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Dr. Charles Carl Giamati Jr

Obituary for Dr. Charles Carl Giamati Jr

August 26, 1927 - April 13, 2019
| Age 91

Loving Husband, Father and Grandfather


Dr. Charles Carl Giamati Jr PhD

Charles was born August 26, 1927, in Akron, Ohio to Charles and Regina Giamati (née Verdon). Charles had a happy childhood growing up with his brother Bob. They went to the movies, played baseball, and learned to hunt and fish from their father. You could usually find Charlie sitting in a tree, reading a book.

Charles graduated valedictorian from high school in 1945 and was inducted into the Army on October 19, 1945. He served his country at Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina. He attended Oberlin College through the GI Bill and studied Mathematics, where he was awarded Phi Beta Kappa honors when he graduated in 1950. He then attended University of Michigan, working his way through school as a dishwasher and waiter to supplement his income. In 1952, he received a Master's degree in Physics. Shortly after, he began working with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (later to become the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) at Lewis Research Center as an engineer and physicist.

He met his future bride Millie in the fall of 1953 at a dance sponsored by the NACA. Their first date was to hear a performance of the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall, where they attended regularly until 2005. On their third date, Charlie proposed, and they were married on June 15, 1954, and started their lives together in Lakewood, Ohio. They had two children, Claudia and Marian.

Both Millie and Charlie were intrepid explorers with a life long devotion to learning and teaching. In 1960, Millie encouraged Charlie to enroll at the Case Institute of Technology, and he completed his PhD in Nuclear Physics in 1962. In 1966, he received a scholarship through the Fulbright Program of cultural exchange to teach physics at the Istanbul Technical University in Istanbul, Turkey. The family rented out their home on Hilliard Blvd and purchased a Volkswagen in Lakewood that they took possession of in Frankfurt, Germany.

From Frankfurt, they drove south through Austria, Switzerland, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Greece, and into Turkey. Millie's fluency in Slovak and German allowed them to get by when English failed. Both girls were enrolled at Notre Dame de Sion Özel Franciz Lisesi, in Harbiye, Şişli, Istanbul. They spent their weekends traveling all over Europe, Asia and the Middle East seeing the sights and taking pictures.

When they returned from Turkey, they eventually settled in Rocky River, where they resided until 2015. Charlie joined the camera club and won several awards for his photography. He also enjoyed tennis, walking, downhill and cross country skiing, and working in his yard. His azalea bushes were amazing display of beauty every spring. Charlie continued to work at NASA and Millie began her teaching career at Thomas Jefferson Junior High School. In the summer, they would take camping trips to national parks, celebrating what Charlie considered our greatest national treasures. They travelled extensively as a family through both the United States and Canada.

In 1986, after 38 years Charlie retired from NASA and began private contracting work with the Lockheed Corporation on NASA's behalf, which took him and Millie to NASA's Ames Research Center, Jet Propulsion Lab, and Johnson Research facilities, leading the couple to travel widely throughout the Pacific Northwest, Colorado, and Texas. Charlie spent eight years overseeing the development of the Electrical Power System, which is currently in orbit helping to power the International Space Station.

After their grown daughters moved away, they enjoyed visiting Claudia in Wisconsin and Marian in Indiana. They were blessed with two grandchildren, Allan and Kathryn, and Charlie's great grandson Aidan was born in 2015 on Thanksgiving Day. They adored their family and continued to travel to them and with them throughout their lives. Millie passed away in the fall of 2013, but Charles is survived by his daughters, grandchildren, and great-grandson.

He was a singular man, husband, and father. He always thought anything was possible if you just kept trying, and took care of those around him. He was an excellent problem solver with an incredible work ethic, who would always lend a hand when needed. He also had a wicked sense of humor and never ceased in entertaining his friends and loved ones with his wit; regularly making use of clever wordplay and dry delivery, oftentimes when it was least expected but most needed. Charlie will be deeply missed, as will his jokes.

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