Charles Richard Chris, Jr., 91, of Richmond, died July 19, 2022, at Reid Health after a short illness.
He was born March 14, 1931, to Charles Richard Chris, Sr., and Mabel Marie Atwell Chris in Richmond, Indiana. He attended Hibbard Junior High School and Richmond Senior High School, where he met Dorothy Lee Hetisimer. They married December 26, 1951, while Charles was serving in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. He was stationed in Hawaii and later, in the State of Georgia. Returning to Richmond to build a home with his beloved wife, Charles worked briefly as a die-cutter, then as a yard clerk for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad from 1955 to 1961. On March 28, 1962, he joined the Richmond Police Department as a patrolman, and moved through the ranks as corporal and sergeant, serving in the Juvenile and then the Detective Division. In 1970, he undertook 80 hours of training at the Federal Narcotics School in Chicago. In 1975, at the rank of lieutenant, Charles was honored as Officer of the Year by the Howard Thomas Post 315 of the American Legion. Charles was appointed Chief of Police in 1976. During his tenure as Chief, he worked to implement a merit-based system of testing and training to determine eligibility for promotions; modernized means by which officers filed arrest reports; helped develop a centralized electronic communications center to facilitate dispatching emergency services to Wayne County residents; and strove to reduce gun violence. He was an active member of the Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police. He retired in 1984. In retirement, Charles began taking lessons in ceramics, and, with Dorothy, sold his wares at arts and crafts fairs in Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. In 1990, his raku pottery was awarded a first prize at the Lake George Art Fair in Hobart, IN.
His wife Dorothy passed away in 1994, after 43 years of marriage. In 1997, Charles married Thelma Lois Stikeleather, who passed away in 2017. Charles was also predeceased by his sister Patricia Huntington Brangan of Indianapolis. He is survived by his daughters Catherine Roland (Brett) and Cynthia Chris (Arlene Stein); by his grandsons Andrew (Lori), Matthew (Emily), and Joseph Dickerson (fiancé Renee Farr); step-grandchildren Anthony Roland (Karen) and Chelsea Roland; nine great-grandchildren, one nephew, and two nieces. As a younger man, Charles was a competitive bowler, and a member of the Order of DeMolay and the Masonic Lodge of Richmond. He was a man of few words (except when he wasn’t) and loved big band music and detective novels. He was a lifelong member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. In his final years, he remained fiercely independent and unswervingly loyal. Recently remarking on the Cincinnati Reds’ current disappointing season, Charles quipped, “I’ve been a fan for eighty-seven years. I’m not giving up now.”
Charles’s body was donated to the IU School of Medicine per his request. It was his wish to not hold a funeral or service. A private graveside service will be held at the convenience of the family.