Charles Oliver Durocher
July 7, 1920 - September 30, 2004



Charles Oliver Durocher died peacefully on the morning of September 30, 2004, in East Lansing Michigan. A devout Roman Catholic all his life, he received the Last Rites and was comforted in his last days by his family and many friends. He is survived by his second wife Anna Nell Durocher.

He was born in Detroit Michigan July 7, 1920 to Otto and Louise Durocher. He had a brother Robert Durocher (predeceased) and he leaves behind three sisters, Mary Ann, Genevieve and Joan.

In the year 1943, he demonstrated great wisdom in his choice of his life partner - marrying Alba Estrella Sanchez Lopez (predeceased 1992) in San Juan Puerto Rico. They produced eight wonderful children: Dianne Louise, Charles Oliver Jr., Yvette Marie, Dennis Anthony, Michael Louis, Lorraine Cecile, Andrew Paul, Gerard Jerome.

His children produced the following loving grandchildren: Bryan, David, Joseph, Nicole, Jeffrey, Remy, Corrine, and Jacob. He has one great granddaughter, Adeline Estrella. He leaves behind dozens of nephews, nieces and grandnephews as well as hundreds of dear friends who knew him and loved him.

Charles Oliver Durocher left his mark on the history into which he was born. He became a pilot at the age of 20 and enlisted in the U.S Navy where he served as an aviator during WWII in the Caribbean and the South Pacific and later served during the Korean War. He was decorated for flying 38 combat missions in the Solomon Islands area with the famous Black Cat Squadron and piloting 29 combat missions during the Korean conflict. He was greatly respected by those who served with him.

He retired from the Navy with the rank of Commander in 1962 then returned to the State of his birth and to East Lansing where he attended Michigan State University, earning a Bachelors Degree in Economics and a Masters Degree in Political Science. Soon afterwards, he began a career with the State of Michigan which included assignments with Michigan’s Department of Health, Executive Office of the Governor, and Department of State. He also served as regional director for the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.

During his entire lifetime he loved music and shared it with his children and always had a wide variety of music in the home including jazz, calypso, reggae, classical, blues, folk and Latin American. His love of music gave him an ear that let him play many instruments without being able to read a note.

He taught his children, by example, to appreciate cultural diversity by welcoming visitors into his home from countries like Argentina, Japan and South Africa. He always showed the greatest respect to his entire Puerto Rican family whenever they visited his home. By his example, his children learned great lessons and they will miss their Dad’s wit and wisdom, and are comforted in knowing that his memory will always be present in their lives.

Lansing area services will be held at Gorsline-Runciman Funeral Home, East Chapel, 1730 East Grand River Ave., East Lansing, MI 48823 (517-337-9745). Visitations are scheduled from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on both Saturday, October 2 and Sunday, October 3. Funeral services are being held Monday, October 4 at 4:00 p.m. Burial will be in Arlington National Cemetery on December 29 at 12:45 p.m.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to Heartland Home Health Care & Hospice, 700 W. Ash St., Mason, MI 48854 (attn: Michelle Newman).

 

 


Services Information

Visitation
Sat., Oct 2, 2004
2:00 pm
Gorsline-Runciman Funeral Home
1730 East Grand River Ave
East Lansing, MI 48823
Visitation
Sun., Oct 3, 2004
2:00 pm
Gorsline-Runciman Funeral Home
1730 East Grand River Ave
East Lansing, MI 48823
Funeral
Mon., Oct 4, 2004
4:00 pm
Gorsline-Runciman Funeral Home
1730 East Grand River Ave
East Lansing, MI 48823
Burial
Wed., Dec 29, 2004
12:00 pm
Arlington National Cemetery
Washington D.C.,

Guestbook

YvetteIrving and Lizette Lugo
Tio Harry SanchezHeriberto Sanchez
Heriberto SanchezWhile we had only met The Commander once, we could
Brett and Gwen CookConnie J. Lucia
Kristy Lucia WallaceJim Slater
Milagros M. SanchezBill Horne and Claire Kujundzic
Steve EzopSuntrust Bank Suntree Florida
FR Bob Wiseman, CSCWhen I think of Papa, I cannot help but think of
Lud & Martha (Kurtz) PickettSteven & Starr Holmes
I only met Charlie once, so I can't really say thaLinda Pellandini
Sheila Alexander Durocherson
Yvette Marie (Durocher) SchroederI was in Orlando this past weekend and happened up
I was in Orlando this past weekend and happened upI was in Orlando this past weekend and happened up
Jose G SanchezVirginia Balint
Virginia BalintPeggy & John Hotchkiss
Remy DurocherTo Andy: You should be proud of your dad's great
Bill & Blanca PennanenDonna Schiber
Margarita and Max AbramMargarita and Max Abram
Remembering My Dad -- Charles O. DurocherWilliam Roege
Allen BatesBarbara Mack
Beverly and Keith SchroederCindy Josvai
David ArnoldEvelyn (Cookie) Cook
Greg McDonaldHaving met Charles Durocher only briefly on a coup
Hugh GarveyJoan Briggs
Kevin and Donna GallagherSuzette Levin-Paul
Christine Vandervoort & Rick OthoudtCindi
Cindi McKenneyCorinne Durocher
David BusheyJan Brahms & David Reneric
Laurel WinkelPaul Roege

Tributes

By: Yvette Schroeder Jan 2, 2006
In remembrance of the Dec. 29th Arlington Service

Yvette, Joe, Rachel, Adi, Nicole and Jeff held our glass high in a toast to our father, grandfather and greatgrandfather.

Gone but never forgotten.
By: Yvette (Durocher) Schroeder Jan 3, 2005
Dear Family and Friends,

It is impossible for me to thank you for ALL the love and support.

Thank you is a small word that is filled with my gratitude.

Thank you for all your efforts to arrive at Fort Myer's Chapel at 12:45 on December 29, 2004.

It is the day we buried our father, grandfather, greatgrandfather, brother, uncle, life long friend.

The ceremony was beautiful, the weather was perfect, the respect and reverence was awesome.

The music, the song selections, the beautiful black horses pulling the casson. The sounds of their hoofs mixed with the music and the laughs and the tears. But the thing that lingers most in my mind is the melody of TAPS. It is a military tradition. It is composed of 24 notes. For a century and a half it has been played to honor our country's fallen heroes. My father was honored and the family is grateful.



TAPS

Day is done,

Gone the sun,

From the lake, from the hills, from the sky

All is well

Safely rest,

God is nigh.



Good night father, give mom a kiss for me.



