Charles “Charlie” Robert Hein, 83, of Sabetha, Kan., died peacefully surrounded by family and friends on June 10, 2016. Charlie was born on June 3, 1933 in Yutan, Neb., to Carl Otto “Charlie” and Irene (Suhr) Hein. Known for his strong will and graciousness, Charlie will be much missed.
Narrowly surviving a construction cave in at age 18, Charlie went on to join the U.S. Army where he served in the 371st Armored Infantry Battalion and was a graduate of the Leadership School, Fort Riley, Kan., in 1953. Employed as company clerk, he rose to the rank of Corporal earning the National Defense Service Medal and the Army of Occupation Medal (Germany). Discharged in 1955, Charlie attended Wayne State College, Wayne, Neb., where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree. While at Wayne State, Charlie met and married Margaret “Peggy” Anderson in 1957. She was the love of his life and best friend. They were together for 48 years, until her death in 2005.
As a graduate school student at the University of Nebraska, Charlie worked with R. Neale Copple as a researcher for the full-length history of Lincoln, Neb. Tower on the Plains, published in 1959 for the Lincoln Centennial celebration. A writer at heart, he next became an editor and writer for the Northwestern Bell Telephone Company in Omaha. He was also a special features editor and general assignment reporter for the Lincoln Evening Journal. From 1962 to 1968, Charlie was a reporter, editor and managing editor for the Sun Newspaper, Omaha.
Mr. Hein entered the political arena in 1961 as the Executive Secretary of the Nebraska Democratic State Central Committee. He chaired the ‘Bonner for Congress’ committee in 1962. Ever a follower of national and international politics, Charlie was an avid reader and enjoyed any opportunity to discuss the political news of the day. Perhaps not surprisingly, Charlie was a member of Pi Kappa Delta, an honorary speech fraternity.
After his newspaper experiences Charlie transitioned to working in higher education, becoming Director of Public Relations and Development at Doane College, Crete, Neb., in 1973. While at Doane, several high profile ads he designed were published in Time Magazine. From 1978 to 1980, Charlie served as the Director of University Relations and Executive Assistant to the Chancellor of the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He was the recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal in 1978 in recognition of extraordinary service to UNO. Hein was next called to become University of Nebraska Foundation Associate Vice President at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Crossing the state line, Charlie became Director of Communications at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., and held that post from 1982 to 1987. After K State, he became Interim President and Director of Institutional Advancement at Cloud County Community College, Concordia, Kan. Charlie retired in 1999, then holding the post of President.
No matter where he lived, Charlie was involved the community. In Omaha, he was Vice Chairman of the Omaha/Douglas County Bicentennial Commission as well as a member of the Board of Directors of the Omaha City Library. He was a member of Leadership Omaha, the Speaker of Leadership Manhattan and Leadership Kansas. In Crete, Charlie was President of the Crete Chamber of Commerce. In Manhattan, he was a member of the Rotary Club and served on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and was Chair of the Chamber Committee on University Relations and Student Development.
Nine years ago, Charlie moved to the Apostolic Christian Retirement Village in Sabetha, Kan., where he quickly established some of his most important friendships. A favorite part of his day was sharing a bit of daily history at the noon meal and then leading the dining room in prayer. Even as physical challenges presented themselves, Charlie remained sharp and his demeanor was gracious and full of humor.
His wife Peggy Hein, his parents Charlie and Irene Hein, and his sister Kathryn Hein preceded Charlie in death. He is survived by his son Charles Robert Hein II and two grandchildren, Sydney Hein and Jack Hein, all of Omaha; his daughter Jennifer Hein, Ann Arbor, Mich., and her partner Julie Walstra; as well as many aunts, uncles, and cousin in-laws.
Mr. Hein has been cremated. A private family service will take place at a later time to spread both his and his wife’s ashes along the Loup River in Nebraska, one of their favorite places on this earth. Donations may be made in Charlie’s memory to the Apostolic Christian Retirement Village and the Sabetha Community Hospital, sent in care of the funeral home, 823 Virginia, Sabetha, Kan., 66534.