Charles Oscie “Frenchy” French, 72, of Cleveland passed away peacefully Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014, at a local medical facility.
His family had been by his side during his recent illness and now celebrate his heavenly home going. Prior to moving to Cleveland in 2013, he had resided in Nashville for 42 years.
He was born Feb. 14, 1942 in Charleston, S.C., where his dad was stationed at the Navy base. His mother said he was a Valentine gift she could never return. He always called his dad Sailor Pop. He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles E. French and Martha Fay Powell French.
Left to cherish his memory are his daughter, Haley Carolyn Powell French and his grandson, Charles Michael Miraglia, of Nashville: his sisters: Harriet (Bob) Taylor of Cleveland, Fay (Herbert Jr) Benton of Hiawassee, Ga., Carmen (Karren Endress) French of Phoenix City, Ala.; brothers: Jeremiah and Paul (Stacy) French of Cleveland and David French of New Bern, N.C.; nephew Rob Taylor: nieces: Tamara Taylor (Ellis) Humphres, Jessica French and Kelsey French: great-nieces: Hattie Humphres and Elsie Humphres of Cleveland.
Some other special people are Joan Overstreet French, mother of his daughter Haley, Kathy Bogaty, best friend and his sweetheart for nearly 20 years (counting unmarried and married years) and John Spann, close friend and supporter in many ways, all of Nashville.
He attended schools in Statesboro, Ga.; Biloxi, Miss.; Mobile, Ala.;, and Owensboro, Ky. His family moved to Cleveland, in 1959 and he graduated from Bradley County High School in 1960. During his senior year, he was student newspaper sports editor, on the yearbook advertising staff and participated in football. The day after graduation, he began active-duty in the U.S. Navy, having been in the Navy reserves for two years prior. He served as Electronic Technician petty officer with the Polaris Nuclear Submarine Squadron on the U.S.S Proteus, Holy Loch, Scotland and also served in Cuba.
Upon honorable discharge in 1962, he attended Tenn. Tech University, Cookeville, TN. While at Tech, his classmates supported his leadership abilities by electing him freshman class president, sophomore class president, student body vice-president and student body president. He served on the executive Council of Baptist Student Union, was the editorial editor and business manager of the student newspaper, The Oracle. He was in the Eagle Honor Society of Academic Achievement (top five seniors), listed in Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities, member at Circle K (Kiwanis), Omnicron Delta honorary society, Tau Kappa Epsilon and in the Veterans Club. During his life he supported TTU in many ways and attended most homecoming games. He was 1978 chairman of Tech’s national fund raising drive. He obtained a B.S. in Mathematics with Industrial Engineer and Physics Minor and also an M.A. in Education in Guidance and Counseling. During his college years, he also obtained his pilot’s license.
He made many lifelong friends at Tech. A small group of them went on annual ski trips in various states. After the last in the group turned 50, they dubbed themselves “The Over The Hill Ski Gang.” Charlie proudly skied for six decades of his life, most recently in 2012 at age 70.
After graduation, he moved to Nashville to work for the Collegiate Company as publisher of their Collegiate Guidepost for all of their localized editions. During his lifetime, he worked at various companies in marketing, sales, sales management, recruitment, training and government/corporate customer relations. He retired in 2008 from R S Medical Company.
Known as a true public servant, he was elected in 1971 as the 16th district Metro Councilman, the youngest ever elected at that time. He was elected to serve a total of 28 years with a 98 percent attendance rate. During these years, he had served as President Pro Tem and chaired numerous Council committees, including Education Codes, Public Works, Public Safety, Aviation and Rules/Confirmation. He was past Chairman of Historic Nashville. He was chairman of the committee that got the Oilers to move to Nashville to become the TN Titans. He served as President of Urban Observatory, was on Mayor’s Council of Youth Opportunity, held leadership positions in the Tennessee Municipal League and National League of Cities (5 terms). He was on Nashville Convention Center Commission and chairman, Stadium Study Task Force. He voluntarily served on many boards of civic and charity organizations.
The joy of his life for the past 31 years has been his daughter Haley and for the past 4 years, his grandson little Charlie. He stated that the best job of his life was being Haley’s dad. As she grew, he included her in all aspects of his life: ball games, Council meetings, travel to many states and several countries. During his lifetime, Charlie traveled to 40 countries on 4 continents.
He accepted Jesus Christ as his savior at an early age at Zion Baptist Church, Mobile, Ala. He was active there in the Royal Ambassadors. He attended Two Rivers Baptist in Nashville for many years.
The family wishes to extend appreciation to the kind caregivers at Clare Bridge Assisted Living in Cleveland where he had resided for the past year.
The Remembrance of Life service is set for Tuesday, August 26, at 1 p.m. at North Chapel Jim Rush Funeral Homes. The family will receive friends from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. that day. Another service and interment will be in Nashville at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Greenways for Nashville, Urban Housing Solutions (Nashville) or the Alzheimer’s Association.
You may send your condolences and your memories to the French family at www.jimrushfuneralhome.com.