Yvette
By: Tio Harry Sanchez Dec 20, 2004
Dear nephews and nieces:

My brother,the Commander,was a man of peace in

a struggling world.In time of war he fulfill his

duty with his Country with honor and always he was

a great man.I admire him very much for being such

a good husband and father.I an the last alive brother of Estrella. In my name and of my dead

brathers Fernando,William,Jorge,Marina and Libertad I express to his beloved family our

condolence and sorrow.Hasta luego Comandante!
By: Tio Harry Sanchez Dec 20, 2004
Dear nephews and nieces:

My brother,the Commander,was a man of peace in

a struggling world.In time of war he fulfill his

duty with his Country with honor and always he was

a great man.I admire him very much for being such

a good husband and father.I an the last alive brother of Estrella. In my name and of my dead

brathers Fernando,William,Jorge,Marina and Libertad I express to his beloved family our

condolence and sorrow.Hasta luego Comandante!
By: Lizette Sanchez-Lugo Dec 20, 2004
Hola familia,

Getting closer to Tio Chuck’s funeral ceremony I wanted to write a few lines and let you know how much he meant to us. When Titi Estrella died, tio Chuck made sure that the Puerto Rican side of the family stayed in touched. It was very important to him that all of us stayed connected. We called each other frequently and we especially looked forward to his summer visits with Annanel. Greensboro was one of the stops on their way to Michigan and for us it was a treat to have them in our home. Tio Chuck was so proud of all his children and grandchildren. He enjoyed talking about the accomplishments of each of them. His eyes sparkled every time he made comments about his family. I believe that there is an invisible but very solid rope that keeps us together. Even when we do not see each other frequently, the thoughts of love and family are always present. It was very special to get together with Lorraine and Greg in LA this past October, and I am looking forward to meeting with the rest of my primos y primas soon. I enjoy seeing Adi and Jacob’s pictures that Yvette sends and I hope I can see them soon too.

Love,

Lizette, Irving, Rocio, and Evan Lugo

Greensboro, North Carolina
By: Heriberto Sanchez Dec 18, 2004
Hello Cousins, I was saddened to hear the news about the loss of your dear father. I am also very sorry to respond so late. I found out recently from cousin Jose. I recall your lovely letters when my mother passed away. I apologize for not responding sooner. My last memory of uncle Chuck was with Estrella at my brother Harry's wedding back in 1987. It was very special that they came to Miami,because they represented my father's side of the family. It was one of those rare occassions where both sides of the family were present at the same time,celebrating a happy occassion. Weddings and funerals bring families together. I rode in the car with Chuck and Estrella.Chuck forever the commander was driving and directing. We struggled a bit w the directions but he got us to the church on time. His jovial spirit, never lacking a good story to tell made him the life of the party at the uncle's table.

Estrella was elegant and radiant. I'd like to share w you a memory of your Mom as well. Perhaps,it was the last time we spoke. We were talking about our upcoming trip to the Orient(my dad your Tio Harry,Estrella's only surviving brother, for those of you who don't know me). It was a father son trip to the Orient. A trip I failed to make w my Mom since she had passed away. I ended up making it w my Dad. Estrella shared with me that she had spoken to my Aunt Elba,my Mom's sister and that I was a good son, referring to how I took care of my Mother in her later stages and now I was going off on a trip w my Dad. This is something that you don't hear often,it did mean a lot to me coming from an aunt. Though we rarely see each other, that Sanchez spark that we feel when we meet is very special to me. The childhood memories of Dennis in PR. His wedding to Sarita in Mayaguez.

Andy and Gerry's visit to PR. Andy playing the guitar.

I still remember fondly, meeting w Lorraine when I moved to SF, she was going to move to LA. We clicked immediately. Later Diane came to visit while I was living in San Fracisco.Diane got distracted and ran into a pole, I instinctively hugged her and rubbed her forehead making sure she was ok. She told me she felt something about Estrella when I hugged her. It touched me she said that. Lucky for us they still live in us. I will be going back to PR for New Years will light a candle at the Cathedral in both of your parents memory. May the miracle of time ease your pain,love,Heriberto Sanchez, Miami Beach,Florida
By: Yvette Schroeder Nov 29, 2004
The family continues to visit the website and thank all for your kind words and beautiful sentiment.

It is a wonderful way to stay connected and know that the commander is remembered by all those that knew and loved him.

The burial will be December 29th at Arlington.

The ceremony will be beautiful. We hope to see many of you there as Charles and Estrella are reunited at their final resting place.

Thank you all for your cards, love and prayers.
By: Jim Slater Nov 20, 2004
I used to take Charlie to the shower and we used to kid about tranfering him from his wheelchair to the shower chair. We used to set the "landing gear" on his wheelchair then "land" on the shower chair. When he sat down a litle hard, he called that an "Air Force" landing. He called any landing he could walk away from a good landing. Charlie always greeted other residences as we went to and from the shower, usually asking them how they were doing. We joked about life in general and how my love-life was progressing. He had a great sense of humor, right up until he passed. I miss his wit and think of him often when I am in Timber Ridge seeing other patients. He spoke highly of his wives and children and of course his grandchildren. In his own way, he loved all of them. We often listened to music and shared CDs. It was an honor taking care of him.
By: Brett Cook Nov 13, 2004
I met Charlie through my mother,Evelyn Cook, who was one of several people who took care of Charlie. I had the great experience of taking care of Charlie one day driving him to church and taking him to the commissary on Patrick AirForce base. He was a wonderful person to be around and had an uncanny wit and sense of humor for a person of his age. I learned alot about myself by sharing that time with him and I will never forget "Uncle" Charlie and I am glad I met him and will dearly miss him as well.
By: Gwen Cook Nov 13, 2004
I met Charlie through my husband, Brett Cook, when he had the pleasure of taking Charlie to Church and Patrick AirForce Base. Charlie was always nice to everybody around him and I will always remember him with a smile on his face.
By: Bianca and Peter Glendinning Nov 1, 2004
We only met Mr. Durocher briefly, but we knew of him quite deeply through the love that Yvette showed for him in so many ways. What a special bond between father and daughter, an inspiration to us all and a fine reflection on the marvelous father, friend, and mentor he clearly was.
By: Connie Lucia Nov 1, 2004
Charlie was a very special friend and we have shared many laughs, confidences and memories. Some memories really standout..Charlie, Estrella, John and I were eating in a Chinese restaurant soemwhere in the Melbourne area. After finishing dinner, we (John, Estrella and I )all read our fortune cookie. We got to Charlie, he had swallowed the whole cookie! Estrella laughed til the tears rolled down and it was the best evening. Another time, we were dining at Patrick Air Force Base officers club when Charlie got very involved in the conversation of the people in the next table..like offering suggestions, opinions etc. John gently reminded him it was best to be a "passive" eavesdropper!! We loved Charlie and appreciated his uniqueness, talents and love for his family (and ours). I do not believe most people ever have the privilege of meeting a person so creative and caring.
By: Kristy Lucia Wallace Nov 1, 2004
Charlie and my dad (John Lucia)worked together for the State of Michigan--in different capacities-- and became very good friends. I have quite a few fond memories of both Charlie and Estrella. Charlie was the first person to pull my tooth while he and my dad were playing cards and drinking beer. My tooth was just dangling by a thread, but I wouldn't let anyone but Charlie help me pull it out. He tied a string around my tooth, attached the string to the door, and slammed the door shut! :o) Needless to say, I had a tooth to put under the pillow--thanks to Charlie (he also contributed to the Tooth Fairy fund).....Another time my parents and I were at Charlie and Estrella's house for a dinner party (I was around eleven). Charlie served me my first screwdriver--I had merely asked for a glass of orange juice! .....I also remember that he used to call me by the nickname "Spaghetti Eyes"--and he called my dad "Pepperoni." ..... I also remember him playing the piano and singing his heart out to the Fats Waller song, "I just can't love you cuz your feets too big!" ....I still laugh about that....Charlie was a very special friend to my parents and a special friend to me too. I miss him and will always remember him fondly.
By: Paul Roege Oct 16, 2004
Mr. Durocher inspired me from the time I was a kid. He had many talents - not to show off, but to experience life. His humility broke the ice and made friends wherever he went. He could tease you to no end, but you knew that it was a sign of love and respect. Thanks for bringing so much richness to my life - I hope I can share some of it with others before I go.
By: Nini De Jesus Oct 16, 2004
From Puerto Rico the De Jesus family sends our condolences to the Durocher family. We will always remember him as we pay tribute to his life. He will go straight up with Estrella and Jorge. Love,

De Jesus family
By: Durocher family Oct 14, 2004
Charles Oliver Durocher

Memorial Service Agenda and Transcript

October 4, 2004



3:50 - 10 minute video tribute (compilation of 30 pictures celebrating COD’s life) accompanied by a music CD of the Naval Choir singing:

- Eternal Father

- Navy Blue & Gold

- Anchors Away

- Mighty Navy Wings



4:00 - Opening Prayers by Rev. Steve Ezop



Eternal Father:

Eternal Father, strong to save,

Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,

Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep

Its own appointed limits keep;

Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,

For those in peril on the sea!



