December 29, 1928 ~ May 1, 2020

Born in: Charleston, WV
Resided in: Stone Mountain, GA

Charles Edward Gearing, age 91, died on May 1, 2020 after a brief illness.

“Charlie” grew up in the Salvation Army and graduated from high school in Dallas, TX. After receiving his undergraduate degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology, he married the love of his life, Carol Dodd Gearing, and then served in the United States Army Signal Core in the Korean War. Upon his return from Korea, he and Carol were blessed with three daughters – Marla, Amanda and Melanie, and Charlie completed a doctorate degree at Purdue University. Charlie taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dartmouth College, the State University of New York in Binghamton, and the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. He also served as Dean of the College of Management at the Georgia Institute of Technology and retired from Georgia Tech as Vice-President of Development.

Charlie never met a stranger. He was passionate about his church, and served in various positions at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta. He was instrumental in the establishment of several ongoing ministries that originated at St. Bartholomew’s, including the Nicholas House shelter for homeless families and the Toco Hills Community Alliance which provides food and financial assistance to families in need. He helped establish the partnership between St. Bartholomew’s and St. Marc’s parish in Bois Blanc, Haiti, traveling to Haiti several times himself. St. Bartholomew’s was more than his church; it was his family. He was particularly well known for greeting any and all new faces after Sunday morning services, rendering a quiet, undetected exit a virtual impossibility for any newcomer.

Charlie was ordained a deacon in the Episcopal Church in 1993, and also served as Archdeacon of the Diocese of Atlanta. After his retirement from GA Tech, Charlie served the local and national Episcopal church as a development officer, helping many parishes and dioceses across the US increase financial security through stewardship and planned giving. He was instrumental in the formation of the legacy society, The Heirs of Anna and Simeon, at St. Bartholomew’s. Charlie played a key role in many other organizations as well, including the Alzheimer’s Association and Kids4Peace, an organization that strives for peace in the middle east by facilitating friendships among children of different faiths in Jerusalem and Palestine.

Charlie and Carol were original members at the Park Springs retirement community in Stone Mountain. They made many friends, and naturally found ways to serve in that community as well. In particular, Charlie established and, for many years, led the Environmental Team at Park Springs. He could frequently be found around the Park Springs campus overseeing the collection of electronics, medications, textiles, etc. for recycling.

Though Charlie gave so much to others, he excelled best at being a husband, father and grandfather. Charlie and Carol were married for 67 wonderful years, and Charlie adored his wife. Charlie was an excellent father to three daughters, and a most involved and caring grandfather (“Papa”) to five grandchildren. His family knew him as a loving supporter with a witty sense of humor who attended every event possible for his children and grandchildren. Many summers were enjoyed together at the Isle of Palms where Papa would lead baseball games, sand castle building, kite flying and boogie boarding.

Charlie will be missed by many, as he gave so much to so many. Charlie’s legacy is the love that he passed on to his wife, children, and grandchildren, and the gifts he shared with his extended family and friends at St. Bartholomew’s, Park Springs and the many other organizations with which he was involved.

Charlie is survived by his wife Carol; three daughters: Marla Gearing, Amanda (Dan) Sanders, and Melanie (Ken) Struble, five grandchildren: Trent, Jenni, Allie (Brett Williams), Kara and Jacob; brother Ray Gearing of Livingston, TX; and numerous nieces and nephews. Two siblings, Fred and Wini, preceded him in death. A celebration of Charlie’s life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Kids4Peace International (https://k4p.org/; select “international” under “campaign” on the donate page) or St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church (https://secure.accessacs.com/access/oglogin.aspx?sn=99401; select “miscellaneous” and indicate “in memory of Charles Gearing” for the memo).

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  1. CandleImageThinking of Charlie makes me smile – he was warm, strong, compassionate, and such such fun. I met Charlie at St. Bart’s in Atlanta – he was my youth minister there – so I was maybe 11? Two of Carol and Charlie’s daughters were part of the group and soon Carol, Charlie and the Gearings felt like family.

    Charlie loved to connect people and as leader of our youth group he introduced us to services at other faith denominations and synagogues as part of his ministry – a connected faith – bridges not walls. Charlie introduced me to the place where Martin Luther King preached in Atlanta – Ebenezer Baptist. Charlie was always coming up with crazy ideas for how we could raise money or do good – always fun, funny, “opening a real can of worms.”

