Land surveyor, collector, storyteller
Charles Leland Wittlinger II, a longtime Claremont resident, died Friday, January 27, 2017 of heart failure at Gracious Living Hospice in Upland. He was 76.
Charlie, as he was known to his family and friends, was born in 1940 in San Leandro, California, the son of Charles and Marie Wittlinger. In 1957 he moved with his family to Claremont, which he made his permanent home.
After graduating from Claremont High in 1958, he studied at Chaffey College and Cal Poly Pomona. He enlisted in the California Army National Guard and served in the Watts Riots in 1965. That same year he began his career as a land surveyor for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. His work led him to travel extensively throughout the deserts of California and the Southwest, surveying along the district’s pipeline and rights-of-way from Castaic to the Colorado River. He came to adore these landscapes, and on his trips he enjoyed collecting native succulents that still thrive in his yard today.
In retirement he enjoyed visiting his sister Sara Kennedy in northern California as well as his nephews’ families there and in Palos Verdes. He was beloved for his playful sense of humor, his sharp memory and his engaging storytelling. He was also a man of eclectic hobbies, such as collecting artifacts of old Walt Disney cartoons, vintage World War II memorabilia and movies of virtually all genres.
He is survived by his three nephews, John, David and Mike Kennedy. He will be greatly missed by them and by their families, and by many friends.
There will be a memorial service on Saturday, March 4 at 3:30 p.m. at Todd Memorial Chapel, 325 N. Indian Hill Blvd. in Claremont. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Charles’ memory to the Salvation Army.