Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My Grandfather - Charles Bartlett Bingham

Charles Bartlett Bingham passed away at the age of 91 on October 3rd, 2012 at the Ashford Memory Care facility in Highland, Utah. Alzheimers Disease had, for the past several years, gradually clouded his brilliant intellect, stolen away lifelong friendships, and erased cherished memories.Charles was born on April 23, 1921 in Vernal, Utah to Frederick Gfroerer and Sarah Bartlett Bingham. He was the eighth of eleven children and he and his brothers and sisters learned the value of hard work from an early age; an attribute for which he was renowned throughout his life. He spoke often of his experience as a boy and young man, having the job of milking "those miserable cows" twice a day, every day, including holidays. After graduation from Vernal High School in 1939, Charles enrolled at Utah State University where he became a cheerleader and was heavily involved in school and social activities. Charles served as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the North Central States from 1941 to 1943. Upon his return, he enrolled at the University of Utah where he completed the work required to get into dental school at Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio. Charles joined the U.S. Army during this time and the Army helped put him through dental school as well as his Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery specialty. Upon completion of his DDS, the Army assigned Dr. Bingham to serve with the U.S. Occupational Forces in Munich, Germany following World War II where he remained for the next seven years, attaining the rank of Major and, more importantly, where he met his eternal companion, Lieutenant Betty Joe Phillips, an Army nurse. They were married in Munich, on January 12, 1951. In 1953, Charles and Betty Joe, now with a little German boy, Helmut, whom they would later adopt, and two little girls of their own, Penny and Tobi, were reassigned to Ft. Benning, Georgia, where a third baby girl, Candy, joined the growing family. When Charles decided it was time to leave the Army he set his sights on the San Joaquin Valley in California, where he worked as an Oral Surgeon in Fresno for the next 20 years. Charles and Betty Joe were sealed in the Los Angeles Temple along with their four little girls on September 3, 1957. In Fresno his practice thrived as did his family with the addition of Terri, Tab, Tami and Vicki. Charles served as a Bishop, and as a counselor in the Fresno and Fresno East Stake Presidencies, and as a Stake Patriarch. The Bingham home became a gathering place for friends young and old because Charles and Betty Joe welcomed everyone and made sure everyone had a good time.In 1975 Charles and Betty Joe decided to take a job offer in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Charles worked at the King Faisal Hospital in Riyadh and performed surgery on members of the royal family as well as indigents, bringing beautiful smiles to faces ravaged by injury and deformity. He continued to serve the Church as a member of the District Presidency.When it was time to come back to the United States, Charles and Betty Joe first settled in Veyo, Utah, with a practice in St. George, and then Palm Desert, California. For several years he commuted back and forth between the two practices. During these years, Charles and Betty Joe added on to their ranch house in Veyo and it became a regular vacation destination for their children and grandchildren. Grandfather Bingham made it into a dreamscape for his grandchildren with tire swings and trampolines, and 4-wheelers, and horses to ride, crawdads to catch in the stream, shuffleboard and basketball courts. Breakfast time was announced early in the morning with shouts of "Oho, Oho, Oho," which meant that grandfather was finished making his cracked-wheat cereal, soft-boiled eggs, pancakes, and fresh-squeezed orange juice. Evenings weren't complete without games of Rook, and stories from Grandfather, often accompanied by popcorn balls or homemade fudge. When Grandfather called out, "Prayer Bones," it meant that it was time for everyone to kneel in family prayer.Betty Joe passed away in 2001 following heart surgery. In 2003, when they were both in their 80s, Charles married his high-school sweetheart, the former Elaine Siddoway Richards, and they remained together until her death in 2011. Charles began losing memory a few years ago and was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. His physical and mental condition began a slow but steady decline. Over time he stopped telling his stories and the familiar sparkle in his eyes grew dim, but he remained a kind and loving man right to the end, always asking, "Is there anything that I can do for you," even when he wasn't sure who you were.Charles was preceded in death by his wives, Betty Joe and Elaine, by his sisters Elgia (Perry), Merle (Merkley), Zelda (Winder), Louesa (Hacking), Ruth (Hunting), and Genevieve (Rogers), his brothers Thomas and Ferron Bingham, and his daughter Candy (Craig) Hanis.He is survived by his sisters Winifred Green and Delyle Richards, his adopted son from Germany, Helmut (Lark) Bambl, his children Penny (Dan) Johnston, Tobi (Scott) Sanders, Terri Lorz, Tab (Pamela) Bingham, Tami (Chuck) Cooley, and Vicki (Glenn) Hinton, 35 grandchildren, and 50 great-grandchildren.A viewing will take place at 10:00am on Saturday, October 6, 2012 at the Peel Funeral Home, 8525 W. 2700 S., Magna, Utah, with the funeral service following at 11:00am.Interment will be at the Veyo Cemetery, Veyo, Utah, with a graveside service beginning at 11:00 am on Monday, October 8, 2012.

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