Updated 14 October 1999. URL is /opine/gorgol.html
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Newest: Read the eulogy by Charlie's neice Linda
Charles Noel Gorgol,
2-99: See pictures from Chuck's brothers and sister!
December 25, 1940 --- October 5, 1998
REMEMBERING CHARLIE, the eulogy given by by LindaAs we come together today to remember God's son, Charlie, we each come with our own special memories in mind. Some of us have memories of a dear brother, or a loving and fun husband. Some of us remember a funny, kind and caring uncle, while others of us shared a special bond of friendship that left us a better person for knowing him. And even though we all remember him differently today, I think it is safe to say that Charlie knew how to make each of us smile. Even last Christmas, which was the first time some of us had seen him for quite some time, he was still making us laugh with police stories and jokes that only Charlie knew how to tell. So let us thank God for giving us Charlie for 58 short years.
I am sure he was a loving son, and that grandma and grandpa were thrilled to welcome him home with them. I would imagine he entered the gates of heaven with one of his famous riddles or anecdotes, and I'm sure heaven overlooked a few of the words and let him tell it anyway! I'm also quite sure that some heavenly souls are still quietly chuckling at his stories.
Dad and Connie, I am confident that you remember Charlie as a great brother. And though he spent many of his later years choosing to be by himself, I know your earlier memories of him must be filled with joy, adventure, and laughter. He did not lead an easy life, nor one that many of us would have chosen to live, but he did leave you with some wonderful times, and it is those times, I'm sure, that he hopes you will remember when you think of him. Keep those times always in your heart so that Charlie may live on in you.
I can somewhat relate to what it was like to be Charlie's friend, because as an uncle, he was also very much a friend. I know several of you have stories you could tell about "Dancin' Charlie," but most of the memories my brothers and I share were of "Uncle Charles." They were spent around the Christmas tree at grandma and grandpa's house. Last Christmas was a very special gift to many of us, as we got to see Uncle Charles again for the first time in a long time. And we were not disappointed. We were greeted with that same sense of humor and distinct manner that was Uncle Charles. I can still hear him saying, "Hey squirt!" the same way he always did whenever I saw him. I know each of us carry our own memories of Uncle Charles, and that these memories will live on in our hearts long after we leave here today. But I would like to share one or two of my own special memories with you today.
I had the special privilege of sharing the same birthday with Charlie - Christmas Day. My favorite memory is standing around grandma and grandpa's dining room table after Christmas dinner, turning down the lights so that only the birthday candles glowed, and helping Uncle Charles blow out the candles - once for him and another time for me. Charlie always let me pick what kind of cake we had - Roselyn's whip cream/chocolate layer cake. It was the same EVERY YEAR. And if Charlie didn't like that cake, he never let on, because he knew it was my favorite. Then we would opeg our gifts, and Uncle Charles would always pretend to get upset that I had more presents than he did. He always asked for some of mine so it would be fair, but then would refuse the gift when he found out it was "for a girl!"
My other favorite memory, which I am sure is shared by many of us here, was sitting around listening to him tell his stories. Even though they were seldom appropriate for younger kids, I think we all enjoyed the WAY Charlie told them. Always very animated, the stories were so off the wall that we had to ask him, "Did that REALLY happen?" or "Is that a true story?" Well, they always happened, and they were true stories. Even last year at Christmas, Charlie was reminiscing on some of those stories. What fun it always was to listen to him!
Finally, I remember how much we all enjoyed Christmas music together. Charlie inevitably made up different words to many of the songs, which would once again have us laughing, and telling him how the song really went. If there is music that welcomes us into heaven, I'm quite sure Charlie put in a request for a Christmas song or two.
So today, in honor of "Dancin' Charlie, Uncle Charles, Charley Barley, or whatever name with which we fondly remember Charles Gorgol, let us also remember the wonderful memories he leaves in each of our hearts. Let us not remember the more difficult times he endured later in life, but the times when all of us could smile at who Charlie was - son, brother, husband, uncle, and friend. Tuck those memories away for safe-keeping. But when you have occasion to pull them out every now and then, remember a very special man, who always knew how to make us smile.
Here is why I made this page, (Sandra Weinhardt):
Once upon a time, I had a best friend. We went to my prom together, where we had our picture taken. I put that picture on a web page about clothes, and added a line "Does anybody know what became of Chuck Gorgol?"
That was it. I didn't hear any more from Chuck after I graduated. I hadn't found him in any phone books or on the internet, in my curiosity-driven search. I knew he had to have had a good life, because he was the nicest person I had known, way back when.
On October 8, an email arrived from Mike Estep that said he had found my page on an internet search for Charles Gorgol, whom he had buried that day. I feared it was "my" Chuck, and indeed it was. Charlie, as he was called after high school, had developed diabetes and died at the age of 58.
Chuck had played football at Shortridge High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. He loved race cars and belonged to H.A.R.F., Hoosier Auto Racing Fans. He was completely even-tempered, patient and pleasant. He was the best dancer I ever met. We set the floor on fire when we would jitterbug, bebop, swing and rock 'n' roll. My correspondent answered a lot of my questions, and even gave me permission to make this page. Here are some of the things I learned about Charlie/Chuck Gorgol.
Here is the first letter I received from Mike Estep.
