Charles Joseph Mader, 80, while surrounded by loved ones in his Cottonwood home, headed off to heaven’s greener pastures, where he looked forward to being with his family and friends who have gone before him.

Charles, or “Chuck,” was born July 19, 1939, to Steve and Elnora (Enneking) Mader, on a ranch located on the Salmon River Breaks near Keuterville. He was raised there, along with his older sister, Luella, and brother Melvin.

His grandparents on both the Mader and Enneking sides had homesteaded in the area, and it was natural for Charles to inherit their love of the land, as well as learn the meaning of hard work and discipline. He attended school walking or riding horses with his siblings to the Timber School, where his mother taught all eight grades. Charles excelled in school and sports, earning a basketball scholarship to Gonzaga University upon his graduation from St. Gertrude’s Academy.

In 1957, Charles left home to attend Gonzaga, where he majored in education, with minors in history and philosophy. After college, Charles returned to Keuterville. He continued his ranching career, and he began teaching and coaching at St. Gertrude’s Academy. The next year, he accepted a one-year teaching and coaching position at Gonzaga Preparatory School. Returning home in 1963, he continued teaching at the Academy and raising cattle on the breaks of the Salmon River. Through his years he touched and helped shape the lives of many young adults in his coaching, history and government classes. He would strive to instill respect and responsibility to God, family, community and country in the hearts and minds of students. If there ever was a man who believed in the Constitution and the rights given to the people by the Founding Fathers, it was “Mr. Mader.” One of his proudest moments was in 1970, the last year of St. Gertrude’s Academy, when he coached his basketball team to win the state championship. In 1989, Charles retired and returned to ranch life, not only working with his own cattle, but also accepting a position at the Cottonwood Sales yard.

Charles married the love of his life, Elizabeth Hoene, in 1984. Chuck had no children of his own, but had many nieces, nephews and past students who came to him for “fatherly” advice and guidance. “Uncle Chuck” helped them with many aspects and aspirations in their lives, and they appreciated and respected him. Charles was an active man and always there to help out or educate those who came to him not only in ranching or sports, but also in his Catholic faith, current or past government topics, or the basics of how to set goals and work to achieve them and “pick rocks.” Charles enjoyed his time on the ranch, horseback trips, family gatherings and the sales yard. He greatly valued his faith and was a lifetime member of the Catholic Church.

Charles not only helped nieces and nephews, but assisted with school projects and the 4-H program. He spent more than 20 years working on the Idaho County 4-H livestock sale, where he solicited funds to buy 4-H animals from kids who might not be fortunate enough to have relatives with “deep pockets.” This was hard but rewarding work, and it made him happy to know that in some small way he just might have helped a youngster succeed. Chuck was honored to be the grand marshall of the fair in 2009.

Charles is survived by his wife, Betty; sister Luella (Alfred) McCulley; numerous nieces and nephews; and several in-laws and out-laws.

Funeral services will start with a rosary recitation at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 29, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, followed by Mass at 10 a.m., followed by burial at the Cottonwood Cemetery.

Arrangements are under the direction of Blackmer Funeral Home of Grangeville. Send condolences to the family to Blackmerfuneralhome.com.