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C. E. “Chuck” Romine, Jr.
Charles Everett Romine, Jr., 87, peacefully fell asleep in the Lord just before sundown on Sunday, September 24, 2023, at Cabell Huntington Hospital. His family and friends rejoice in his homecoming in the Lord and his entrance to eternal life through Christ’s Holy Resurrection.
Chuck was born to Shirley Mae and Charles Everett Romine, Sr., in Spencer, Roane County, West Virginia, on January 16th, 1936, the third of three children born to the couple who would then move the family to Point Pleasant, West Virginia, before settling in Huntington as Chuck entered high school.
At Huntington High, he flourished as a student leader and musician in the Pony Express Marching Band playing the tuba and sousaphone for football games and at band festivals. Upon graduation from Huntington High in 1954, Chuck matriculated at Marshall College, where he studied business while working full-time and was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. The life-changing highlight of his college life, however, was meeting his future wife, Phyllis, on campus where he courted her with ukulele playing and visits to Johnny Angelo’s Pizzeria. Graduating from Marshall in 1958 (admittedly with more than a little tutoring from his new bride) he and his Lincoln County belle would go on to build a life of service and gratitude in Huntington, raising their four children in the city, as Phyllis taught in the public schools and Chuck built his insurance agency with State Farm, a company he was grateful to represent for more than 40 years.
Chuck loved being around water from an early age, whether as a boater, water skier, fisherman, or, working at Huntington’s Olympic Pool, where he was a lifeguard, swim instructor, and competitive diver. But, as an adult, it was his love for the game of golf that would capture and engage him until his passing. Learning golf in his twenties, Chuck took to the sport with uncommon gusto and enthusiasm. His love of playing pool was lifelong and his passion for poker was shared by the other members of the Thursday Night Poker Club, the August 2023 gathering for which Chuck hosted the guys at Woodlands, replete with a hearty buffet of Stewart’s Hot Dogs and root beer in the offing.
Chuck and Phyllis shared a love of family, music and travel. They loved being with other fans of traditional jazz at conventions, including The Coon Sanders Nighthawks Fans' Bash held annually for many years in Huntington and meetings of the Fretted Instrument Guild of America, with whom, over a sultry August weekend in 2002, the couple participated in a great walking parade of nearly 100 Dixieland banjo players in New Orleans and played their way through the Vieux Carré, strumming, sweating and singing as much to their own delight as to that of the gathered street crowds.
In 2018, Governor Justice awarded Chuck one of the state’s great honors, The Distinguished West Virginian Award, after his life of dedicated service in both public and private sectors to The Mountain State. Shortly after he was selected as Huntington Young Man of the Year in 1968, Chuck was first elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates. He would then be re-elected multiple times over the next 50 years until his retirement from public service in 2018 at the age of 82. Chuck was known for being the legislator who sought consensus early. He reached across the aisle to colleagues of the other party for the greater good, mentored younger legislators regardless of their politics, always took the high road and by example encouraged others so to do. And, as the snappy, octogenarian of the chamber, happily showed the younger Delegates how they, too, could sport a jaunty, hand-tied bowtie.
Chuck was an active Rotarian until his passing and served on numerous boards, including one of his favorite organizations, Goodwill Industries. Phyllis’s enthusiasm for teaching special needs children paired well with Chuck’s love for Goodwill and its mission to provide meaningful work for adults who are often marginalized from typical work settings. As senior adults with their own disabilities, Chuck and Phyllis received much kindness from countless caregivers, nurses and doctors – loved ones, all – for whom their family extends its deepest gratitude.
Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in his early 70s, and, always up for a challenge, Chuck remained active, playing golf, pool, croquet and continued entertaining others with his music, all the while selflessly caring for Phyllis, as she, too, suffered from debilitating, chronic disease late in life. He helped revive a Parkinson’s support group in Huntington and enjoyed “Rock Steady” Parkinson’s boxing therapy. Chuck’s hallmark, glass-half-full, sunny optimism, and sincere smile for everyone he encountered, by God’s grace and mercy, helped sustain him, his wife, family and friends through life’s toughest challenges and greatest joys.
Chuck is predeceased by 19 days by the love of his life and wife of nearly 66 years, Phyllis. He is also predeceased by his parents, his sisters, Alice and Judy, and their husbands. Chuck is survived by beloved children, Charles III (Mary Ann) of Ponte Vedra, FL; Dr. (Colonel) David of Austin, TX; Bradley (Vickie) of Bermuda Run, NC; Anne (Steve) of Lexington, KY; by grandchildren, Reed, Grant, Alex, Emma, Anna and Lauren, and great-grandson, Alex Logan; as well as loyal brother- and sister-in-law, Ronnie and Naomi Cremeans, along with numerous, loving nieces, nephews, cousins and other extended family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to one of two family scholarships at Marshall University: The James and Pauline Cremeans Scholarship in the College of Education, and/or, the Charles and Shirley Romine Scholarship in the School of Business through the Marshall University Foundation.
A Homecoming Celebration and Visitation for Chuck and Phyllis is scheduled for Thursday, September 28, 2023, at 12 o’clock noon in Smith Hall at Fifth Avenue Baptist Church, a service of Christian Burial to follow at 2 PM in the Fifth Avenue Baptist Sanctuary, The Rev. John Campbell officiating, with burial at the family plot at Ridgelawn Memorial Park proceeding forthwith.
Charles and Shirley Romine Scholarship in the School of Business
Marshall University, Huntington WV
The James and Pauline Cremeans Scholarship in the College of Education
Marshall University, Huntington WV