Charles J. "Charlie" Mueller
June 07, 1922 - April 05, 2017
Charles J. "Charlie" Mueller, age 94, a resident of Romeoville, IL, formerly of Chicago and Plainfield, IL, passed away on Wednesday, April 5, 2017. He was born June 7, 1922 in Chicago, IL, the sixth of eight children of Andrew and Catherine Mueller. Their neighborhood on the south side of Chicago was mostly German immigrants made up of hard-working stock.
Charlie loved weather reporting and did so from an early age. He remembered that his mother would send him out to see which way the winds were blowing in order for her to decide whether or not to hang out the laundry because at that time homes were heated with coal and the skies were filled with smoke and ash.
St. Raphael’s Catholic School was the neighborhood school and most of the nuns were from Germany. When he started elementary school, his father spied an Irish boy, Gene McGrail, who was very smart and he told Charlie to hitch his star to that boy and he did for the next 90 years!
Both Gene and Charlie’s dads died when the boys were in elementary school. Because they excelled academically, they received scholarships to St. Rita High School where they rotated as being first or second in the class for all four years. While there, Charlie was an officer of his class for all four years, president his senior year, head of Cisca, local Honor Society President, trackster, and president of the Chicago Unit of the National Honor Society.
Charlie was still passionate about weather reporting – even beating the weatherman from the Chicago Tribune in a weather-reporting contest so when World War II broke out, he was hoping that there was a place for those skills. He would regularly report to the Army Air Corps Headquarters in Chicago hoping for a chance but at least 2 years of college were required. He had received a scholarship to the University of Chicago but those were the days of the Depression and no Social Security. Each of his older brothers had to work to support the family and could not go to college or get married until the next brother could do so. At that time, he was helping to support his mother and his two younger sisters. As the world heated up, the requirements started dropping. After Pearl Harbor, most boys who wanted to enlist in the Army Air Corps were accepted.
He enlisted, took many tests, and found out that his skills would fit those of a navigator. Junior (as his flight crew called him because he was so young) navigated many missions until his B-17 was shot down in enemy territory in August of 1944. He was MIA for several months but finally ended up in Stalag Luft III, the site of the Great Escape. He remained in a POW camp until released by General Patton in 1945.
Returning to Chicago, he went to DePaul University on the GI Bill. After several aptitude tests, he decided to become a high school physics teacher. While there, he met the love of his life, Lenore Zaleski, and they were married on June 5, 1948.
He began his teaching career at Dunbar Vocational High School, eventually becoming an assistant principal, and remained there until he retired. Lenore and he moved to Carillon where they got involved in all things “Aberdeen.” After Lenore’s death, Charlie moved to Senior Star and loved every minute of it. His children truly appreciate the love, care, and attention he received while there, particularly from his friend Jina.
Beloved husband of the late Lenore Mueller, loving father of Susan (“Kaz”) Kazlusky, Marilyn (Mike) Krzus, Mark (Nancy Leases) Mueller, Beth (Bob) Johnson, and Scott (Patty) Mueller; adored grandfather of Allison (Chad) Neff, Jeremy (Aileen) Parks, Wendy (Ben Miraski) Kazlusky, Matt Krzus, Andrew Mueller, and Carly Krzus; cherished great-grandfather of Charlie, Samantha and Parker Neff; Logan and Aiden Parks, and step-great-grandfather of Danny Flores and Tony Leverenz; dear brother of Margaret Hecht, brother-in-law of Richard (Beverly) Zaleski, fond uncle of many, including Paul, Mike and Joseph Mueller, great-uncle and friend to many including dear friend, Pat McGrail.
Visitation Sunday, April 9, 2017, 2:00-6:00 PM at Overman-Jones Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 15219 S. Joliet Rd., Plainfield, IL.
Services will begin Monday, April 10, 10:30 AM from the funeral home and will proceed to an 11:00 AM Mass of Christian Burial at St. Mary Immaculate Catholic Church, 15629 S. Route 59, Plainfield.
Future Inurnment: Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, Elwood, IL.
For more information, please call (815) 436-9221.
For those who would like to leave a lasting tribute to Charlie's life, memorials can be made to:
Illinois Veterans Home, 1 Veteran's Dr, Manteno, IL 60950, (815) 468-6581
American Cancer Society, 1801 Meyers Rd #100, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181, (630) 932-1151, www.cancer.org