    Charlie, like my dad, was surrounded by a household of women. As a result, as great and as good as he was, he was never allowed get too big a head . . . his daughters (and I count myself among his many surrogate daughters) were too good at teasing him – and he loved it.

    Charlie did great things thought don’t get me wrong. I have known few people who have done as much good, spread as much love, and had as much quiet influence as Charlie did.

    He had a great impact on my life.

    I will miss the laughter most and enjoy it when thinking of Charlie. The shared hard times, the shared good news and bad, the shared meals, prayers, and love – I will enjoy all these thinking of Charlie. I will miss the hugs and will look for the hand on my shoulder and know I have another saint in heaven close at hand.

    Prayers of thanks for the grace of God in bringing this kind, wonderful man to life and for carrying him safely into the light.

    My prayers and sympathy to you Mel, Mandy, Marla and all your family.

  2. Prayers that The Comforter will grant peace for all who loved and shared experiences with “Charlie”. I didn’t know him personally but it appears that he touched the lives of many in a loving and meaningful way. He lived such a giving and sharing manner. What a loss for those who knew and loved him. He lived a life that I know Our Father in heaven will say, “Well done my good and Faithful servant “. Marla I pray His strength and Grace be with you and your family.
    Betty Myers, TCS Sop 1

  3. Ray your brother touched many me included. I hope you are well and safe. Thinking of you in your loss.

  4. CandleImageCharlie was a caring, kind compassionate man. I’m fortunate to have known him through the Ga Tech PEACH program. I’ll always remember the evening runs with Joe, Charlie and Gary. An amazing man who gave so much to help others.

  5. CandleImageRonald & Juanita Ellis
    May God’s grace, mercy and peace rest in you and yours in this time of sorrow.

  6. Charlie Gearing was one of a kind and in my life, only my father ranked higher on my list of mentors. He was the kindest, most diplomatic, smartest, most-persistent, most gently persuasive, hard-working man I have ever known. I remember his last “retirement party” where Will Reece said that the only thing Charlie had ever failed miserably at was retirement (I think this may have been his 3rd attempt at retirement!). Charlie met me on my way out of St. Barts on my very first visit and before I knew what hit me, I was his travel companion to Haiti. He knew how to make each of us better, better than we thought we could be. But we can all only wish to live life 110% like Charlie did. Thanks to the entire Gearing family for sharing this wonderful soul with the rest of us. He was an unforgettable influence on so many of us and the world is a better place for all that he gave us. I will miss him terribly.

  7. Charlie was my mentor in the EFM program at St Bartholomew’s. He was a wonderful, kind, caring leader for our group and he helped me find my way in a difficult time. To the Gearing family… thank you for sharing Charlie with so many of us. I am deeply grateful for his role in my life.

  8. CandleImageHearing of dear Charlie’s passing hit me hard. I had the great pleasure of working with Charlie during the many years I was on the Vestry, the Endowment Committee, Kids4Peace and Toco Hills Community Alliance. His guidance both spiritually and as a leader has given me the tools to continue serving others.

    Traveling to Jerusalem while serving o the board of K4P with Charlie gave me an opportunity to know Charlie on a more personal level, hearing his story about he and Carol’s meeting and early life and hearing how lovingly he spoke of his children and grandchildren was so wonderful. My life is better for having known Charlie and his teachings will be with me forever.

    Peace and prayers to the entire Gearing family and all who were lucky to have crossed paths with him. RIP my friend.

  9. When Nedra and I first became Bartians, we joined a Foyers group that included Charlie and Carol. What a lovely way to get acquainted with St. Bart’s! John Roberts

  10. Charlie truly was a man who wanted everyone to be the best version of themselves. He will be missed by all the hearts he touched.

  11. CandleImageSo many memories of Charlie:

    Singing the Exsultet at the opening of the Great Vigil; bouncing up on his toes while exclaiming “Go in peace…” at the end of every service; coming up to buttonhole me in the Parish hall and knowing that I was not going to be able to say “no”; explaining the impossibility of fund-raising without adult beverages; having an answer to any question, sacred or profane; a story of traveling for the Salvation Army on the other side of the Iron Curtain with all his girls in a VW van; his introducing me to so many passionate Kids4Peace leaders; the way he carried his prayer book; his teaching; his laugh; his devotion to Carol.

    I will miss you, my friend.