Today I buried a good friend Charles Noel Gorgol. When I came home I looked up the name Gorgol on the net. I found your rockabilly site page and scrolled the photographs. To my suprise I found a prom photograph with "Great clothes from the 50's Does anybody know what became of Chuck Gorgol(center of the picture?)" printed under it.
I am not completely sure that the photograph is of the same Charlie that I know. The Charlie that was my good friend was born in Chicago I believe in 1940. He grew up to become a United States Marine. After serving his country, Charlie became a police officer for the City of Indianapolis. Charie served for 21 years with the police department. Charlie retired from the police department to become a crime scene specialist with the Indianapolis- Marion County Forensic Services Agency.
This is where Charlie and I became good friends. He was my partner on our shift. Charlie worked for the lab for 12 years until illness forced him into disability and early retirement from the lab in 1997. Charlie fought his illness without complaint until it took his life on October 5, 1998. Charlie will be missed by all of those whose lives were touched by him. My name is Mike Estep and you can e-mail me at email@example.com. I hope that this answers the question of "does anybody know what became of Chuck Gorgol?"
Then I wrote this back to Mike Estep:
"Dear Mike, What a shock. It must be the same Chuck Gorgol, since the age is right. He went to Shortridge High School, played football, loved auto racing, was a member of HARF (Hoosier Auto Racing Fans) in the 1950s, went to my Prom with me and I always thought he would go into the Marines.
It is odd that you should mention his middle name. I don't know if I ever knew it, but I almost named my son Lance Noel Weinhardt. He was born on 12/25 too. How odd....
Chuck was a very sweet person. I used to worry that he might have been killed in Nam, but when I asked someone how I could find out, he said no Charles Gorgol was listed as having been killed in Viet Nam, in the lists the government puts out. That was good to know.
We just lost track of each other after high school. I used to look in the phone book for Indianapolis to see if he was there, in recent years, and did not find him. I just wanted to know what had become of him.
I am so sorry you have lost your friend. I know he would be a good and true friend to anyone he would befriend. Did he have a family? Children? Please let his family know that I knew him as a kid, and as a good and fine person in every way.
My memories of Chuck were all of laughter and happiness. You were lucky to know him. Please write back if you get this letter, when you feel up to it. I am glad he had you for a friend. This is indeed a very, very sad day. The world is poorer without Chuck in it.
May I put in some of your tribute letter if you let me make a memorial page to Chuck/Charlie?
I remember at my high school graduation dance, we were all dressed up and Chuck and I could dance better than anyone on earth, and when he would flip me in my big old crinoline it was quite an event. Actually I think it was a hoop skirt. We were the two best swing/bebop/rockabilly dancers there were. Did your Charlie ever dance?
There never was a more even-tempered person. I think my Chuck was your Charlie, but then again, I hope he isn't.
From Sandra Weinhardt, Bluffton IN "
And Mike replied:
I am now convinced that we shared the same Chuck. Charlie in fact did play football for Shortridge High School and helped build several race cars. Charlie spent most of his Military time on the Island of Okinawa with some time in Hong Kong. He put in for Viet Nam on several occasions but Uncle Sam needed him to train troops.
Charlie trained with the special forces of the Army and earned his black belt in karate while in Okinawa. Charlie married twice. The first marriage lasted two years, while the second lasted only 49 days. He used to joke about being an expert marriage counselor.
Charlie became quite eccentric after his parents passed away. He collected everything from guns,knives and skulls, to photographs of department store window displays.
Charlie had a bad case of diabetes which had been brought on by his one time love affair with the bottle.
(Sandra says "I never ever saw him drink.")
Charlie never had any children, however me and the guys believe that there is a "Gorg" junior out there somewhere. Charlie loved the women and the women really loved Charlie.
Charlies birthday was also on 12/25. He would take the entire month of December off every year to celebrate his birday. He would say that he shared the same birthday as Jesus and the two of them would not be available during the month of December because they would be partying. What a guy!
While a policeman, Charlie was involved in at least five different police action shootings. One day when Charlie and I were working a suicide scene an older man came up to us and introduced his friend to Charlie, saying to his friend, "I want you to meet my friend Officer Gorgol. He shot me back in the 60's." What a crazy world.
You may not believe this but Charlie was known to the younger kids as "Dancing Charlie." He would do a little dance for the kids from time to time. He would also do his dance for the office girls at the lab before he would go out to a crime scene. Everyone loved Charlie. We all called Charlie "Uncle Chuck". Feel free to use any of the events that I wrote to you about Charlie. I'm sure he would eat it up."
And in February 1999 Chuck's nephew Bob found some photos for us. I'll add his letter here after he gives me permission. Until then, I certainly do appreciate Connie Gorgol and Bob Gorgol writing to share memories with us. Here are two pictures until I can get more family memories posted. This appears to be a solar-powered hog roaster, but it probably isn't. I call this picture from Robert Gorgol "Glory Days."
Here are Charlie, his niece Linda and his nephew Bob celebrating a birthday. Bob's father (Charlie's brother) wrote us a wonderful letter, that I hope to post here.
This page is sponsored by Parlor City Internet
It is written by Sandra Weinhardt, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Please feel free to send me your memories of Charlie Gorgol, or photos as .jpg files, or mail photos to Sandra Weinhardt PO BOX 214, Bluffton IN 46714. Include your return address, please!