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1954 - 2023

IN LOVING MEMORY

Chuck Grube

Green Succulent Plant

Chuck's Celebration of Life

Please click the button below to view Chuck's Celebration of Life ceremony.

 If you have any questions, please email support@lightenarrangements.com or call (312) 373-0847.

Life Story

Brilliant, Loving, and Profoundly Courageous.

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Our beloved Chuck passed away surrounded by family at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, on June 4th, 2023, after a valiant ten month battle with leukemia.

Charles Thomas Grube was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on September 25th, 1954, the son of Elwood Grube, a World War II veteran, and Bethlehem Steel company cook, and Dorothy Grube a homemaker, and garment worker. Chuck (as he liked to be called) is survived by his wife Deborah Ings, brother Elwood (Woody) Grube, sister-in-law Carol Grube, children Alexa, Steven and Sarah, and step-son Colin Claytor.

​Chuck grew up in Freemansburg, Pennsylvania and was an avid athlete and hunter. After high school, he attended community college but felt restless in his hometown. A friend lured him into enlisting in the Air Force, and not even knowing what exactly he would do in the military, off he went to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas for basic training. He joined without an exact plan of what he would do in the Air Force but thought maybe becoming an accountant was a solid option. But the Air Force had different plans and sent him to Air Traffic Controller school at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi instead. Chuck began traveling down life’s road with a “go with the adventure” attitude.

 

Chuck loved the Air Force and being an Air Traffic Controller. He was sent to many duty stations around the world including Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, Khorat Air Base, Thailand, Bentwaters Air Base, England, Hahn Air Base, Germany, Fairchild Air Force Base, in Washington state (where his three children were born), and finally Buckley Air Force Base (now Space Force Base) near Denver, Colorado where he finished his distinguished military career as a Master Sergeant, running the Buckley Air Traffic Control Tower.

 

When the State of Colorado assumed control of the Buckley tower in the late 1990s, Chuck was immediately invited to become the Air Traffic Manager. He managed that tower with excellence, and saw it through many changes and challenges especially after 9/11 when it became a 24/7 national security asset with little staffing. Throughout his 20 years as a state controller until he finally retired in 2020, Chuck was recognized by the Governor of Colorado, numerous Air National Guard Bureau inspectors, and Air Force inspectors as one of the most effective tower managers in the country.

While Chuck’s career was successful beyond measure, his biggest legacy was the people he connected with along the way and the impact he had upon them. His children, Alexa, Steven and Sarah are his crown jewels. He became an amazing step-father to Colin. He and Deb had the good fortune of having that ‘later in life’ marriage that was a joy to them both. Chuck built amazing relationships with people who became his friends on base. He hunted for many years with a group of Air Traffic Controller friends. He got into hiking fourteeners and running races with other friends. As he moved into retirement, he focused on golfing, developing even more friendships.

Chuck was well-suited to retirement when he finally did so in 2020. There was no ‘now what’ moment for him. He was on a mission to jump into the next phase of life. This included gardening, cooking, teaching himself piano, gaming (he was like a teenager with his Xbox), working out, traveling to see his friends in North Carolina to golf and hang out, spending time with his family, playing numerous and simultaneous games of ‘Words With Friends’ with Deb (12 years non-stop), making the best cocktails on the planet and generally being happy. He was living his best life.

When Chuck was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in August, 2022, the shock and awe of that diagnosis, and the fear, turned into a mission of ‘how do we handle this?’ ‘What do we do next?’ for him. Chuck’s stoic, rational mind took over. No matter what indignity he suffered throughout the last ten months of his life, he never lost his temper with anyone. He kept his snarky dry humor with the doctors to the very last days of his life in the most unthinkable circumstances. His courage and just abundant kindness made him friends all over MD Anderson Cancer Center. On a stormy Houston morning, June 4th, at 2:20 AM, with us surrounding his bed holding him and telling him how much we loved him and that we would look after each other, he let go and left his suffering behind.

Chuck’s story will not end as long as his loved ones remember him. His legacy lives on in all of his friends and family. We carry him forward in our hearts.

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