Charles Florian Thiel, “Charlie”, passed away peacefully on May 3, 2019 at Montana Veterans Home in Columbia Falls, Montana, where he had lived for several years.
Charlie was born in Detroit, Michigan on June 22, 1939 to James and Florence Thiel. He was the second oldest of ten children. In 1961, while in the Air Force, he married Patsy Behnen (Erin O'Connor) and they had 5 sons, all of whom were born in different states. Charlie had a Top Secret clearance and served as a photo interpreter for Air Intelligence.After divorcing in 1972, Erin and Charlie remained in contact and were remarried in 2016.
Following his service in Vietnam, he was honorably discharged with a disability. Charlie struggled with his mental disability and as he aged had increasing difficulty caring for himself. With the help of Senator Baucas, the family brought him to Montana to have him close by. He spent the last several years lovingly cared for at the Montana Veterans Home.
He was preceded in death by their eldest child, Joseph, and his father, James. He is survived by his wife, Erin, and their 4 sons, John, David, Eric and Daniel, grandchildren Jenna, Jessa, Ryan, Tanner, Nathan, Jolene, Kylee and Charlie. Charlie's 101 year old mother, and eight of his siblings, Bob, Patricia, Barbara, Tom, Michael, Denny, Geraldine, and Teresa reside in Michigan; one sister, Kathy, is in Arizona.
Charlie endeared himself to family, friends and caregiving staff with an endless repetoire
He will be buried with military honors on May 11 at the Veterans Cemetery in Columbia Falls. There will be a graveside service followed by a gathering of family in Kalispell. A memorial will be held in July when his granddaughter, Jolene, returns from Germany.
The family wishes to thank all the staff at MVH for their kindness and excellent care.