Lord, guard and guide the men who fly

Through the great spaces in the sky.

Be with them always in the air,

In darkening storms or sunlight fair;

Oh, hear us when we lift our prayer,

For those in peril in the air!



Opening words of Grace:

Jesus said, I am the resurrection and I am life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, yet shall they live and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. I died, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I hold the keys of hell and death. Because I live, you shall live also. Friends, we have gathered here to praise God and to witness to our faith as we celebrate the life o Charles. We come together in grief, acknowledging our human loss, May God grant us grace, that in pain we may find comfort, in sorrow hope, in death resurrection.



Prayer:

Eternal God, we praise you for the great company of all those who have finished their course in faith and now rest from their labor. We praise you for those dear to us whom we name in our hearts before you. Especially, we praise you for Charles, whom you have graciously received into your presence. To all of these, grant your peace. Let perpetual light shine upon them; and help us to believe where we have not seen, that your presence may lead us through our years, and bring us at last with them into the joy of your home not made with hands but eternal in the heavens; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



4:10 - Musical Break: Van Morrison Song - “Into the Mystic” sung by Andy Durocher



We were born before the wind

Also younger than the sun

Ere the bonnie boat was won as we sailed into the mystic

Hark, now hear the sailors cry

Smell the sea and feel the sky

Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic



And when that fog horn blows I will be coming home

And when the fog horn blows I want to hear it

I don't have to fear it



The Lord will take my gypsy soul

Way back in the days of old

And magnificently we will flow into the mystic



4:15 - Readings from Rev. Steve Ezop



Framing the Life - Charles O. Durocher Obituary

Charles Oliver Durocher was born in Detroit, Mi. on July 7, 1920, and died peacefully with family on September 30, 2004, at the age of 84. Charles was preceded in death by his parents, Otto and Louise Durocher, his brother, Robert Durocher and his beloved wife, Alba Estrella. Charles is survived by his second wife Anna Nell, his sisters, Mary Ann, Genevieve and Joan; his eight children, Dianne (husband Richard VanFulpen), Charles Jr., Yvette, Dennis (wife Sara), Michael (wife Wendy), Lorraine, Andrew (wife Dawn) and Gerard; eight grandchildren, Bryan, David, Joseph (wife Rachel), Nicole, Jeffrey, Remy, Corrine, and Jacob and one great-grandchild Adeline Estrella. Charles was a man who challenged people and loved to be challenged. Those who came to know this man will miss his wit, his rapid response, his smile and his love.



Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

and where there is sadness, joy.



O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek

to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen



When Death Comes - from “My Spirit Soars” by Chief Dan George

Death will be gentle with me.

Like and old friend dropping in to see me and asking me to come along for a stroll towards the sun.

I will not hesitate to entrust myself into his company. I will not pause in my steps to look back.

Or perhaps it will come while I am sitting in my soft chair, wrapped in my blanket, I will not sigh, so that the others can go on with their business thinking me to be asleep.

I will know then what I always suspected, that death is not a mystery but a guide to birth.

Birth---everything begins with it: Child, Plant, River, Earth and Sun, Stars....

That which we do not see or hear, the "Spirit Life" that some do fear.

My grandchild---you carry my blood and shelter my hopes.



4:25 - Testimonials from the following:



From Rev. Steve Ezop - Reflections on Charlie:

Charlie was the type of man who loved to be the center of attention and needed to know what was going on. He would take it upon himself to learn when he was presented with unknown situations so that he would be prepared the next time.



Having the "life of the party attitude" drove Charlie and sometimes got in the way, as it led to medical problems in later life. It was a defining factor of his personality. It helped drive Charlie to be a lover of people and of different cultures. It helped drive his appetite for education.



Charlie loved his family. He knew that he had not necessarily been the best father at all times, admitting to me that he had been terrible at times, but that had not stopped the love. Being the proud man that he was, Charlie rarely asked for forgiveness but knew when he had made mistakes and was sorry for them. He had a very high sense of honor with his life and his careers. It was his stubborn pride that got in the way at times.



From the age of 13, Charlie had to take on duties of a leader. The injury to his father threw him into a "provider" role. He went through the depression, started college, entered the Navy, went to war, served a career in the Navy, took his wife and children and went back to school, (the BEST school!) and continued on in life. He served Governors and held other government offices before retiring really!



Charlie's first wife, Estrella, was the pearl in his eye and opened her culture to him. Not bad for a woman who he said he would marry when he first saw her! She gave him a lovely family and after retirement they were active in the Puerto Rican Society in Florida. Charlie stayed in Florida after Estrella died and eventually he met Anna Nell. They shared many loves, such as dancing and golf. Charlie cared for her as long as he could until Alzheimer's made it impossible for him to continue.



Charlie's appreciation of beauty in life was always apparent. It could be beautiful music, Art or people, Charlie enjoyed how they added to his life and to all life. His love of music gave him an ear that let him learn to play many instruments without being able to read music. Charlie looked for accomplishments in life and there was no goal that was to small. At one time his goal was to bring back all of the planes that left his flight deck, In later years, he felt that being able to care for Anna Nell safely was the goal. Even at the end, Charlie had said, "Getting up in the morning and getting into my wheelchair is pretty damn good." Charlie has touched many lives and probably more than he realized, but he did it all with a zeal for life that was contagious. It is something that we all now have with us for knowing Charlie.



Charlie once told me that he had made some serious mistakes with how he raised his children. He said that he was very demanding and couldn't accept some outcomes that happened. He once told me that he wasn't sure if he was going to heaven to see his loved ones because of this. We spoke of forgiveness and he said that he was truly sorry for the mistakes that he had made. He understood that God always forgives when you go to God with a contrite heart and true remorse for your actions. Charlie was at peace, for he knew that God had heard him. He loved all that he knew and shared the love of Jesus.



From Lorraine DuRocher (daughter) - read by Dianne Charles VanFulpen (daughter)

When I was looking for words to say about The Commander I recalled the comic strip “Peanuts”. If I didn’t know better I would bet that Charles Schultz was a personal friend of our family and used us as inspiration. If you think about it there are definite similarities between our family and the Peanuts characters. We have the humor - conflicts - love - practicality - frustrations - and all of us can be blockheads. All of these traits can be traced back to The Commander. In every one of Dad’s children you will find a chip off the old block and sometimes a chip off the blockhead. Since the comic strip was so popular - I guess we weren’t so different from other families.



