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Charles Ferdinand "Jersey" Orthmann

Dec 28, 1920 - Nov 20, 2017
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 Charles Ferdinand “Jersey” Orthmann, age 96, of Yakima, WA passed away peacefully on November 20th, 2017, after a short illness. He was born on December 28, 1920 in Suffern, NY to George and Mary (Gaspard) Orthmann.  Charlie, as he was known to his family, grew up on a farm in rural NJ, near the town of Ramsey.  In his teens he drove trucks with his father, hauling the produce from their farm to market.  From 1940-1942, he trained with, then worked for the Davey Tree Expert Co. 

 
During WWII, he began service in the U.S. Army in September 1942, first training as a map plotter and then an aircraft spotter.  After training as a Paratrooper and a Telephone Specialist, he served in the Signal Corps units of the 13th Airborne, 17 th Airborne, and 82nd Airborne Divisions.  He participated in the Battle of the Bulge, and in Operation Varsity, the Airborne assault across the Rhine River.  He was awarded several decorations for his service: The Bronze Star Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the French Croix de Guerre. Charles was honorably discharged in January 1946.
 
While in Airborne training, Charles met John Davis of Ellensburg, WA.  John gave Charles permission to write to his sister Shirley. Their correspondence blossomed into romance and he surprised her with a visit, while on leave, before going overseas. They were married in January1946 when he returned from the war.  Charles and Shirley lived in Ellensburg from 1946-1949, where their first 2 children were born. In 1949 they moved to Kennewick, WA where the remaining 9 children were born. During 25 years of that time, they lived on a small farm south of Kennewick.  In 2004 they moved to Yakima WA.  Charles loved and cherished his wife and family very much.  Family gatherings and camping were very enjoyable for him.
 
Known as “Jersey” to his coworkers since his time with Davey Tree Expert Co, the training and experience he received gave him the opportunity to have his own tree trimming business. His signal Corps experience led to his work as a lineman with telephone and power companies. He was a proud member of the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers), Local 77 for more than 60 years, negotiating wage increases and benefits for the membership.  He worked as a Journeyman Lineman, then Foreman for the Benton Co. PUD, retiring after 25 years of service.  In 1958 he became a volunteer fireman and was Assistant Fire Chief at Benton County Fire District Station #1 for many years, retiring in 1986.
 
He was active in St. Joseph's Catholic Parish, Kennewick, WA, for 55 years.  He was President of St. Vincent de Paul Society for many years; a member of the Holy Name Society; and a member the Knights of Columbus, in which he achieved the level of 4th degree. Ushering at Mass and doing tree trimming around the church and rectory were other volunteer services he performed. Holy Rosary Church in Moxee has been his parish since moving to the Yakima area in 2004, where he also served as an usher.
 
Chuck, as he was known by friends and some family, took to heart the Gospel message of caring for the widowed, the elderly and those in need.  He did that generously throughout his life. He was also a generous benefactor of Mount Angel Abbey & Seminary in St. Benedict, OR, and donated generously to many other religious orders and charities that served the poor, the needy and orphan children. 
 
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers George, Joseph and William Orthmann; sister Clementine Wetzel; and sons Thomas and David Orthmann.  He is survived by Shirley, his beloved wife of  71 years; his children, Diane Stone, Dennis Orthmann (Janis), Gerard Orthmann (Cathy), Paul Orthmann (Leslie), Mary Anne Thomas (Rob), Joan Nelson (Kevin), John Orthmann (Dee), Michael Orthmann, Linda Katzenberger (Larry); 26 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren & 2 great-great grandchildren.  He is also survived by brothers John Orthmann of NJ and Paul Orthmann, (Charlotte) of AZ, sister Rita Hetzel of NJ and brother-in-law Hans Wetzel of PA.
 
The Recitation of the Rosary and a Visitation will be on Sunday, November 26, 2017, at 4:00 PM at Holy Rosary Parish Church, (201 N. Iler in Moxee, WA).  The Mass of Christian Burial will be on Monday, November 27, 2017, at 11:00 AM at Holy Rosary Parish Church followed by a Graveside Service at Holy Rosary Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to The Society of St. Vincent de Paul or Catholic Family and Child Services
 

Funeral Information

Funeral service

Nov 27, 2017:11:00 AM

Holy Rosary Catholic Church

201 Iler St., Moxee WA 98936

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Graveside

Holy Rosary Cemetery

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