Charles Gorder, 91, St. Paul

Published 12:26 pm Saturday, November 20, 2010

Charles (Chuck) Arthur Gorder, longtime St. Paul resident, passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 16. He was 91.

Charles Gorder

Charles was born in Dodgeville, Wis., on May 1, 1919. He grew up in Albert Lea and moved to Minneapolis in 1933. An avid movie buff at an early age, Charles worked as an usher at Dinkytown’s University Theatre (now known as the Varsity) during his teenage years. He graduated from Marshall High School in 1935 at the age of 16.

Charles married his first wife, Avice Jongeward, in 1940. The couple had two children, Joan (born in 1942) and Jon (born in 1948). Charles served in the US Army as a cryptographer during WWII and graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Social Science with a bachelor’s degree in Economics in 1949. He married his second wife, Erma Olson, in 1958 and again in 1986.

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His decades of waitering service in many of the finest restaurants of the Twin Cities included stints at Minneapolis’s legendary Charlie’s Café and the Top of the Hilton/Radisson in downtown St. Paul, as well as a nine-year run as a Union Pacific steward. Charles continued to work until he was 87 years old, finishing his career at Twin Cities Mintahoe Catering.

In his long, full life Charles touched the lives of many people. He will be remembered for his deep intelligence, his passion for literature and jazz, and his encyclopedic historical knowledge — with particular expertise on the people and places of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Charles was preceded in death by wives: Avice Jongeward and Erma Olson; brother, Roger Gaarder; and granddaughter, Rachel Fritz. Survived by sister, Rosella Pace; children: Joan Fritz and Jon Gorder; grandchildren: Susie and Sarah Fritz, and Lewis, Adrian and Genevieve Gorder; step-children: David and Jenni Olson; great-grandchildren: Ron Burton and Ase’ Fisher; and step-grandchildren: Vivian Olson and Sylvie and Hazel Olson-Dorf; as well as nephews, nieces and many friends and colleagues.

Private interment will be at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. A private memorial and open house will be held between 1 and 5 (with readings and spoken eulogies between 2-2:30) on Sunday, Dec. 12, at the community room at 1390 Carling Drive, St Paul. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to: St. Joseph’s Home for Children, 1121 46th Street East, Minneapolis, MN 55407.