Cover photo for Charles Wadell's Obituary
Charles Wadell Profile Photo

Charles Wadell

February 15, 1940 — December 16, 2021

Charles Wadell


Charles Arthur Wadell, born February 15, 1940 in St. John’s, Michigan went to the Lord Thursday, December 16th, 2021.  His pain and suffering from cancer has passed.

Charles graduated Elsie high school in 1957 while only 17 because he completed two grades together at the local one room schoolhouse. He loved to read and to learn.  He was a well-educated man without the benefit of a college degree.  Charles lived history; born just after the Great depression and into the time of the Nazi occupation.  He experienced rationing during WWII.  He remembered his mother taking eggs to market to sell, him churning butter, surviving on potatoes, no indoor plumbing, and their big work horses.

As technology advanced to the Elsie area, the Wadell family had a neighborhood phone with which they relayed messages to neighbors. Charles lived when neighbors needed help, help would be there right away.  He grew up when handshakes were honored and there was no such thing as boredom.  In his free time, Charles was an avid water skier and snow skier.  He could ski off a dock and land gliding onto a beach without his hat flying off or trunks getting wet.  Charles shot guns and arrows, though not really for hunting.  He loved to go to the Grange Music Hall, taking his sister Janice.  Although not a dancer, he loved polka and country music.

Charles was active in Future Farmers of America and 4-H programs.  He developed his carpentry skills by building his gun cabinet and a full-sized boat.  He would later use these skills as a carpenter in the Army and Airforce reserves where he had to pick locked doors for military leaders.  His favorite military assignment was at Selfridge Airforce base.  In Georgia, he witnessed the injustice of separate drinking fountains.  On September 15, 1967 Charles married Gail Harte at St. Joseph Catholic Church in St. John’s.  We found out the best conversations with Charles happened in the cab of a tractor.  They had to happen there because he worked long hours.  He did everything on the farm, milking, treating animals, harvesting crops, planting, cleaning barns, and birthing baby calves who came at any hour and in any weather.  Charles was a 50+ year member of the Michigan Milk Producers Association.

Charles even had a license to use dynamite and operate his HAM radio.  He calmly figured out their first computer in the 1980s and the dreaded “A:” prompt.  Charles loved his cows, the fields, the woods, his family, Jesus, and life.  Evidence of this was his staunch support of the Right to Life cause and his membership in the Knights of Columbus.  He wanted everyone to have the chance God had given them.  Charles loved to travel but especially enjoyed the ocean, alligators, and sunshine in Florida.  He was a supporter of MSU, but cheered on whatever school his family was a part of.  He loved to watch Michelle’s basketball and Jeff’s football games at St. Johns.  Charles loved life.  He rarely used the word “I” or spoke about himself.  He gave others the credit and went back to work. He is dearly missed.

He was preceded in death by his parents Harry and Mary Wadell, his sister and brother in-law, Marilyn and Don Clark, and his brother in-law Harley Aylor.

He is survived by Gail, his devoted wife of 54 years. His children, Douglas (Karie) Wadell, Jeffrey (Amy) Wadell, Michelle (James) Socha, and Melissa (Scott) Smith.  His 8 grandchildren; Eric, Abigail, Noah, Kyle, Zachary, Megan, Malachi, and Annabelle.  Also, his brother Lyle (Kathy) and sisters; Janice (David) Yallup and Betty (Mervin) Hallead.  His in-law’s; Robert and Barb Harte, Bruce and Janice Harte, Barbara Harte, James and Ellen Harte, and Sheri and Stephen Willis, and his 26 nieces and nephews, and numerous great nieces and nephews.

In leu of flowers, donations may be sent to St. Joseph Church Education Fund, or St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Visitation will be held on Monday, December 20, 2021 6-8 P.M. at Smith Family Funeral Homes - Osgood Chapel. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at at St. Joseph Catholic Church, St. Johns, MI, at 11:00 A.M.  on Tuesday, December 21, 2021,  with Rev. Fr. Michael Williams officiating. Burial will take place at Riverside Cemetery, Elsie, Michigan

Online condolences can be sent to The family is being served by Smith Family Funeral Homes - Osgood Chapel, St. Johns, Michigan.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Charles Wadell, please visit our flower store.

Past Services


Monday, December 20, 2021

6:00 - 8:00 pm

Smith Family Funeral Homes- St. Johns, MI - Osgood Chapel

104 East Cass Street, St. Johns, MI 48879

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Mass of Christian Burial

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am

St. Joseph Catholic Church

109 Linden St, Saint Johns, MI 48879

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Burial will be held at

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