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Charles Augustus Pike, 78

Aug 3, 2009

Albert Lea — Chuck Pike loved to hunt, garden, and fish – and he loved a good joke.

“For years, in my childhood, every spring we went to Manitoba to fish,” says his son, Doug. “We went for lake trout and northern pike – and that was my dad: northern Pike.”

Charles Augustus Pike was born Dec. 13, 1930 in Rockford, Ill. He died from complications of a heart attack on July 24, in Albert Lea. He lived in Glenville since 1966, when he relocated from Minneapolis to be the credit manager of Naeve Hospital. Chuck had previously been the assistant credit manager of Donaldson’s Department Store in downtown Minneapolis (where, in the shoe department, he met Trudy Lestina, whom he married). He moved to Bricelyn in 1990.

In addition to his son, Douglas, of Bricelyn, Chuck is survived by his friend and former wife, Trudy Banks of Glenville; brothers Don of Sarasota, Fla., John (Wendy) Lestina of Ferndale, Calif., and nephews, Mike and Gregg Lestina of Mercerville, N.J.

An enthusiastic – and successful – hunter, Chuck spent years of deer seasons in the Chippewa National Forest, bringing home “a lot of large white-tailed bucks,” as Doug remembers. Gardening was a third passion that Chuck passed along to his son. “When he lived here in Glenville,” Trudy says, “we had a vegetable garden the size of a football field. I’m serious.”

Most of all, Chuck will be remembered for making people laugh – and for helping people to feel special about themselves. Even in the final years of his life, at St. John’s Lutheran Home in Albert Lea, he was “notorious,” Doug reports, “for running around with a coffee pot, filling other people’s cups.” Chuck attracted other notoriety, too. One morning only two months ago, he woke up, got dressed, made a long, long tail out of toilet paper, hung it out of the back of his jeans, and walked casually down the hallway and into the dining room.

Everybody laughed and laughed,” Trudy says. “The staff and the patients. It was a good day for everybody.”

Visitation is today, Monday, Aug. 3, 2009, at Bruss-Heitner Funeral Home in Bricelyn from 4-6 p.m. with a 6 p.m. service.