Charles “Chuck” R. Bair, 70, Wabash, died 6:26 p.m., Sunday, May 16, 2021, at Ashton Creek Health and Rehab Center in Fort Wayne. He was born April 11, 1951, along with his twin brother Richard, in Mishawaka, to Joseph L. and Mary Margaret (Miller) Bair.
Growing up, Chuck participated in several church activities, choir, and Boy Scouts. His family eventually moved to Royal Oak, Michigan, where he graduated from Royal Oak Dondero High School in 1969. Chuck then enlisted in the Marines and was sent to the Vietnam War for a two-year tour. After his discharge in 1971, he started attending Grand Valley State College. Upon graduation, he landed a teaching job at Lagro Elementary in the fall of 1975. There he met Sharon Dean (a fellow teacher). They married on March 31st, 1979.
Once Lagro Elementary closed in 1980, he started teaching at Sharp Creek Elementary. That is where he remained until retirement. Teaching wasn’t just a job for him—it was a passion. He not only taught, but also worked with after school programs. These included Odyssey of the Mind (later Destination Imagination) and robotics teams.
He and four other educators founded the summer school program Science In Motion (where there were three levels, grouped by age). These programs enabled students to travel and camp all over the US. Science In Motion was a great experience for the many students who participated over several years. Chuck loved sports and coached his daughters’ basketball and soccer teams, along with a girls summer softball league, and elementary girls basketball and elementary boys basketball and football teams. He rooted for Purdue in football and basketball; professionally, he backed Detroit teams: Lions, Red Wings, and Tigers.
With his family, Chuck attended the Wabash First United Methodist Church, where he was a mentor for several confirmands throughout the years, taught Sunday School, and was a member of several committees. He enjoyed family vacations with his wife and kids, primarily to Brown County and Disney World. His biggest joy in recent years has been his granddaughter, Eleanor. They enjoyed playing on “their” swing set and exploring outdoors, reading and playing imaginary games indoors, and taking drives around Wabash in his truck.
He is survived by his wife, Sharon Bair of Wabash; two daughters, Jessi (Chris) Bair-Wilkening of Wabash; and Erica Bair of Indianapolis; granddaughter, Eleanor Wilkening of Wabash; four brothers: Richard Bair of Cleveland, Ohio; Mark (Kathie) Bair and Jack (Fawn) Bair, both of Warren, Mich.; and Dan Bair of Farmington Hills, Mich.; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Michael Bair; sister-in-law, Kim Bair; and his father and mother in-law, Thomas and Virginia Dean.
Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, May 25, at Grandstaff-Hentgen Funeral Service, 1241 Manchester Avenue, Wabash, with Erica Bair and Pastor Nathan Whybrew officiating. Burial will be in Falls Cemetery, Wabash. Friends may call 2-7 p.m. Monday, at the funeral home. The family requests masks be worn.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Robotics Team at Sharp Creek Elementary, Wabash Carnegie Library, and (per Chuck’s final wishes) his granddaughter’s college fund.