Charles Phillip Harsche
November 6th, 1921 - September 23rd, 2022
On Friday, September 23rd, 2022, Charles Philip Harsche, passed away peacefully in his sleep, at home, at one-hundred years of age. Born November 6th, 1921, at Mount Vernon Hospital, in Mount Vernon, New York, to Frank J. and Julia Harsche. Charles was raised in the Bronx, New York where he attended Evander Childs High School.
After high school, Charles was drafted into the Army Air Corps (his number was the thirteenth drawn). Since Charles had skills that were in such high demand, he bypassed basic training and was sent immediately to the Aleutian Islands Campaign - Air Offensive Japan. During his tour of duty, he was promoted to sergeant and received several decorations including for sharpshooting.
Once World War II ended, Charles married the love of his life, Mary Elizabeth Harsche, née Rickman, on February 17th, 1945. Their daughter Carol Anne was born on December 19th, 1948. Charles and Mary remained in the Bronx until their passing.
For most of his life, Charles worked for Ensign Ribbon Burners in Pelham Manor, New York until he retired at seventy-five years of age. He helped to create large industrial burners for companies such as Nabisco, a job that kept him on his feet in sweltering heat the entire workday. He had an excellent work ethic and loved building, creating, and designing various projects for family, friends, and his home.
Charles’s home was the recipient of his passion for gardening, and he took meticulous care of his property, often considered the best kept on the block. One of his favorite seasonal activities was planting and harvesting tomatoes and other vegetables. He never sat down a minute in his life and always worked on home projects when he was not at work.
Charles was known throughout his neighborhood as “Mr. Charlie” and would always help his neighbors and the community when he could. He would always toss candy to the neighborhood kids and bring smiles to their faces. He would loan tools to his neighbors. Charles was very loving and caring to all who had the pleasure to interact with him.
Charles was preceded in death by his wife and his only daughter. He is survived by his granddaughters, Cheryl Steinberg, née Nyman, and Christina Anne Mangiaracina, née Nyman, to whom he acted as a father figure during difficult times in their own lives. He helped with class projects, taught them how to ride a bicycle, taught them gardening, fixing home projects, and driving.
Charles took Christina and Cheryl on their very first roller coaster at Rye, Playland, New York. They shared many fond memories there and always looked forward to spending time in his company on weekends when not in school. Whether it was sleeping over for a night with Grandma and Grandpa, enjoying Charlie’s famous “Charles’s Ice Cream Sundaes” or helping their grandfather with a project, watching a movie together, they always looked forward to his company.
Charles loved television and films. Whether it was the original Frankenstein, Dracula, Abbott & Costello meets Frankenstein/Dracula, comics Laurel and Hardy, or the Lawrence Welk show. At the end of a busy work day, he looked forward to a good show, some amaretto, and a peaceful evening with his wife.
Charles enjoyed telling his family stories of riding the Cyclone at Coney Island and spending time at Palisades Park. Later in life, Charles belonged to a senior club sponsored by the R.A.I.N. organization and made lifelong friends there. They would continue to visit him at his home for their weekly poker games. When asked what he won at the end of the day he often replied “I won twenty-five cents today.”
On his 90th birthday, his grandchildren took him to celebrate at one of the oldest steakhouses in Manhattan, the Old Homestead. Following dinner, his grandchildren took him to the top of the Empire State Building because he had never been there before! It was a great memory and one, his grandchildren will never forget.
The gift of being a centenarian is truly a blessed one. Charlie’s remaining family are very thankful for those who helped make his transition a peaceful one. Thank you to Sister Noreen who continued to bring the eucharist and provide him with blessed company. Thank you to Carol, Alexis, and Xiomara for your dedication and devotion. To Racquel, Shawna, Yoselyn, and all the aides from Partners in Care, thank you for providing additional comfort and care towards the end of his life.
The family extends their gratitude to the James J. Peters Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center Veteran homebound care team of the Bronx and Visiting Nurse Services of New York Hospice for Veterans. You are blessed for the work and service you provide for veterans and serving active members of the armed forces. God Bless you and thank you for your service.
Charles is survived by his two granddaughters; his grandson-in-laws Gary William Steinberg and Anthony Charles Mangiaracina; and his great-grandson whom he adored and loved. Until we meet again Charles. Rest in peace.
“I’ll be loving you Always,
with the love that is true Always.
When the things you’ve planned
Need a helping hand,
I will understand Always.”
The family suggests flowers are fine but in lieu of flowers, you can also make a donation in Charles’s memory to R.A.I.N.
or to the James J. Peters Medical Center Veterans program.