Charles Raney, 95, of Bella Vista, Arkansas, formerly of Macedonia, Iowa, passed away on March 20, 2018 at the Midlands Living Center in Council Bluffs. A celebration of his life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 5, 2018, at the Gristmill Theater in Macedonia. A private family graveside will be held in June.
Memorials: In lieu of flowers, please direct memorials to the Gristmill Fine Arts, Inc.
Charles Raney (no middle name), was born in the family home in Carson, Iowa, on May 11, 1922, to Charles "Red" Raney and Esther (Rose) Raney. He had three sisters, Francis, Margarite, and Norma. His mother called him Junior, but his father's name was Charles Hannibal Raney, so he wasn't legally a Junior.
Carson is on the banks of the Nishnabotna River, and he spent his childhood on that river. His stories were right out of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Even as an adult he fished it, canoed it, looked for fossils in its banks after a storm. He played baseball, dove off cliffs, and could hang by his toes from a cross bar. At the age of 50 he learned to ski and then scuba dive. He never seemed to be afraid of anything. He began bow hunting in the 1950s and continued until moving to Bella Vista, Arkansas in 1991.
After H.S. graduation he attended Tabor College, hitching a ride with the Milk delivery truck. He met Betty Jane Allensworth at a dance in Carson just before the U.S. entered WW II. They decided to wait until after the war before getting married. Charles was a scout for the army and was captured in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium and sent to a POW camp in Germany by boxcar. He was liberated by Patton's push into Germany.
When he returned home, after recuperating in France and Texas, he and Betty were married. First living in Bolivar, Missouri working for his Uncle Harv Raney, and then moving back to Iowa after his father died. They lived for over 50 years in Macedonia, Iowa. He worked at the Natural Gas pumping station near Emerson, Iowa until retiring. As a second job, he had a bee business, with over 300 hives. All the family helped during the summer and fall. Raney honey was the best! Charles and Betty had four children, Cynthia "Cindy", Richard "Skip", Phillippe, and Mark. Because he worked shifts for several weeks at a time, he would get three or four days off, and the family would pack up the station wagon, big army tent and go camp somewhere he could fish. But shift work also meant sleeping in the daytime, and that was a real challenge for four kids to keep quiet! Probably why we were outside so much. He was honest, direct, and sometimes a loner. He loved jazz and often went to clubs in North Omaha. He was a clown at the annual town celebration, "Donia Day," and helped build many floats for the parade. He helped build the community theater and acted in several of the plays.
Charles was a Boy Scout leader. One year he made a beautiful chief's headdress for a pow-wow. He had a lovely voice and sang at his daughter's wedding. Charles was active in the American Legion and was an honor guard for years on Memorial Day. When he and Betty decided to retire to Bella Vista, Arkansas, the entire community gave them a huge party, telling story after story of how he and Betty influenced so many.
Charles Raney lived life the only way he knew how - full on, and he passed that spirit on to his children and grandchildren.
Charles passed away at the Midlands Living Center in Council Bluffs on March 20, 2018, at the age of 95 years, 10 months, and 9 days. He was proceeded in death by his parents, his wife, Betty, his three sisters, a grandson, Todd Jeffrey, and a granddaughter, Cari Farver.
He is survived by his four children, Cindy Jeffrey (husband Gary), Skip (wife Mary), Phillippe (wife Pam) and Mark (wife Nancy); seven grandchildren, Jay Jeffrey, Adam Farver (wife Tara), Elizabeth Yancy, Courtney Bui (husband Anthony), Christina Pajak (husband Jason), Sydney Raney and Riley Raney; seven great-grandchildren, Max Farver, Mason and Tylor Yancey, Luke and Liam Farver, Matisse and Miles Bui. Also a sister-in-law and two brothers-in-law, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Just being around Charlie made me feel like I could be a better, more alive person.
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