SUN CITY, Ariz. — Charley Gyder of Sun City was born April 6, 1934, in Franklin, Penn., to Ruth and Charles Gyder and was the youngest of three children.
Charley attended Penn State University in 1952 with the ROTC Program and graduated in 1956 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering.
In 1954, Charley married his high school sweetheart, Mary Jane Widel. After graduating from Penn State, Charley joined the Navy as an officer and became an aviator, serving on board the USS Ranger. He left active duty in 1963 and served in the Naval Reserve for the next three years, and from 1975-85, he served in the Air Force National Guard, retiring in 1985 as a major.
Charley joined Mobil Oil in 1963 and spent 10 years in management before moving his family to Arizona to work for the Arizona Public Service in 1973. Charley had a mind for business and in 1979 he purchased Wilhelm Automotive Service which now has five locations in the Phoenix area. He was active on the National Board of Directors for both the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and the Automotive Service Association (ASA) promoting the welfare of independent repair shops and training for automotive technicians.
Charley loved Peoria and was constantly looking for ways to improve the lives of those living there. Charley and Mary Jane were instrumental in the campaign to raise funds to build a new Performing Art Center to house Theater Works in downtown Peoria. He was an enthusiastic philanthropist and shared his passion for business and community as an active member in Shriners, Rotary, Elks, Lions, and Theater Works. When Mary Jane passed away in 2003, after 49 years of marriage, the Main Stage at Theater Works was dedicated to her for the work they did to bring Performing Arts and Culture to Peoria.
On Oct. 2, 2004, Charley met and married Edna Garrett, a retired Blackfoot teacher. Soon after, they began to share their time between the warm winters of Sun City and the cool summers of Blackfoot. Charley had many interests and friends.
He enjoyed golfing as often as he could and traveled to many known and unknown places. Charley stayed active in the community, loved his family and friends, and passed away doing what he loved most, playing golf.
Charley is survived by his wife, Edna Garrett-Gyder; his five sons: Gary, Greg, Thom, Chuck, and Doug; his sister, Joann Stewart, his brother, Paul; four stepsons, 24 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service celebrating his life will be held on May 28, 2011, at the Jason Lee Memorial United Methodist Church, 168 S. University, Ave., Blackfoot at 3 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be contributed to Jason Lee United Methodist Church Building Fund or to Theater Works in Peoria, Ariz.
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