June 25, 1919 — Nov. 26, 2018
Charlie Hartill, 99, died in Longview, Washington, on Nov. 26, 2018 after a brief illness.
True to his character, he refused to give up life and fought the good fight until the very end. He always said, “Don’t say what you can’t do; say what you can do.” He had been living with his daughter for the last year and a half.
Charlie was born to Charles and Agnes Hartill in Astoria, Oregon, in 1919 and had four older sisters. He was the only one in the family born in a hospital, and when his father went home to tell his four daughters about their new baby brother, he said, “It’s a boy. Should we keep him?” Charlie’s sisters all cried, “Of course we should keep him!” He was doted on by his sisters and was called “Little Charles” by family and friends.
As a child , Charlie spent hours outdoors exploring the Lewis and Clark valley and river. He walked to Melville Elementary School with his cousins. His childhood home was near the Lewis and Clark Mainline, and he enjoyed watching the one-log loads on the steam trains.
He had many chores on the family farm from an early age, which sparked his lifelong love of farming.
He earned money by trapping muskrats, and the principal at Seaside Union High School gave a teenage Charlie a job keeping the school’s boiler going.
Charlie graduated from Seaside Union High School in 1938, where he competed in track as a long-distance and relay runner. He started driving a log truck and working as a butcher on the side, a skill his father taught him as a youngster.
When Pearl Harbor was bombed, Charlie tried twice to enlist in the Army, but childhood bouts with scarlet and rheumatic fevers kept him from military service. He then became a gyppo logger and started Hartill Logging. He was one of the first contract loggers for Crown Zellerbach and worked full time until he was 82 years of age.
He loved working in his shop and single-handedly maintained his logging equipment throughout his career. In addition to logging, he ran cows on his small farm in Warrenton, made and sold hay, and contracted fieldwork. In later years, he raised sunflowers, corn and pumpkins and sold them from a roadside stand.
In 1945, he married Irene Nordmark at her family’s home in Seaside, and they were happily married for 70 years. They settled in Warrenton and raised three daughters. He liked to travel with his family and enjoyed numerous road trips in the U.S. and Canada. He attended two World’s Fairs and went to the Oregon State Fair annually for more than 50 years.
Charlie enjoyed good health for many years and was adored by his family. He was known for his endless energy, tenacity and robust work ethic throughout his life.
He was preceded in death by his daughter, Sandy, and his wife, Irene. He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Jill and Colin Brown; daughter, Lori Hartill; granddaughter, Wendy Hovden (Brent); grandson, Ben Brown (Carrie); four great-grandchildren, Kai and Kleary Brown and Chloe Irene and Gray Hovden; and sister-in-law Jeanne Nordmark.
At his request, he was cremated. A private family memorial will be held.
Memorial contributions may be given to Longview Hospice Care Center at chhh.org or any hospice program.