Charles “Charley” Levin Lindberg arrived in Heaven on May 17, 2020, passing peacefully at home after an extended illness. He was a Californian since 1966 but was born a proud “Kansas farm boy.” Charley was first of all a family man – father, husband, grandpa, father-in-law, son, brother, uncle, cousin – and then friend to everyone. He was a towering figure who generated genuine warmth, welcoming and inviting all to enter his circle. No matter how large his circle grew, any person who was enveloped in his embrace knew they were important to him. One friend shared that he felt Charley was instantly his best friend when he first met him and “that was most likely how everyone felt.”
Charley was born in McPherson, KS, to Myrtle and Frank Lindberg, brother to Wallace. His stories about growing up on the farm are famous, relating how his parents saved the family farm during the Depression, keeping it in the family to this day. The little town of Galva, KS, sports a wonderful museum in which Charley and his brother have starring roles spotlighting their youth, history and lineage. When Wallace became a WWII flight instructor, Charley caught the flying bug and as a young man, earned his private pilot’s license, adding to his mystique, as “Charles Lindberg, Aviator.” He once contacted the St. Louis airport to file a flight plan and was thought to be a prankster.
Charley knew he was destined to be a pastor instead of a farmer after a church camp experience, during which his mentor said to him “GPG” (not ‘Go Plant Grain’ but ‘Go Preach the Gospel’). Charley then attended Phillips Seminary, earning Master’s Degrees in both Theology and Psychology. While at Phillips, he met Wilma Wellner and that was that. They married in 1954 and were blessed with twin daughters, René and Rhonda, followed by Kristine. He served First Christian Churches throughout Oklahoma and Kansas for 19 years, frequently flying his private plane as transportation. He was called to Modesto in 1966 as Pastor of First Christian Church, serving for 4 years. There, he was instrumental in the development of Ralston Towers, Interfaith Ministries, Community Clothes Closet and the Food Bank that has blossomed into providing today’s critical humanitarian service. He saw needs, and worked wholeheartedly to fill them, in concert with all providers.
As Charley’s vision grew, he entered the field of marriage, family and child therapy. His practice covered a wide variety of public counseling and guidance centers, leading to the development of his own private counseling center. He was proud to serve as state president of the 8,000 member California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, receiving their highest award for distinguished service. Throughout his career, Charley’s goal was to be a “consultant on the spiritual journey.” If pressed, he would describe himself as healer, believer, and blessed. He was humble, quiet, funny, sweet, kind, intuitive, caring, charismatic, articulate, loving, intellectual and spiritual. He was passionate about personal and individual rights. While he did not appreciate unkindness in others, he would look for their wounds and “what helped them get there.”
Charley was a gifted craftsman. His woodworking skills are legendary. Many are fortunate to receive one of his unique wood creations. He said the wood told him what it wanted to be, similar to the way he aided those on their journeys to healing. He took delight in finding the truth.
Family was his heart. He and Wilma were married 51 years. Their home was a haven to all. They created a retreat center on a mountain top in Tuolumne County providing healing, love and laughter to family, friends and those seeking renewal. There are untold stories of wonderful mountain memories that will live on in the hearts of family, friends, neighbors, and those who came for healing.
Not meant to live alone, Charley found new love after Wilma’s passing. He and Sally Shepherd Cofer married in 2006, and the love circle increased by quite a lot! Charley became a mainstay with Community Hospice, Inc. in Modesto, contributing his woodworking talents and raising funds for this wonderful organization. His legacy will continue as he shared his secrets with his “apprentice.”
Charley is survived by his devoted family: daughters René, Rhonda, Kristine Lindberg; wife Sally Lindberg; bonus daughters Deborah Hayes (Steve), Aimee Matlock; God-daughter Marcia McGinnis; bonus step-son Ron Cofer (Fiona); grandchildren Jennifer and Jonathan Lindberg; Natalie McGinnis Perez (Mark); Conner, Tate, Jack Hayes; Gideon Matlock; Issy Perez; Ryan Hart; Sarah Cofer; Alex (Malley), Jeff, Jennifer Oberle.
The family is deeply indebted for the love and support of our friends and staff of Community Hospice, Inc. and appreciate remembrances in Charley’s honor to 4368 Spyres Way, Modesto, CA 95356. We also remember Mina Silveira, Maria Alcazar and Ynez Hernandez who lovingly ministered to him.
We will celebrate our beloved Charley at a later date. In the meantime, remember, he always said, “It was great to be seen by you!”
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