  12. CandleImageI worked with Charlie for decades at St. Bartholomew’s. My first conversations with him came about when I was in charge of Stewardship for the St. Bartholomew’s Vestry, and Charlie gave me advice gained from his long experience at GA Tech in fund-raising. Next, I followed him in the late 1970s as President of the Board of Nicholas House. The founding of Nicholas House was a time of great advance both for helping homeless families in Atlanta (it was the first such shelter in “the ATL”) as well as for giving parishioners a chance to show that they could not only “talk the talk,” but also “walk the walk.” Behind the scenes, it was also a time of turmoil between the then-Rector of the church and the Board as the shelter moved out of the main church building and into a frame structure across the back parking lot. The stress of the separation was amplified by the requirement that, as a recipient of Federal (HUD) funds, there had to be an independent Board, separate from the church administration. As the first President of the Board, Charlie handled the interpersonal challenges in his typical calm and deliberate way. Being nearly 20 years younger than Charlie, and residing as a faculty person in the Ivory Tower of Emory University, I was inexperienced in such things and greatly valued his giving me the voice of reason and experience over the next several often tumultuous years. I last saw him only a few months ago, as I am on yet another Board which Charlie had been on, the Memorial Society of Georgia (an organization devoted to helping people obtain dignified yet less expensive funerals). I delighted in telling him of what we had been doing in response to the new era of the Internet, when people can shop online for end-of-life “deals.” He was still the same committed Charlie, employing his superior intellect and social skills to help others. I looked at Charlie and Carol as a model couple, both having their own interests yet supporting an enduring marriage and raising wonderful daughters. He was a light in the darkness, and deserving of every accolade possible!

  13. CandleImageWe only met him one time but that one time left a lasting impression of a man that was dedicated to the love of his family and his deep service to God.

  14. CandleImageWe will miss you Charlie. Your presence made all of those around you a little brighter and joyful.

  15. CandleImageCharlie was a remarkable man and he has touched many lives. The words, “The Lord loves a cheerful giver” spring to my mind when thinking of him. He not only saw the big picture but he also noticed the small things. One Sunday he came over to me and requested that the Flower Guild make flower vases for the restrooms. He said he thought that it would be nice and a gesture of hospitality.

  16. CandleImageDear Charlie,
    He was the deacon when I first became a verger and when my daughter became an acolyte. He was so patient working with me for services and was always ready to do whatever was needed. He “convinced me” to become part of the Endowment Board at St. Bart’s and i loved working with him and moving it forward. His dismissal after the services was truly joyful!! He will be truly missed.

  17. Charlie was a wonderful man and a great mentor to so many of us who worked in the various Episcopal Church stewardship and planned giving programs. May he rest in peace!

  18. CandleImageCharlie was a dear friend through our stewardship work with The Episcopal Network for Stewardship [TENS] where he welcomed all with his generous spirit and guided all with his quiet, loving wisdom. What a joy to have known you; no doubt your Lord has welcomed his good and faithful servant.

  19. Rest in peace good and faithful servant Charles. Charlie and I spoke at stewardship conferences and coauthored a book together for ECF. My favorite memory was speaking in Seattle WA on his 70th birthday and during our break I hired a seaplane to fly over the city and the Gates estate. We laughed and made it back in time to finish our talks. He was fun,generous and joyful and the Episcopal Church was lucky to have his strong faith and faithful leadership. May he rest in peace and rise in Glory. Please know that your family is in my prayers and how much he loved you all.

  20. CandleImageChimen and I got to know Charlie and Carol in our first Foyers a few years back. Our first Foyers meeting was kicked off in Carol and Charlie’s home in The Park Springs community. What a special energy and dynamic there was in that Foyers group and what a special man Charlie was.
    Charlie’s is one of the best examples I know of what I think living the Christian message should be. What a kind, giving, loving, joyful man; a real gentleman. His was a life well lived.
    You are remembered and missed, dear Charlie.
    Sending prayers out for Carol, Marla and her sisters, and all the rest of Charlie’s family.

  21. Charlie was as kind, gentle, and generous a person as I’ve ever known. He was also exceedingly knowledgable and willing to share what he knew and had experienced with other. I treasure the times I spent with him. May he rest in peace.

  22. CandleImageCharlie was a wonderful man and a good friend to all. He will be missed.
    Blessings for the family and know you are held firmly in the palm of Gods hands.

  23. I will miss Charles. He was so interested in our family genealogy and had talked with me many times about this. I enjoyed these discussions and will miss his passion on this subject.

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