Charles Edwin Heath Sr., born August 7, 1922, in Redondo Beach, to Ernest Heath Sr. and Ora Vee Spaulding Heath in a modest house much as he would always chose for his family. Ernest Heath had come from a small town, Dunham, in northern Illinois and Ora Spaulding had come from a VERY small town Fairmount, North Dakota. They met in Inglewood, California where his mother worked at her father’s lumber business. His mother’s father was listed as the FIRST Town Recorder of the City of Inglewood.
The family moved to Inglewood when Chuck was four years old, attending, Inglewood schools while showing, at age SEVEN, a proclivity for golf. He built his own “course” across the creek and street of then-tiny Manchester Blvd., chipping with old hickory clubs to “holes” he created. He would go on to be the only FOUR YEAR letterman with four rings on his golf sweater, but first growing up in Inglewood was interrupted by a close call with Strep Throat. His two uncles were early pharmacists in Inglewood and helped out.
Dad finished Inglewood High School in 1940 and attended Compton Junior College, where the love of his life actually attended without his knowing it. They met in the remote town of June Lake in the Eastern Sierras, where Mildred Alice Bronner was a grocery checker and he was helping supervise young people.
Chuck worked a couple of different jobs, learned welding and acted as golf caddy so he could get easier access to the links. He practiced his golf and was considered a candidate to “go pro”, though some told him he had the TALENT, but not the TEMPERAMENT. One day the local undertaker asked him to come to work at funerals and ambulance, and the die was cast. Chuck was in that funeral office “Monday morning sharp” as the story is told, and was attending embalming college downtown Los Angeles within the month. He graduated and placed second on his state exams, beaten by just one point by a man he would later regularly purchase funeral supplies from.
Chuck worked the busy duties of husband and father after he and Mildred were married in a church, in Compton on July 15, 1944, while continuing to work in the funeral field. He and Mildred had four children and lived in Inglewood, south Central Los Angeles and upon purchase of their home to this day, moved to Inglewood in 1955. Chuck partnered with two other men and began designing a funeral home, which his powerful current employers told him would not succeed under their “influence”. Indeed he had to borrow start up funds from friends and family, because no bank would lend them, however old Inglewood Mayor George England believed and sold them his old chinchilla ranch farmhouse for the funeral home. Those many friends received generous interest and repayment for their trust and support.
George took more than six months AFTER the opening to finally remove his last barn and horse from the property at Centinela and Eucalyptus.
His 1952 funeral home prospered thanks to the trust of the community, and he remodeled and added his Garden Chapel in 1962. The community responded to the new facility and the remainder is history. He retained an interest in the control and quality of the business until his last day on our Earth, when he visited the office, taking chocolate from the staff which was purposefully left out for him, and attending one of his funerals. He had planned to personally direct TODAY the service of a church friend. The staff at Inglewood Mortuary were like family. They too will miss him.
Chuck and Mildred were 50 year members of Fairview Heights Baptist Church. Dad passed on Saturday, July 20, 2013, in his sleep. He went to bed after a great day, fell asleep and stepped into Heaven. He got his wish. We’re sure Mom was waiting for him with open arms and a huge smile. They have been rejoined in Heaven praising their Lord and waiting for us.
July 27, 2013 • 1:00pm
The Reverend Fred Masted Pastor, Weschester Lutheran Church
God bless you Mr. Heath. You buried my parents, grandparents and great grandparents. You went to Inglewood High with my parents. You were always a consummate gentleman. Thank you for being there during our time of need. May you rest in peace. Sincerely, Karen Miller