There were many sides of Charles Durocher. No one knows all of them. We each only got what he chose to share with us. Some of the things he expressed have no value now. When we lose a significant person in our life we go through an emotional earthquake. And after an earthquake you look through the rubble and keep what is worth saving and let go of the rest. The most obvious keepsake to me about The Commander is his courage and passion.



Whenever I hear the line from the Beatles song: “A Little Help from My Friends” that asks: “Would you believe in a love at first sight?” I think of Dad falling in love with my mom. After Estrella died in 1992 he told us the story of how he fell in love with my mom. He was on R and R in Puerto Rico and looked at her across the room and said to his friend: “ You see that pretty girl - I’m going to marry her.”



Who would have thought this tough guy could be such a romantic? You will find that same quality in his offspring; also the courage and passion. Not all fathers possessed these qualities to pass on to their children. I feel fortunate.



From Dianne Charles VanFulpen (daughter) - verse from Eternal Father

And when at length her course is run,

Her work for home and country done,

Of all the souls that in her sailed

Let not one life in thee have failed;

But hear from heaven our sailor's cry,

And grant eternal life on high!



From Dennis Durocher (son) - Remembering My Dad - read by Rev. Steve Ezop

Of the thousand of mental image and pictures of my Dad, some of the most treasured are photos taken on a visit to Puerto Rico in 1981. One photo shows my Mom and Dad walking along the beach in Buye, Cabo Rojo. They were joyfully holding hands with my children, Remy and Corinne. What a great and relaxing day surrendering to fun, sunshine, shade of coconut palms, swimming, family, in-laws, laughter, great food and cold drinks.



The Durocher family photo albums are full of black and white photos my Dad took of all of us as kids having fun on the beaches of Coronado and Pensacola. My Dad was a very organized person and travel plans and outings were almost always organized with military precision, yet we always managed to have great fun.



Upon reflection, it just may be that is why I so treasure the memories on the beach in Puerto Rico. I was able to see my Dad and Mom open to life’s little unplanned surprises presented to them that glorious and fun day.



The lesson here is to be open to experience life’s unexpected surprises that come our way each day - it enriches beyond measure.



I am forever grateful to my sister Yvette, my brothers Andy, Mike and Charlie who accompanied our Dad on his flight to Michigan. This effort made it possible for him to spend the last months of his life surrounded by family and friends old and new.



I am particularly grateful that my wife Sara and I were able to surprise him with a visit to Michigan in May - to share news about family & friends in British Columbia, to share in his wit, to listen to music together, to laugh, to cry and to bid each other a fond farewell.



how fortunate are you and I, whose home

is timelessness: we who have wandered down

from fragrant mountains of eternal now

to frolic in such mysteries as birth

and death a day (or maybe even less)

-- E.E. Cummings



From Michael Durocher (son)

I have come here today to honor my father.

The man that seemed almighty in my youth.

A man of faith who taught me that; Without doubt

you can not have reason. He was an intelligent man and I am proud to call him my father.



Poem:

My tears are shed

my eyes are dry

and for now I will survive

I am glad to see him one last time



From Yvette Schroeder (daughter)

My Dad was Cool...

He knew it.

When his sister, Joan, asked if there was anything she could do for him in his last week he said,

"I'm Cool."

His nephew, Mark, told me just the other day, "Your dad is a "Cool Cat". We all knew what he was talking about.

Double 07 had nothing on my dad...

Dad was born the 7th day of the 7th month. The PBY he flew was number 07

And we all knew he preferred his... "Shaken not stirred."



Complaining or self-pity was not his style. He never questioned God's Will and rose to any occasion with all his might to the very end.



It was an honor to serve him

I did my best to follow his wishes.

He was a great father and taught by example...He showed me how to live and now he showed me how to die.

I know he loved me and my children and his great granddaughter, Adeline Estrella. Joe, Rachel, Adi, Nicole and Jeff helped to tuck him in his last night on earth.

Jeff spent many hours at his bedside. My dad was loved.

My dad was so proud to be a SPARTAN...as my son, Joe, well knows.



My brother, Andy, inherited my dad's attention to details and has worked magic these past few days to pay tribute to our dad. I know dad is so proud.

Andy's son, Jake, was with me and his grandfather when we met with Hospice to listen to dad's final requests. Jake, you are a comfort and a blessing.



Hospice sent angles to care for my father. Thank
By: Linda Durocher Smith Oct 13, 2004
My sister (Sheila Durocher Alexander) discovered your site and passed it along to me. We are not sure if we are related in any way but the similarities are amazing. Now that I see a picture, I hope you will take it as a complement that your father even has the "Durocher" nose just like my dad. We would love to know where the connection is, if any. I hope you see it as a tribute that I am passing this site along to my cousins who are quite involved putting together our geneology to see if they can find a relationship. Sadly, if not, PLEASE contact us if any of you are in the area. It would be fun to meet.
By: Fr Bob WISEMAN,CSC Oct 11, 2004
I met Charlie over 2 years ago at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Viera. He impressed as a man of faith and conviction. We shared many stories about his life. We also had a wonderful rivalry about college. He graduated from Micichigan State and I graduated from Notre Dame. I gave me a MSU shirt and we always had fun kidding each other. I will never forget his wonderful insights into life. I will miss him.



Fr. Bob Wiseman,CSC a proud Holy Cross priest and thankful to have known Charlie
By: Corinne Durocher Oct 10, 2004
When I think of Papa, I cannot help but think of Teya as well. They vacationed up here in B.C. many summers, and I know that the effort they made was to connect with us grandkids that lived in Canada. They rented a cottage on the lake that was not quite a mile away from the farm we grew up on. It was a treat to have our grandparents come to live near us, because it is hard to grow up away from your family. Though you carry them in your heart, it doesn’t compare to the tangible joy of having family hug you, kiss you and be there for you. Plus nothing beats getting spoiled rotten by your grandparents, and I think of how Papa would indulge my Manatee obsession, and send me multiple Manatee t-shirts from Cocoa Beach. As an adult, maintaining that bond became more difficult with the demands of life as a student. Papa was always happy to hear from me when I phoned with updates of college, and that I was still dancing, every day. I must have told him when I was little that I wanted to be a dancer and now to see me accomplish that, must have tickled him to no end. This past week and when I heard that he’d left this world, though I felt loss, all I could think of was this one time, he was dancing and singing and swinging me around to the “Too Fat” polka ;“I don’t want her, you can have her, She’s too fat for me, oh she’s too fat for me�” I suppose that memory of laughing singing and dancing with him is the best one I could carry in my head as Grandpapa now rejoins Teya.. My only wish is that Papa could have met my partner of 2 years Michael... I am grateful to my cousins, and Aunts and Uncles for being there with Papa in his last days, as I could not. Much love to you all.
By: Steven Holmes Oct 10, 2004
I first met Mr. Durocher (THE COMMANDER) in high shcool as Andy's friend and one of the many kids in and out of the Durocher home. It was immediately evident his inner strength and self confidence was that of a millitary man confidently guiding and directing his family. Mr. Durochers Naval aviation photos and memoralbelia were throughout the home and his love of flying was evident. These photos sparked an interest in me, and may have been what started my own career path in aviation.

