Most of you know my dad for his big voice, his “Big Man in the Middle” stage presence and his big heart.  He is often referred to as a regular Southern Gentleman, a simple man and a Teddy Bear.All of this is true other than being southern.
He was these things and so much more.

Chuck & Sharon on her wedding day.

Chuck and his daughter Sharon

Chuck Ken and Jeanne

Chuck and his parents
Ken & Jeanne

Chuck was born to Kenneth and Jeanne Worden in Minnesota, July 7, 1956.  He was raised in White Bear Lake along with 3 siblings.  He has an older sister Irene and two younger siblings, a sister, Joan (we all call her Jody) and a brother Ken.  His father worked hard through his life to support the family.  His mother made a home and worked hard to raise the family.  Some times were hard, but together they made it through. Because of this he learned to value family, to have patience, to laugh often and love much.  These values carried throughout his life.

Early in Chuck’s life his parents realized that he had a love and an ear for music.  While the pots and pans and a wood spoon made him happy, they decided to get him a drum set and give the “noise” some reason and rhythm.  As he grew, so did his drum set!  Along with this was his mothers love of music and singing.  Irene and him shared this love and with their parents encouragement it became a huge part of their lives.

Chuck As a Teen Ager

Chain Lightning

When Chuck was 15, he and his best friend Steve Marco was 13, they started their first band.  He played the drums, Steve played guitar and they shared the vocals.  I know there were other players as well but unfortunately I do not know all the details. (Sorry to anyone that I don’t mention)  They would take turns having practice in their parents basements.  They remained a band until Chuck’s early twenties.  They remained friends for his entire life; always there for each other no matter where life had lead them.

Music was not the only thing that Chuck had gotten from his parents.  His dad also gave him a love of sports.  He was involved in coaching a little league team with his dad and played on a few teams of his own during his high school years.  Not only was he competitive, but he loved to give others the competitive spirit.

Shortly after high school he met my mom, Janet.  In June of ’77 they got married.  In April of ’78 they had their first child, me, Sharon.  He was a very proud dad.  Some of my earliest memories were going to his band practices.  As you can imagine, it was loud, but from the time I was born we had loud music on the stereo at home so I always thought band practice was a blast.  I am sure that every neighbor we ever had didn’t have any choice but to listen to what he was listening to.

Chuck and his daughter Leesa

Chuck and his
daughter Leesa

Then in 1980 he was again a proud dad with the birth of his second daughter Leesa.  By this time my dad had become less involved with the band, but music was never something that was set aside.  Our house was always Rockin’!  

Chuck may not have been singing in a band, but he was ALWAYS singing in the living room. During our elementary years his main audience was a group of his daughters neighborhood friends.  Even though this may not have been his ideal stage, he always had fun with it.  When we would bring friends home after school we always knew he was home; we could hear the stereo from the bus stop!  As you all know he loved kids.  He enjoyed sharing music, as well as his kindness, with them.

His love of kids and love of sports melded together.   During the summers he played softball for a number of leagues.  Many of these leagues played at the fields at the Village Inn in White Bear Lake.  It is now called The Stadium.  A couple of them were: Cheap Charlie’s, Three Diamonds and there were numerous others.  This was for his own competition.  When I was old enough I got involved in softball as well, he had a blast helping coach my friends and me.  During the winters he coached kids hockey for the White Bear Hockey Association.  He coached all ages from the 4-5 year old Squirt team, teaching them to stay on their feet in skates, to the older pre-varsity teams.  It didn’t matter to him what the skill level of each player was, as long as they were all having fun. For 15 years of our lives we had two seasons, Softball and Hockey.  For one season when Leesa was about 12, he coached football for some of her school friends.  That was a lot of fun for her to get to see her classmates at the games.

During the other parts of the year he also loved Football, Volleyball, Car racing and many other sports.     He always told us he would have loved to race cars but with a family that wasn’t the safest hobby.  Instead he made due with watching the races and going to EVERY car show that came to town.  

In 1990 Chuck and Janet decided to part ways.  He worked extra hard at his job of 17 years at S&T Office Products to make ends meet.  Shortly after this he decided to leave S&T to pursue other paths.  He was back on the path toward his musical dreams.

He learned of Peppercorns through friends and began bouncing there.  Then in 1995 he met Gregory Lee and Chain Lightning began.  For my sister and me it was a realization. We both knew our dad loved music, but until then, I don’t think we realized how much he wanted to share that with others.  It wasn’t always easy to share him with everyone, but how cool is it to have a dad in a Rock Band?   Answer: VERY COOL!

Chain Lightning

Teenage Chuck Playing His Drums

In 1998 Chuck became a proud Grandpa with the birth of Leesa’s first son Randy.  He became a Grandpa again in 2002 when she had her second son, Michael.  As for my husband Marc and I, we haven’t quite gotten to that yet, but we know he will be watching from above when we do.

Chuck with Grandson Randy
Chuck with Grandson Michael
Chuck and his fiance Kelly

Chuck and his
Fiancé Kelly

It was also through the band that he met his Fiancée, Kelly.  They made a home together and she always supported his music and his dreams.  Kelly and her kids, Adam, Chelsea, Brendan and Aaron gave him another family.  He passed away before the birth of Chelsea’s daughter Alison but he keeps watch over all of us and all of his grandchildren will know him through his songs and through our memories.

Through the years he has made way too many good friends to mention but we are all proud that he used his voice and his heart to reach out and help the kids of Make a Wish®. He has given all of us something to believe in.  He has helped these kids achieve their dreams.  Now we all want to carry on that dream for him.  He may not be here physically but he is alive in the hearts of all of us.  His heart, his smile, his laugh and his voice are missed, but he carries on in every person that he touched.

Let’s help keep his dreams alive.

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