Charlene was born on January 22, 1937 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Her parents were Charles Petersen (who's parents and two brothers immigrated from Denmark) and Elsie Evans (who comes from an old family that can be traced to 1700's Pennsylvania). She had two sisters, Patricia, who was a year younger, Helen, who was two years older, and one brother, Lewis, who was 6 years older.
In 1945 the entire family moved from Colorado to Portland, Oregon. Elsie wanted to follow her sister, Beverly, who moved to Oregon with her husband and daughter Evelyn. Charlene attended Girls Polytechnic High School until 1954 when her mother became sick with cancer. Charlene was 16 years old. Her mother would pass away in 1957 after refusing an operation because her sister Beverly had died from an ether overdose during a medical procedure. Charlene worked a couple jobs before being hired at Waterway Terminals as a clerk in 1957. She would work there for the next 35 years before retiring in 1992.
Charlene met and married Vallis J. Paterson in 1959. They had a son, John C. Paterson in 1960. Two years later they would have another, David V. Paterson, who would die shortly after birth because Charlene had undiagnosed measles. Val and Charlene would divorce in 1969, and she would not marry again until 1993 with James C. Garber, someone that she had been with for about 15 years. He passed away a short time later.
Charlene had two grandsons, David and Jeremy, whom she adored. When she retired, she moved into an apartment that was part of her son John's house and his wife Theresa. She was able to be with them throughout their youth, and remained close to them after David's college graduation, and Jeremy's military service.
Charlene's ("Chuck or Charlie's") life was full of simple pleasures. She bowled in bowling leagues, shuffleboard, played bingo, and made an occasional trip to Reno. When she got together with her sisters, you could count on hysterical laughter that left all in tears... sometimes not even being sure what caused it. In later years her activities would be yard work, grandson activities, and still the occasional trip to Reno. She did volunteer work for the Waterway (James River) Retiree Store and occasionally Burnside Meals with her son at a downtown homeless shelter. Her grandson's faithfully took her out to lunch every weekend for many years, right up until Covid-19 stopped outdoor activities. Jeremy would come over and watch the Trail Blazers on TV with her, which continued until shortly before her passing. She also had a running date with her cousin Shari (Evelyn's daughter) to go out for lunch at The Old Country Kitchen.
After having increasing pain in her back, she was taken to Providence, St Vincent's hospital, where she was diagnosed with an aorta aneurysm. She was sent home with hospice care where she quietly passed away two weeks later.
Except for the arthritis and mini-strokes that slowed her down in her later years, Charlene made it clear that she had lead a happy life. Staying busy and enjoying the simple things made it so. Having survived her brother and her sisters, she said that she was ready to go when it "was time". That time came January 2, 2021.
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