Chas Redmond 1947-2023
Charles Roland Redmond III, born March 11, 1947, passed away Monday, November 6, 2023. He is survived by his wife, Katherine Wilber, and his two sons, Leif (46) and Adam (39). He died peacefully after suffering a stroke earlier in the year, which was followed by compounding health issues.
“Chas” was born in Wilmington, NC and, as the son of a dad who worked for the US military, moved around a lot with his mother and two brothers. As a child, he lived in many places in the US as well as in other countries, including Morocco and southern France.
After graduating high school in Pennsylvania, Chas attended Penn State University in State College. During his studies, he became involved with the student-run radio station – the first indication of what would become a lifelong love of music. He spent the long State College winters searching within himself and later credited that time with sparking a never-ending journey to better understand reality, his place in the universe, and other philosophical questions.
After college, Chas volunteered for the Vietnam War. Because his brother Mike had already volunteered as a Marine and was stationed in Vietnam, Chas was sent to Korea where he completed his service as administrative staff.
Following his honorable discharge from the Army, Chas was hired in Seattle as a reporter for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and quickly fell in love with the city where he would spend his final twenty years.
But first, he moved to Washington, DC, where he worked for the US Park Service on the National Register of Historic Places. He and Katherine met in DC, then both moved to Houston, Texas, where he worked at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. He was working as a public affairs officer on NASA’s Viking mission to Mars when Katherine became pregnant, and they named their first child Leif after the Viking Leif Erikson and in honor of the spirit of exploration, another of Chas’s many loves.
In 1980, they moved back to DC where NASA’s headquarters is located, and they also welcomed son Adam to the family. When Chas wasn’t embedding himself into as many parts of NASA’s work as he was able to, he bicycled all over the city. Many summers, Chas led the family on cross-country road trips, including to places like Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico and Big Bend National Park in Texas. Both sons inherited Chas’s love of and appreciation for nature. In his later years in DC, he “invented” panoramic virtual reality photos (photography was another of his passions) and created a series of interesting intersections from every quadrant of the city.
Chas retired shortly after becoming eligible, and after making sure he left his NASA colleagues with as much wisdom as he could offer, he and Katherine relocated to West Seattle. One of the pair’s first adventures was adding a second floor to the house, with Chas’s studio and the 3rd floor “tower” designed to maximize views of the water and the islands and mountains beyond.
In Seattle, Chas wasted no time getting involved wherever his interests led him, making valuable contributions across a wide range of community, music and art initiatives. From Westside Seattle: “Redmond was a three-time Chair of the City Neighborhood Council, a City-chartered citizen engagement organization, one of the founding members of Sustainable West Seattle, former board member and community map and trails collaborator for Feet First, former member of the Camp Long Advisory Council, and the live events and music producer for the Morgan Community Festival, the Alki Art Fair, the Delridge Day Festival and additional festivals throughout Seattle.”
Throughout his life, Chas could be found creating art – painting, drawing, constructing mobiles, making sculptures and taking photos. He was also deeply involved in music, doing the sound for local bands (including the Slags and Sidesaddle Cowboys) and festivals. And he became well-known for melted crayon art and could be seen chatting with countless passersby while selling pieces during ArtWalk.
Chas became a father-in law in 2008 and a grandfather in 2009, and embraced both roles with gusto. One particular highlight was getting to spend two weeks gallivanting about Seattle with his two granddaughters during the summer of 2019, and the trio spent their days sampling the city’s best croissants, touring nearly every park, and enriching themselves at the many museums. Chas also found ways to stay involved remotely: during the pandemic years, he and the girls engaged in lego-building sessions via Zoom.
Chas will be dearly missed. His spirit of adventure, knack for storytelling, ingenuity in solving mechanical and electrical problems, eye for and appreciation of natural beauty, willingness to help friends, thoughtful gift-giving, tireless endurance for long bike rides and walks... All of these and more made Chas who he was. Though the world is a poorer place without his gifts, Chas’s loved ones go forward with gratitude for all he’s given them.
A celebration of life will be held on December 16, 1-4 pm, at the Senior Center of West Seattle. Here's a link to the registration page: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/celebration-of-the-life-of-chas-redmond-tickets-760772841047?aff=oddtdtcreator