Charles Eugene “Chuck” Coker, 79, retired Computer Technician, died Thursday, September 8, 2022, at Founders Crest, a Comfort Care Home in Wichita, KS., after a ten month illness.
Chuck was born September 30, 1942, in Wichita, KS, to Rex Grover Coker and Vera Agnes (Vossen) Coker.
He grew up in Wichita at a time it was mostly safe for children to go outside to play and thierr explore the neighborhood and surrounding areas of the city. He enjoyed the exploring times and was able to put that knowledge to work at the age of eleven, when he started delivering prescriptions for a pharmacy just down the street, and he rode his bicycle all over the City for the next 5 years delivering prescriptions in all kinds of weather after school and on weekends.
When he was finally old enough to get a job as a stock boy and then as a cashier at Dillons, he didn’t just sit back and do the job, after all, he was Chuck. He mastered the 10 bank cash register and soon always had the longest checkout lines because they moved the fastest and the most accurately.
He attended All Saints Catholic School through the eighth grade and graduated from Kapaun High School when it was still an all-boys school. He enrolled in classes at Wichita State University three semesters but finally decided not to pursue a degree.
When he turned 18, Chuck joined an Engineering unit of the Army National Guard in Wichita. During his service in the sixties, his unit was activated for the Augusta flood and the Topeka tornado. He also signed up for Officer Candidate School, which required extra weekends training in Topeka and 2 months training in Ft. Belvoir, VA.
Chuck had a variety of careers from painting airplanes and cost accounting at Beech Aircraft, life insurance sales, manager of a Shakey’s Pizza Parlor, cost accounting, inventory control and purchasing at smaller manufacturing companies, then to KG&E and finally to WCNOC (now Evergy) . This transfer meant the family could no longer reside in Wichita, thus the move to Burlington in 1985.
During the mid-seventies, Chuck bought his first Computer (TRS 80) and did not stop working with it for 48 hours; by then he had written his first program in Basic. Computers were very much a part of Chuck’s interests for the rest of his life and he left WCNOC in 1990 to start his own computer business from which he retired in 2014. He also taught computer “Boot Camps” and taught Excel at Allen County Outreach classes for a few years.
Chuck had many other hobbies and interests besides computers, including building, painting and flying model airplanes in KS and OK; riding his motorcycles; enjoying country music; flowers; CB Radios; target shooting; woodworking and years and years of fishing trips – many local ones for catching fish with the kids and long ones with friends and relatives in KS, OK & AR.
Chuck served as both Treasurer and Vice President of the Wichita Purchasing Management Association in the seventies. He was a member of Rotary in Coffey County, and through Rotary the family hosted some visitors from France, and that led to future hosting of two foreign exchange students, Cristian from Sweden and Andre from Germany. He was elected to the Burlington City Council and was able to serve two years before a health matter interfered. He spent countless hours helping with the Coffey County Relay For Life and Love Lights a Tree for The American Cancer Society for fourteen years.
Chuck was a smoker from an early age and that really took a toll on his health. At one point he spent eight years on oxygen before he received his miracle. He was a double lung transplant recipient on January 15, 2005, at Barnes Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, MO.
Chuck was introduced to Eileen Combs by her cousin in August, 1961, and they were married in All Saints Catholic Church, Wichita, KS, on July 6, 1963. They were the parents of two sons, Brian and Alan.
Chuck was preceded in death by his father and mother, a brother-in-law, Wesley V. Combs, and a sister-in-law, Ruth A. (Combs) Branch.
He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Eileen F. (Combs) Coker, of the home; sons, Brian E. (Thi Han) Coker (Wichita), Alan W. Coker (Wichita); brothers, Lynn F. (Dee) Coker (CA), Michael J. Coker (TX); sister, Carrol (Coker) Russ (Liberal); grandchildren, Steven Coker, Alexander Coker, Eric Oropezsa, Alyssa Coker, Aldrin Coker, Adam Coker.
In-laws: Claudia (Sheka) Combs (SD), Mary (Combs) (Truman) Hamilton (AR), Louise (Combs) (Jerry) King (AR). O. Wayne Branch (OK); bonus grandchildren: Dustin Wells, Mary (Rusicka) Smith; Cassandra Falconburg, Colton Falconburg, Heaven Falconburg, Haily Falconburg, Serenity Goodman; Violetta Oropeza, Jazmin Oropeza, Pablo Oropeza; Jade Tickett; bonus great grandchildren: Marley Myers, Abby Freeman, Eli Tackett, Genevieve Smith, Miles Smith.
Chosen children, foreign exchange students: Cristian Brolin (Sweden) and Andre Weisner (Germany); Eddie Payne and Robert Gifford. And many other friends and relatives, nephews, nieces, cousins and uncle, Joe Shaw (CO).
According to Chuck’s wishes, his remains were donated to KU Medical Center in KC. Memorials have been established with: Midwest Transplant Network, 1900 W. 47th Place, Suite 400, Westwood, KS 66205, and Good Shepherd Hospice, 7829 E. Rockhill Street, #403, Wichita, KS 67206. Memorial Service will be held at a later date. Downing & Lahey Mortuary – West Chapel.
Published by Downing & Lahey Mortuaries & Crematory – West Wichita on Sep. 21, 2022.