Charles Harwick Bertness, 79, passed away at his home in Penn Valley, Calif., on Tuesday, April 9, 2019.
He was born in 1940 to Mae Harwick Bertness and Delbert Melvin Bertness in Appleton, Minn., and grew up in Appleton along with his brother and sisters.
He excelled at sports at Appleton High School, particularly in track and basketball, and even played tuba in the marching band, despite his poor aptitude for keeping a beat.
He graduated in 1958 from Appleton High and went on to college first at Brookings, S.D., and then transferred to Minnesota State College in Moorhead, Minn.
He married Joyce Harms in 1959 and together they had four children.
Charlie had a love for education and travel and pursued first a master’s degree in mathematics at the University of Florida in Gainesville, and then a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.
The family then settled in Indiana, where Charlie taught mathematics at Indiana University of Pennsylvania for over 25 years. Charlie kept playing basketball and handball most of his time there.
Although he and Joyce divorced eventually, they worked together amicably to raise and support their children and grandchildren.
In addition to teaching, Charlie spent his later years traveling extensively, taking faculty exchange appointments in Australia, England, California and Washington state. He often visited Appleton for high school reunions and to see his parents and sister Shirley, and his sisters Carol Bertness Ruether and Deanne Bertness Grimsrud.
While in Pennsylvania, he was able to visit his brother Darrell and his family who had settled in Reston, Va.
On an elder hostel trip to South America in the early 2000s, Charlie met Paula Born, whom he married in April 2006 in Yosemite National Park.
Charlie and Paula moved to Penn Valley, Calif., and although he remained enthusiastic about visiting family and friends around the country, he did tend to avoid Minnesota and other cold places in the winter.
His generosity and love of life were what he will be remembered for the most.
Charlie always made sure all members of the family gathered together on a regular basis and was always the first to pay the bill. As he was a true Norwegian, no one is sure where this trait came from, but it was much appreciated by all.
Charlie is survived by his wife, Paula; his children, Kris, Steve and Mike; his brother, Darrell, and his sister Carol; and several grandchildren, step-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his sisters Shirley and Deanne, and his daughter Tammy Jo.
Friends are invited to join Charlie’s family in a celebration of his life on Sunday, July 14, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Shooters in Appleton, Minn.