About three years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Durocher again and we shared our common interests in aviation, both his era and my era. We shared stories of flying and airplanes past and present. It was a wonderful experience to share a love of flying with the man who planted a seed.

Another pilot has parted with the bonds of earth one last time, flying west into that bright light of sunset and beyond.
By: MARTHA (KURTZ) PICKETT Oct 10, 2004
To my dearest friend, Yvette, and all the Durocher family: Lud and I send to all of you our deepest sympathy for the loss of your father. We plan to see you in Arlington on 29 Dec. I'm so glad I was able to speak to your father on the telephone last March just after my mother died. Who would have thought we would lose them within just a few months. Yvette, you have a special place in heaven for all the loving care you gave to your father. Lud and I send our love and sympathy to all the Durocher family.
By: Hugh Garvey Oct 8, 2004
I

have asked that the attached poem by John Gillespie Magee Jr. be

included in my funeral liturgy. Thought you would like to read it:

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth and danced the skies on

laughter silvered wings. Sunward I've climbed and joined the rumbling

mirth of sun-split clouds, and done a hundred things you have not

dreamed of. Wheeled and soared and

swung high in the sunlit silence hov'ring there. I've chased the

shouting wind along, and flung my eager craft through footless halls of

air. Up,

up the long delirious burning blue, I've topped the wind-swept heights

with easy grace where never lark or ever eagle flew. And while with

silent, lifting mind I've trod the high, untrpassed sanctity of space.

put out my hand and touched the face of God. (and he smiled and said

"welcome home, good and faithful servant") My words! HMG
By: Chris Vandervoort Oct 8, 2004
It is so obvious what happens to life. Take sun and reduce carbon

dioxide to life and then oxidize the living back to carbon dioxide or

death. It is so simple when you look at the biochemistry but so

confusing when you put the spirit in it. I hope you and all your

family are OK. It was very nice to see your brothers and

Diane. Natalie and Sophie enjoyed Adi so much. I love feeling

little children, they are our legacy. That I thank God for.

Bless you Yvette you are truly your Dad's daughter.

See you soon.

Love, Chris
By: Andy Durocher Oct 6, 2004
Navy Man by Larry Cordle - revised by Andy Durocher as a tribute to his father





G F#/G Em

HE DREAMED TO FLY THE HEAVENS



C D G G/C

AMONG THE CLOUDS, WHERE MACHINE AND SPIRIT SOAR



G F#/G Em C

HE WAS YOUNG AND THIRSTY FOR ADVENTURE AND OUR



D Dsus D

COUNTRY WAS AT WAR



G F#/G Em G G7

A POSTER IN A WINDOW PROMISED A CHANCE TO SEE THE



C

WORLD



D

AND HE FIGURED THAT HE HAD A SCORE TO SETTLE, FOR



D9sus G

THE BOYS THAT DIED AT PEARL





C G

HE'S PROUD AND SO AM I THAT HE WENT AND DID HIS PART



C D G

AND I LOVE TO HEAR THE STORIES THAT HE TELLS



B7 Em

OF TYPHOONS, TATTOOS, GEISHA GIRLS AND BATTLES HE'S BEEN IN



A7 D D7

OKINAWA, IWO JIMA, AND SAIPAN



G F#/G Em

HE SAID HE LEARNED A DEEP RESPECT FOR THE PEOPLE



A7 Asus A7

OF JAPAN



C D G G/C G

------ MY DAD HE WAS A NAVY MAN





G F#/G Em C D

SAYS IT WAS JUST HIS DUTY, BUT DUTY, BECAME HIS



G G/C G

CAREER



G F#/G Em C

HE WENT BACK TO CIVLIAN LIFE ONLY AFTER SERVING



D Dsus D

MORE THAN 20 YEARS



G F#/G Em G

AND THERE'S A FRIEND HE TALKS ABOUT, HE SAYS



G7 C

HE'LL SEE AGAIN SOMEDAY



D D9sus

'CAUSE YOU KNOW OLD SAILORS NEVER DIE THEY JUST



G

SAIL AWAY





(REPEAT CHORUS)



G/C G

MY DADDY WAS A NAVY MAN
By: Virginia Balint Oct 6, 2004
Dear Lorraine and Yvette,



Just this afternoon I went to my computer and found out that your dear Dad had passed away. Hugh Garvey wrote to me about Chuck. I had called your Dad just once after he came back to Michigan. The last time I talked to him in Florida he was yelling for the pizza man to open the door and deliver his pizza. I went all through grade school and high school with Chuck. He was quite a brassy guy but everyone loved him. I remember when he came to one of our reunions with your Mother. They had such a good time. I worked on all the reunions so got to talk to so many of our schoolmates. I'm sorry to say, that there are not too many of us left. We all felt so bad when Dick Heathfield passed away. He worked very hard on those reunions. Your Dad used to send me a lot of jokes via e-mail. I missed them when he got too sick to send them. I'm sorry that I was unable to see your Dad when he came back to Michigan. My daughter, Nancy, graduated from Michigan State also and just now retired after teaching at Waverly High School for thirty-three years. I was surprised to read that your Dad was forty-two years old when he went back for his degree. I know you will all miss him and I will keep him in my prayers. I will call some of his classmates and tell them the sad news.



With love and affection,

Virginia Balint
By: Sheila Alexander Oct 6, 2004
Although I live in Savannah, I was in Orlando this past weekend when I saw the obituary for Charles Durocher.

Imagine my shock to discover that Charles Durocher, like my father, Eugene Durocher, had met his bride in Puerto Rico. My father also saw my mother across a crowded room (at a dance in Mayaguez, PR) and said to his buddy that she was the woman he was going to marry. My father and mother, Patricia Cruz Gonzalez Durocher, are now in their 80's and still living in Orlando where they have lived since 1952.

I am also amazed that there are so many Durocher relatives out there that I know nothing of and whom I would so enjoy knowing.

Charles Durocher sounds like he was a wonderful, interesting, vital man--I'm sorry I never met him. I would love to establish ties with any of my Durocher relatives who would like to contact me.

Sheila Durocher Alexander
By: Yvette (Durocher) Schroeder Oct 6, 2004
My Dad was Cool......

He knew it.

When his sister,Joan, asked if there was anything she could do for him last week he said,

"I'm Cool"

His nephew, Mark, told me just the other day,"Your dad is a "Cool Cat". We all knew what he was talking about



Double 07 had nothing on my dad........

Dad was born the 7th day of the 7th month. The PBY he flew was #07

And we all knew he preferred his.... "Shaken not stired"



Complaining or self pity was not his style. He never questioned God's Will and rose to any occasion with all his might to the very end.



It was an honor to serve him

I did my best to follow his wishes.

He was a great father and taught by example......He showed me how to live and now he showed me how to die.

I know he loved me and my children and his great granddaughter, Adeline Estrella. Joe, Rachel, Adi, Nicole and Jeff helped to tuck him in his last night on earth.

Jeff spent many hours at his bedside. My dad was loved.

My dad was so proud to be a SPARTAN....as my son, Joe, well knows.



My brother, Andy, inherited my dad's attention to details and has worked magic these past few days to pay tribute to our dad. I know dad is so proud.

Andy's son, Jake, was with me and his grandfather when we met with Hospice to listen to dad's final requests. Jake, you are a comfort and a mercy.



