Charles Perdue, 88, of Des Moines and formerly of Oskaloosa, passed away Nov. 22, 2013, at Taylor House Hospice in Des Moines.
Charles Emery Perdue, son of Charles Burton and Twylia Creola (Baker) Perdue, was born March 14, 1925, in Woodburn in Clarke County. Due to his father’s health, the family moved to Colorado when Charles was a boy of 10. Life was very hard for the family and when Charles was 11, his father died and the family returned to Iowa. He earned money any way he could to help his mother. His love of agriculture began when he worked for an uncle on his farms. He was a 1942 graduate of Osceola High School and then attended Osceola Junior College for one year. He enlisted in the Army Air Force in 1943 at age 17. After graduating as a Second Lieutenant, he served as a pilot instructor in Texas until the end of the war. Because of the G.I. Bill, he was able to enroll at Iowa State University where he graduated in 1948 with a BS in Education degree. While at Iowa State, he married Dorothy Fern Reitzel on Dec. 20, 1947, in Osceola. After his graduation, he took his first teaching job as an agricultural instructor in Donnelson. In June 1951, the Perdues returned to Ames where Charles continued his education, receiving his Master’s degree in 1952. Charles then took a position as vocational agricultural instructor with Oskaloosa High School. Charles taught for 36 years at Oskaloosa High School. He particularly enjoyed teaching farm shop skills such as welding and small equipment construction. He was involved in many extracurricular activities as well, serving as the F.F.A. advisor and teaching Adult Farmer Classes. Charles and Dorothy got into the rental and home renovation business in the late 70s and following his retirement in 1989, this side business turned into a full-time job. He took great pride in his properties, always wanting them to reflect positively on his community. He also found time to serve as a bus driver for the Oskaloosa Schools. Charles was awarded the O.E.A. “Friend of Education” award for his service to the district. Over the years, Charles enjoyed calling for square dancing, motorcycling, traveling, family camping trips, and spending time at the Lake of the Ozarks where he and Dorothy built a vacation home. He was an avid tree planter — he believed that trees span the generations and they were his gift to future generations. Following Dorothy’s death in 2007, Charles married Phyllis Blom Childers on Feb. 2, 2008, in Oskaloosa. Phyllis and Charles resided in Des Moines and enjoyed five years of marriage, working on her farm, traveling, and garage saleing. In Oskaloosa he was a member of the Y’s Men’s Club, the American Legion, and the Central United Methodist Church, where he served in numerous capacities throughout the years. Most recently he attended the New Life Church in Des Moines.