On May 13th, the double feast days of the Ascension and Our Lady of Fatima and two days before his 79th birthday, Charles “Chuck” Uhlenkott passed from this life into eternity.
Chuck, the eldest of 7 children, was born on May 15, 1942, to Raymond and Hildegarde (Goeckner) Uhlenkott at their family home outside of Cottonwood, Idaho.
He attended St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Cottonwood, went to Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon his freshman year in high school, and then graduated from St. Gertrude’s Catholic High School in Cottonwood in 1960.
He spent much of his younger and adult years helping with the family farm and ranch and working with his uncle Alphonse Uhlenkott in the water well drilling and pump business.
Chuck’s Grandpa Joe Uhlenkott had purchased a cable well drill in the early 1900’s. Over the years, Joe, and then his son, Alphonse and later his grandsons, spent many years with the cable tool drilling wells for friends and neighbors. When seeing how much more efficient the rotary air drills were, Chuck, his father and brothers decided to buy their first rotary drill in 1968. Uhlenkott Well Drilling continues to thrive today.
Although Chuck did not attend college, he was a self-taught man spending much of his free time reading and studying calculus, astronomy, and the sciences. He even built a homemade oscilloscope.
In 1971 Chuck learned to fly, bought his first airplane and flew extensively for many years. He loved teaching others the many things he learned – especially his children and grandchildren.
On June 15, 1973, Chuck married Karren “Kerry” Orr. They eventually bought their family home near Cottonwood in 1979, were parishioners at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and became proud parents of eight children and 30 grandchildren.
In 1973, Chuck took over Uhlenkott Pump Service from his uncle Alphonse and worked this business with his family for over 39 years. He retired in 2012 and sold his business to a former employee, David Spencer and his wife Danielle. These years were extremely busy taking care of his many customers all over Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. Chuck absolutely loved his work, and especially thrived on working with his children while helping people with their water needs.
Chuck was known to be a physically strong working man who loved his Catholic faith. It was not uncommon to see him at an early morning daily Mass or kneeling in adoration late in the evening after a full day’s work.
He was highly regarded as a moral and upright man with a great sense of humor who always enjoyed telling a good joke and playing pranks on his family and friends. He had an unconditional love for his wife and children, and also for all children. This led him and his entire family to be active in the prolife movement beginning in 1980. Since then, he remained diligent in fighting for the unborn and constant in his support of Kerry in her prolife lobbying efforts. Chuck and Kerry traveled throughout Idaho giving educational prolife presentations in schools and to other various audiences.
Chuck loved singing while playing the piano, guitar, harmonica, and accordion – all by ear – for the entertainment of his family and friends.
A highlight for Chuck was traveling with his wife and two daughters to Ahaus, Germany and Widnau, Switzerland in 2015 to visit the homeland of his Uhlenkott and Frei ancestors.
Chuck is survived by his wife, Kerry, his children, Gregory (Maura and 8 children), Paul (Kristin and 6 children), Daniel (Mimi and 6 children), Matthew (Magdalene and 6 children), Kristina Gervais (Joe and 2 children), Fr. Mark, Jacob (and 2 children), and Rachel.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Elaine Alquist.
Services for Chuck will be at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Cottonwood, on Thursday, May 20th with a rosary at 10:30 am and Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 am with Fr. Mark, Bishop Peter Christensen, and Fr. Paul. The family invites all attending to a dinner at the Keuterville Hall following the burial at St. Mary’s Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of the Blackmer Funeral Home, Grangeville. Send condolences to the family to blackmerfuneralhome.com
In lieu of flowers please send a donation to a local, state or national prolife organization or pregnancy care center in his memory