Hospice sent angles to care for my father. Thank you to Jim for being a wonderful friend and keeping my father clean and looking "cool". Also Cindy and Barb for your tender care. God Bless you.



Today is phase #1 for good-bye.

We will meet agin for the graveside service at Arlington on December 29 at 12:45 PM.

As promised, dad, it will be Cool.
By: Michael Durocher Oct 6, 2004
I have come here today to honor my father.

The man that seemed almight in my youth.

A man of faith who taught me that; Without doubt

you can not have reason. He was an intelligent man and I am proud to to call him my father.



poem

My tears are shed

my eyes are dry

and for now I will survive

I am glad to see him one last time
By: Joan, Bill and Children Holtgreive Oct 5, 2004
Charles O Durocher



How best to describe Chuck? I would characterize him first of all as a “people person.” If he was fond of someone, that warm friendly personality-spiked with a joke or two-would quickly endear him to people. He developed these friendships in most every phase of his life. This quality was most visible in the reactions of others as Chuck and his friendly banter moved on the scene.



We witnessed this most clearly as he took us to dinner in Melbourne where he lived. It seemed that he had a comment for everyone from the hostess to the chef. He loved the give and take. It was again most evident during his stay in the Timber Ridge Assisted Living, where the staff fondly told of many incidences where Chuck would tease them or make comments that made them laugh. One recent example was when a nurse offered to help him up by having him wrap his arms around her and give her a hug. His reply, “Honey, I’ve been waiting four months to do this.”



In thinking about my role tonight, I leaned on my children to give me their favorite story or experience of Uncle Chuck. We were fortunate to share the greater Lansing community with Chuck and his family after his retirement as a Navy pilot. There were many happy times where Chuck would entertain us by his mere presence-including his colorful Navy dialogue,



Denise adds to this recollection that, after each of Chuck’s visits, either Grandma or Joan would recite the disclaimer “Now kids Uncle Chuck’s Navy talk is not appropriate for your use especially in St. Monica school”



Amy remembers Chuck bursting back into our family’s lives. He and his brother Bob made a grand entrance into our Kalamazoo home one weekday afternoon, where Chuck swept Joan off her feet in a huge embrace and swung her around our laundry room, yelling, “My baby sister!” Amy was shocked and delighted that this crazy, wonderful man could bring so much fun and laughter so quickly into an ordinary day.

















Nancy shares Amy’s comments that Uncle Chuck didn’t leave you laughing rather he started within 2-3 minutes of arriving and never stopped. Memories of Chuck make her smile.



Janet remembers most clearly how 6 years ago at Amy and Tim’s wedding Chuck and Anna Nell, danced so enthusiastically to the swing band. Anna Nell loved to dance and beg Chuck for one more. His answer “ if we dance one more the next number called will be 911.”



Maryjo describes Chuck as a Ladies Man. Even in his final days when she visited him he was cleaning his razor and commenting the ladies like to kiss him on his cheek and so he wanted to be ready just in case. She admits to being one of his biggest admirers.



Paul remembers hearing of one of Chucks “Oops” moments. Chuck was proud of how he had trained his dog Max- Million. One night while entertaining guests he was showing how Max wouldn’t leave the room if he layed a stick across the door. About that time Estrella was bringing in the deserts and didn’t see the stick. Well you get the picture.



Chuck could have easily qualified for the title of “Cheap, Tight, Frugal”.

In the last hours of his life, the family and friends around him couldn’t understand what he was waiting for as all the available family members had arrived and he had the blessing of the sick. It was my conclusion that he was merely waiting for the end of the month as he had paid for the room till then. He would probably have agreed.























Chuck certainly made his mark on many people and quickly gave them a sense of who he was-even during his last 6 months in East Lansing. One illustration is the closeness he developed with the person who would bring him Communion each Sunday. George Guerre flew B17s in WWII while Chuck flew PBYs and they talked about it for a few minutes each visit. On Chuck’s last Sunday, when George made his weekly visit with Communion, I mentioned that Chuck was very weak and couldn’t speak but could still hear. George walked up to the bed and said “Chuck, I never knew a PBY pilot I liked.” Almost immediately Chuck opened his eyes wide, came up off the pillow and probably would have given George a suitable retort if he weren’t so weak. It showed Chuck still had that combative spirit and demonstrated his lifelong camaraderie with old Navy buddies and most all the others he came in contact with.



The stories of Chuck could go on forever however it’s time to wrap this up.

Joan and I have spoken often how blessed we were to have Chuck so close for the last 6 months. We are sure that he is being warmly welcomed above by loving family members and long-time friends.









Joan and Bill Holtgreive

October 4, 2004
By: John Hotchkiss Oct 4, 2004
I have only known Charlie for the last 11 years. I felt honored to be grouped with him in a very exclusive club as one of the two-grandfathers-of-the-world's-best-looking-baby-boy, Jacob. Charlie's health had been failing almost since when I first met him, yet he always maintained his youthful zest for life.



Last Spring we made a trip to Melbourne to visit Charlie and create a photo-op for the two-grandfathers-of-the-most-beautiful-baby-boy-in-the-world. At this point, Charlie could barely stand or walk even with assistance. I'd brought along a guitar and rendered a few songs. As I moved into some rock and roll, Charlie began to struggle. I thought he was having some sort of episode. But no, he pulled himself to his feet using his walker and danced! Good moves, too.



Ah, Charlie, I bet you've got them on their feet and dancing, wherever you are.



John Hotchkiss
By: Durocher Family Oct 4, 2004
Acknowledgement of Spouses:



Charles O. Durocher’s children’s current spouses are:



Diane’s husband - Richard VanFulpen

Denny’s wife - Sara Durocher

Mike’s wife - Wendy Durocher

Andy’s wife - Dawn Durocher
By: Ki-ke-in (Ron Hamilton) Oct 4, 2004
To the family of Charlie Durocher:



Thirty years ago, I met and became fast friends with Denny and Sara Durocher, newly arrived from south of the border. Over the ensuing years, we have traveled widely together, worked on many projects in the area of community development, and have enriched each other’s lives in the way good friends do.



Several years ago I had the good fortune to meet Denny’s father, Charlie, when he came to Port Alberni on a visit to Denny and family. During the course of that visit he said to me, “so you consider Denny your brother, do you? Well, I guess that makes you my son then.” That comment and subsequent phone calls from wherever Charlie was drew us together in a relationship marked by geographic distance and a certain emotional closeness and the truth that went with it.



When I got married, Charlie sent my wife and I a beautiful set of dinnerware from Florida. These dishes are still in regular use in our home. Charlie’s generosity and warmth toward my family and me will not be forgotten.



The ties, which have developed between Denny’s family and mine, continue to grow and expand in directions I could not have dreamt of thirty years ago. Those of you who I have met, I think of often and care about. The Commander played a significant role in these expanding relations. I, and the members of my family who met him, will remember him. He will be missed.



Ki-ke-in ( Ron Hamilton)
By: Remy Durocher Oct 4, 2004
Grandpa, when i think of you, i think of music. Organ, Accordian, Song. I remember hearing you play music even from when i was young and would visit in michigan, i remembering the appreciation from you when i would play for you when im older and visiting you in florida. I remember the stories youd tell me when i would bike over to your place at the lake when you spent summers up here. And i remember your smile to see me on my last visit to you in Florida. I was glad to get a chance to break down the distances and barriers between us and get a chance to learn more about you, and your life.



