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Memories & Candles

1 of 10 | Posted by: MARK EISENBERG - ST.LOUIS, FL

“Sonny (I only knew him as Sonny) and I were childhood friends back when we were around ten or twelve. Our parents were friends back when we lived in...Read More »
2 of 10 | Posted by: CT Sharp - St. Louis, MO - Friend

“I first met Charlie, shortly after his accident.I helped him with his Mobility Vehicle needs. Through the good times & the bad, I never once saw...Read More »
3 of 10 | Posted by: Mike Hofer - St Louis, MO

“Ah, Mr. Derleth, how can I begin to thank you for everything you taught me; for the many rides to school; for being there at a reception for me when...Read More »
4 of 10 | Posted by: Jennifer Cook - Gladstone, OR

“Such a vital spirit! He made you feel special every time you spoke with him. God speed, dear Charlie, to realms prepared! ”
5 of 10 | Posted by: Judy Mincey - Calhoun, GA

“Charlie and I started singing Shape Note at the same time. We both attended a "singing school" given by Judy Hauff of Chicago at the home of Karen...Read More »
6 of 10 | Posted by: Patricia Doss - Columbia, MO

“Charlie was a sweet and wonderful man. he was our daughter's art teacher, and a regular visitor to our house for Shape Note Singing. His sense of...Read More »
7 of 10 | Posted by: John & Barbara Uhlemann - MO

“J was a reporter on the Normandy Courier, the top-rated high school newspaper at Normandy HIgh School, when Charles (he was Charles then) was the art...Read More »
8 of 10 | Posted by: WAYNE BRASLER - Wedtchester, IL

“My husband was in the room next to Charlie at Extended Care. My heart always went out to him..He had been such a handsome young man with so much...Read More »
9 of 10 | Posted by: Jean Agatstein

“There is a light that never goes out. That is Charlie. ”
10 of 10 | Posted by: jim macke - SAINT LOUIS, MO

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Charles P. Derleth, Jr., a beloved Saint Louis artist and teacher, passed away peacefully May 27. Son of Charles P. Derleth and Mary Brooks, he is survived by his cousins in the Brooks family, and a wide circle of friends in Saint Louis and around the world. Called Sonny by his family, he was Charlie to everyone else.
After graduating from Normandy High School in 1957, he attended Washington University School of Fine Arts, majoring in Painting and earning a Bachelors Degree in 1961. During his senior year in art school, two of his paintings were selected by the United States Information Agency to travel abroad in an exhibition showcasing American culture and values.
After graduation, and a road trip to California in his Volvo coupe with 3 artist friends, Charlie moved to Chicago where he worked as a technician in the Department of High Energy Particle Physics at Northwestern University. During that time he continued painting and drawing, and also volunteered as a tutor with the NAACP After School Program in Chicago.
Mr. Derleth served on active duty during the Berlin Crisis, with the 204th Signal Batallion, U. S. Army. He received an Honorable Discharge in 1967.
In August 1968 he embarked for a year in Japan, based in Kyoto, where he taught English as a second language. Returning to St. Louis in 1969, he began a 4-year stint as a Designer for the Aesthetics Program At CEMREL, a national educational laboratory. In 1973 he was chosen by the Asia Society of New York to design "Japan: An approach to Aesthetics," and he then returned to Washington University, earning a Master of Arts in Teaching in 1974.
Mr. Derleth then joined the faculty at University City High School where he taught drawing, painting, photography printmaking, and sculpture for 14 years. Emphasis at University City was on cross-cultural and cross-discipline education, for example teaching the physics of light as a part of the photography course, and offering the Japanese tea ceremony for social studies classes. In the meantime Charlie rehabbed a house in the Soulard neighborhood of St. Louis, where he was elected President of the Soulard Restoration Group in 1978.
In 1987 Mr. Derleth was recruited by John Burroughs School to join their Fine Arts faculty. In 1993 he became Chair of the Fine Arts Department at Burroughs, and was honored as recipient of the Fred Dreher-Joanna Collins Chair in Fine Arts from 2001 to 2007. A beloved teacher at Burroughs for 20 years, he retired in 2007 to a house always busy with visiting friends, in Webster Groves.
Over the years, Charlie exhibited his art at Burroughs, and at other venues around St. Louis, most notably in a one-person show, Drawings and Paintings, at the Towata Gallery, Alton, Illinois, 1987.
An intrepid traveler, he returned repeatedly to Britain, France, and Italy, and roamed the American mountain West, particularly Colorado, where the stunning mountain landscape was an inspiration for his art. Another of his abiding joys was singing with the St. Louis Shape Note Singers, in the old tradition of the Sacred Harp.
In February 2001 an accident severely handicapped him, but he refused to let that curtail an active life. He got a ramp-equipped van, and a power wheelchair, and continued to teach at JBS, never losing his marvelously creative sense of humor, or love of travel. In 2007 he traveled to New York by train, then boarded the Queen Mary 2 and sailed to Britain. Charlie often told the story of how, on a day trip from London to Paris, he became stuck in the Louvre, when the single working elevator on the 2nd floor would not function. The guards told him, in French, to "Poussez le bouton!" -- push the button! Charlie replied, in French, that he had pushed the button, "Mais il ne march pas!"-- but it does not go! In time, a mechanic arrived, the elevator was fixed, and he was able to escape from France.
Charlie spent his last months at McKnight Place Extended Care, where he immediately made many friends among the staff and residents. A dear and gentle man, a powerfully talented artist, a renowned and much beloved teacher, and a force for good in the Saint Louis community, he will be sorely missed.
​A memorial Service celebrating Charlie's life is being planned, most likely to take place in the fall at John Burroughs School

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