) Kearns in Pampa, Texas. His family moved to the West during the Depression. He attended high school in Julian, Calif., and married Elsie when he was 20. They lived on Palomar Mountain for 23 years, where he worked for the Forest Service and later at the 200-inch Hale telescope. After the last of their three children left home for college, they relocated to Alaska, where he became a captain of charter fishing boats and small cruise ships in Glacier Bay National Park. Exploration Cruise Lines, an offshoot of the Glacier Bay operation, took advantage of his calm professional competence as director of marine operations to become the largest cruise ship company in the United States. His ships cruised the water of the Pacific from Tahiti to the Columbia River and Alaska. He skippered the first passenger vesselt otour the Columbia in 50 years where he navigated all the way to Lewiston, Idaho. Mr. Kearns and Elsie have resided in Baker City since 1989 and recently celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.

Mr. Kearns enjoyed playing a good game of poker and his many friends were charmed by his even temper and his never-failing sense of humor, regardless of whether the chips were up or down. He was an avid reader and especially enjoyed learning about the history of the Oregon Trail and lost mines in the Baker City area.

He was preceded in death by his parents, sister, and eldest son.

Survivors include his wife, Elsie; daughter, Robin of Halfway; son, Rick of Renton, Wash.; brothers, Jim of Chehalis, Wash. And Frank of Gustavus, Alaska, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions can be made to the St. Elizabeth Hospice through Gray's West & Co., P.O. Box 726, Baker City, OR 97814

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