You were an important part of my life and will be both missed and remembered, always.
By: Margarita & Max Abram Oct 3, 2004
Rest in Peace Charlie. We will never forget you and Estrella. Our sympathy goes to the family.

You were great chairman for the Puerto Ricans in Florida affair....
By: William Roege Oct 3, 2004
Charles Durocher, a man, a friend, a collegge who will not be forgotten. A man is often perceived differently by the various people who know him, by immediate family, relatives. co-workers, comerads. and friends of various types. Charley (Orville, to me)was a dear friend. Faithful, honest, helpful, intelligent and cheerful. Most of all, he was FUN. My family adored him and the children, to this day, hesitate to question the veracity of all of the stories he told them.

I was proud to work with him, and prouder yet to be his friend. There are many happy memories and I will miss him.

Wilbur
By: William Roege Oct 3, 2004
Charles Durocher, a man, a friend, a collegge who will not be forgotten. A man is often perceived differently by the various people who know him, by immediate family, relatives. co-workers, comerads. and friends of various types. Charley (Orville, to me)was a dear friend. Faithful, honest, helpful, intelligent and cheerful. Most of all, he was FUN. My family adored him and the children, to this day, hesitate to question the veracity of all of the stories he told them.

I was proud to work with him, and prouder yet to be his friend. There are many happy memories and I will miss him.

Wilbur
By: Denny & Sara Durocher Oct 3, 2004
Remembering My Dad -- Charles O. Durocher



Of the thousand of mental image and pictures of my Dad, some of the most treasured are photos taken on a visit to Puerto Rico in 1981. One photo shows my Mom and Dad walking along the beach in Buye, Cabo Rojo. They were joyfully holding hands with my children, Remy and Corinne. What a great and relaxing day surrendering to fun, sunshine, shade of coconut palms, swimming, family, in-laws, laughter, great food and cold drinks.



The Durocher family photo albums are full of black and white photos my Dad took of all of us as kids having fun on the beaches of Coronado and Pensacola. My Dad was a very organized person and travel plans and outings were almost always organized with military precision, yet we always managed to have great fun.



Upon reflection, it just may be that is why I so treasure the memories on the beach in Puerto Rico. I was able to see my Dad and Mom open to life’s little unplanned surprises presented to them that glorious and fun day.



The lesson here is to be open to experience life’s unexpected surprises that come our way each day - it enriches beyond measure.



I am forever grateful to my sister Yvette, my brothers and family friend, Christine Vandervoort who accompanied my Dad on his flight to Michigan. This effort made it possible for him to spend the last months of his life surrounded by family and friends old and new.



I am particularly grateful that my wife Sara and I were able to surprise him with a visit to Michigan in May -- to share news about family & friends in British Columbia, to share in his wit, to listen to music together, to laugh, to cry and to bid each other a fond farewell.
By: Sara Garcia-Durocher Oct 3, 2004
To the Durocher Family:



Recieve our deepest condolances on behalf of the

Garcia Velez Family in Puerto Rico.(Sara's Brother and family)

how fortunate are you and I, whose home



is timelessness: we who have wandered down



from fragrant mountains of eternal now



to frolic in such mysteries as birth



and death a day (or maybe even less)



e.e. cummings
By: Amy Storey Oct 3, 2004
Uncle Chuck was a large presence in my life for many reasons. He was the only person I ever heard utter certain words in the presence of my mother and his mother and get away with it. He was always the source of a joke or two--some hilarious and some not repeatable (and still hilarious). And he was a shining example of pure affection the way he looked at my mom fondly as his "baby sister."



I think the thing that cemented my relationship with Uncle Chuck and fostered the bond I've carried through most of my life was the fact that he always treated me as a person rather than a kid. Even with 46 years separating us, he treated me with respect and listened to my ideas and opinions and my own corny jokes. I loved him for that and will always be grateful for the special place he held in my life and heart.
By: Bill & Blanca Pennanen Oct 3, 2004
Charlie had a full & active life. How that his journey is finished may he rest in peace.



Our condolences to Charlie's family. May they continue to enjoy the memories of Charlie's life.
By: Kevin Gallagher Oct 2, 2004
Dear Durocher family,



I was in awe of your father. He was like all of those heroes that Tom Brokaw talks about in the "Greatest Generation". I always thought of him on his aircraft carrier being their for his men and his country. He gave of himself in everything he did with honor and sacrifice.



I have a vision of your Dad and Mom walking hand and hand on a beautiful beach with ol'Max by their side. I know where ever they are they are together and very happy.



I miss all of you and the music, warmth and humor that was always present in your home. Please come to stay here in our house in Virginia when you come to honor your father at Arlington Cemetary.
By: Bill Furry Oct 2, 2004
Having met Charles Durocher only briefly on a couple occasions, I cannot say that I knew him, but if his parenting helped make his son Andrew Paul become the man I know, he was surely great. We are all reflected forever in our children and the respect they learn for life and it’s treasures, including music. Charlie will be so remembered, and will be missed.
By: Barbara Mack Oct 2, 2004
I am the volunteer coordinator for Heartland Hospice. When I received a request from a nurse to assign a volunteer to Charles Durocher, I was somewhat intimidated. I learned he wanted someone with whom he could discuss his WW II flying experiences. I also heard he could be cantankerous. My response to the volunteer request initially was to send him some recent aviation magazines. One day I received an unprecedented phone call from Charlie himself, and my life was changed forever. Charlie requested that I come to Timber Ridge and take him on an outing. We scheduled it, and he informed me that there were to be no cancellations. When I arrived at Timber Ridge for the first time, I was impressed by the beauty and cleanliness of the assisted living facility, not to mention the professionalism and friendliness of the staff. The food being prepared in the beautiful kitchen smelled delicious. I would expect no less for a retired Navy Commander.



When I entered Charlie's room, he requested that I sit down in his chair so we could get to know one another and discuss our plan for the day. He had errands he wanted to run and a restaurant in mind for lunch. He insisted I drive his car, and he developed a fairly rigid routine for entering his vehicle, unlocking the glove box to retrieve his wallet, transferring from wheelchair to passenger seat, opening trunk to deposit wheelchair, etc. He told me we would get along well because he appreciated how I drove his Honda. He told me he had a new friend, and her name was "Barbara."



After our first outing, I knew Charlie was too particular to assign him a volunteer who could not anticipate his every need. I also enjoyed his company immensely and wanted to soak up every minute of our time together. He and I developed a routine of going out to lunch and running errands together. Sometimes Yvette and great granddaughter, Addie, would join us for lunch. Charlie was a people person and really enjoyed the outings. Once a gentleman came up to us who noticed his Navy Commander hat and told Charlie he was a mechanic for the Black Cats. Charlie watched people and talked to people. He loved to comment when someone was supporting his beloved Spartans. If a waitress or hardware employee did not meet up to his expectations, he let them know. He also had high praise for someone who performed their job well.



I appreciated his intelligence, wit, humor, love of family and music. I heard stories of his war days and how much he loved his two wives. We were comfortable in each other's presence and didn't fill every moment with conversation. We enjoyed listening to classical guitar and jazz music in his car. After each outing, I brought him back to Timber Ridge and helped him get settled comfortably in his bed for an afternoon nap.



