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Charles Lavaty - Year Entered 1963

Charles Lavaty




Obituary: Charles Francis Lavaty

October 10, 1941 – July 24, 2022

Charles Francis Lavaty was born in San Diego, CA to Thomas Francis Lavaty, a chief pharmacist mate in the US Navy Hospital Corps, and Beryl Wilson Lavaty, a former hospital nurse.  He had an older half-brother, the late Dr. Thomas G. Lavaty, and two younger sisters, the late Nancy McConnell and Jane  Shelton Pistorio.

Charles grew up in Levittown, PA. He knew from an early age that he wanted to be a structural engineer, hoping to open up the Amazon in Brazil.  He attended New Mexico State University, and as a freshman at NMSU he served as assistant Scout Leader and completed the requirements to become an Eagle Scout. 

At NMSU he played trombone in the band, and in 1960 he played at the Sun Bowl. He also began listening to the Worldwide Church of God radio program and was called into the church. He left NMSU one semester short of an engineering degree to attend Ambassador College starting in 1963, and graduated in 1967 with a Theology major and Journalism minor.  He played trombone in the band at Ambassador College as well.  While a student, he worked in the letter answering department, and continued working for the church in various capacities after graduation.

He married Karen Schnippert on September 21, 1971. His first daughter, Katherine, was born in 1972.  As they were expecting their second daughter Suzanne, he transitioned to engineering, first working as a draftsman.  In 1981, his third daughter Rosemarie was born. 

He worked full-time and went to school full-time, completing his BS and MS in Engineering at Cal State LA in 1976 and 1978 respectively. He was hired by the Ralph M Parsons Company in 1977, where he earned his Civil Engineering license and eventually advanced to Principal Engineer. He started working with CADD, and in that role he was later transferred to Perot Systems, where he became CADD Director.  He retired in 2005.

His interests included gardening, and he planted multiple fruit trees and maintained a large vegetable garden. Charles took an auto mechanics course and learned to do most car repairs himself.  He enjoyed scouring junkyards for spare parts for his beloved older Cadillac models.  He used his daughters as "grease monkeys" to help bleed brakes, hold flashlights, and fetch tools.

Although he was mostly a homebody, he went to Saudi Arabia for Parsons and took many church trips with his family including Poconos, Virginia Beach, New Orleans, Victoria, B.C., Hawaii,  and others. He and his wife cruised the Mediterranean, through the Panama Canal, and around the British Isles.

To his great joy, he became a grandfather when Charles Andrew Bosserman was born in 2015.  Two more grandsons, Gordon Lamar Summers, Jr. and James Michael Summers were born in 2019 and 2021, and he was thrilled to meet them as well.

After battling COVID, he died with his family by his side.


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08/13/22 05:57 AM #1    

Joan Goodchild (Elliott) (1962)

I knew Charles Lavaty well.  I remember him helping me with one of Dr. Hoeh's classes, which I found hard to understand--Charles was very patient, and knew the subject extremely well.  He was a guest at my wedding on campus, and I still have the gift he gave to us.  I will always remember his kindness and friendship.  Joan Goodchild Elliott

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