I am fortunate enough to know two Air Force pilots, and these two gentlemen, Steve Musselman and Mike Schaar, visited Charlie several times and fulfilled his desire to talk about flying airplanes. Steve asked Charlie if he had anything he would still like to do in his lifetime. Charlie requested a visit to a bar for a beer, and Steve took him to the Mayfair the next week. A couple of the female hospice staff wanted to accompany him for this fun outing, but Charlie indicated it was a "guy thing." They were going to discuss airplanes, and we didn't know anything about that. Charlie ate a whole basket of popcorn and a Fire Captain bought him a beer.



Charlie became more noticeably weak during my weekly visits, and one day I realized that he was not up to the outing. At his request, I drove his car to McDonald's and brought him back a milkshake and hamburger. We sat and visited and he requested I tell him what was going on in my life. He said "You, Mike and Steve are my friends, and I want to know what is going on in your life so I can talk to Mike and Steve about you."



When Charlie was getting close to end of life, I performed a massage, and he enjoyed this. I did this several times during his actively dying stage at his daughter Yvette's and hospice nurse's request. His end-of-life experience was beautiful. I so much appreciated his family wanting me to be a part of it. I enjoyed meeting his sons Andy, Mike, and Gerard and his sister, Joan. I met his grandchildren, Joe, Jeff and Nicole. On one of Charlie's last days, Andy sat by his bedside and played beautiful ballads on the guitar for hours. Addie was there, and fell asleep on her daddy's lap at her great grandpa's bedside.



Yvette was so devoted to her dad's quality of life and utmost comfort. I was impressed with her efforts to ensure his comfort. She is the ideal model of a hospice caregiver.



I will miss Charlie very much. I am keeping his memory live through organizing my house and taking up my piano playing again! Thank you again to Charlie's family for allowing me to be a part of his life through the end of his life.



Barbara Mack

Volunteer Coordinator

Heartland Hospice
By: David Arnold Oct 2, 2004
I once played with Andy and his friend, Kevin Gallagher, in a band called "Jawbone." Because of this I was a frequent dinner guest in the Durocher house -- especially around holiday times. It was always glad to get theses invitations because it was such a great time around the Durocher dinner table. He was a gracious host, and I always was made to feel welcome by both he and his wife, and this consideration made a deep and lasting impression on me. I don't know exactly how he did it, but all of his children have great character for which all who know them have to be grateful. I only wish I'd known him better.
By: Allen Bates Oct 2, 2004
Dear Durocher Family

I have had the pleasure of playing music with Andy for many years and in the course of the years I have met all of you . I only "experienced" meeting The Commander once , but it stuck with me as a pretty vivid memory. He was a very colorful and interesting guy .I am sure his character comes out in each of you in its own way and he will be missed . My deepest sympathy to you all .

Allen Bates
By: Carol Mc Donald Oct 2, 2004
It was with great pleasure I took care of Charlie in Florida .One day I said cool beans and it stuck so from then on we would kid about that.I loved the Michigan State stories. I really missed charlie when he went to Michigan but when I would talk to him he was having fun with Family and the Babies.He taught me alot of different things in many different ways. Thanks Charlie you are a good friend and a wonderful Family.
By: Hugh Garvey Oct 2, 2004
Charlie and Hugh



When thoughts of Charles come to mind and your eyes need a place to focus, look to the sky because it was a favorite place for him. He loved flying airplanes and according to those who flew with him, especially when their lives depended on him, he was a great pilot.



Around 1940, while he and he close friend Hugh Garvey were attending the University of Detroit, Charlie and Hugh took advantage of a pilot training program through the University backed by the US Government. Part of the lure for Charlie was the cool image that pilots had that attracted the ladies. The war in Europe was not our problem yet.



Hugh was practically a member of Charlie’s family. Charlie’s Aunt Marie was married to a star basketball player from the University of Detroit, Johnny Chap, who became the manager of the Naval Armory. Charlie and Hugh used to hang out there and shoot hoops. Johnny had E-5 connections with multiple engine planes that Charlie wanted to fly. Johnny had strong Navy connections and "the lads" had their private pilots licenses so after Pearl Harbor they volunteered for the Navy's flight training program and after rigorous training won their Wings of Gold as Naval Aviators. Charlie's first orders were to

VP-81, the "Black Cats" a multi- engine patrol squadron. Hugh reported to VC-32 a fighter squadron assigned to the carrier U.S.S. Langley.



Another close friend of Charlie’s was Dick Heathfield. As Hugh puts it, the three of them would get together and tell lies and try to impress one another. They were life-long friends. Hugh claims he doesn’t remember many of Charlie’s stories because they all talked at the same time.



Charlie loved to get together with people and have a laugh. On one occasion in the early 50’s, Charlie, Estrella, Hugh and his wife Libby visited a bar in Tijuana. It should have been a trip with just the guys because when Charlie started dancing on the table, Estrella was not amused.



Hugh stayed in the Navy as Charlie retired in 1962 in Pensacola, Florida. Hugh was working at the Pentagon and Charlie visited him on his way to Michigan to start a new career. He couldn’t believe Charlie was heading back to collage to get his degrees at age 42 with a wife and 8 kids. Of the things Hugh admired about his friend, that accomplishment stands out. Charlie was a big influence on Hugh’s life. When asked who were the greatest influences on his life, Hugh responds: “Adolph Hitler and Charlie Durocher.” Adolph Hitler for getting him out of Detroit and Charlie Durocher who lead him into what

proved to be a wonderfully exciting and rewarding career".



-From a conversation between Hugh and Charlie's kid.-
By: Chris Vandervoort Oct 1, 2004
Very much enjoyed taking your last flight in an airplane with you. It was a great flight and I appreciate the opportunity to fly with a great pilot. God bless you in your new journey.
By: Laurel Winkel Oct 1, 2004
My heartfelt condolences to each of the DuRocher's. Knowing that we have reached the time of our lives when we must let our parents go, doesn't make it any easier. Warmest thoughts to you all. Laurel
By: Lorraine DuRocher Oct 1, 2004
When I was looking for words to say about The Commander I recalled the comic strip “Peanuts”. If I didn’t know better I would bet that Charles Schultz was a personal friend of our family and used us as inspiration. If you think about it there are definite similarities between our family and the Peanuts characters. We have the humor - conflicts - love - practicality - frustrations - and all of us can be blockheads. All of these traits can be traced back to The Commander. In every one of Dad’s children you will find a chip off the old block and sometimes a chip off the blockhead. Since the comic strip was so popular - I guess we weren’t so different from other families.



There were many sides of Charles Durocher. No one knows all of them. We each only got what he chose to share with us. Some of the things he expressed have no value now. When we lose a significant person in our life we go through an emotional earthquake. And after an earthquake you look through the rubble and keep what is worth saving and let go of the rest. The most obvious keepsake to me about The Commander is his courage and passion.



Whenever I hear the line from the Beatles song: “A Little Help from My Friends” that asks: “Would you believe in a love at first sight?” I think of Dad falling in love with my mom. After Estrella died in 1992 he told us the story of how he fell in love with my mom. He was on R and R in Puerto Rico and looked at her across the room and said to his friend: “ You see that pretty girl - I’m going to marry her.”



Who would have thought this tough guy could be such a romantic? You will find that same quality in his offspring; also the courage and passion. Not all fathers possessed these qualities to pass on to their children. I feel fortunate.



Lorraine DuRocher

For her father.