Well known for his outspoken letters to the editor, and other writings, life after retirement has not been mundane for Chuck. He has remained pro-active as a pro-peace, anti-war activist; as an unwavering advocate for the environment; and as a voice for both human rights and civil rights, all of which are based on his understanding of the gospel message, as seen through the eyes of justice — “Reverence for all life; overcoming evil with good; and to love God with your whole heart and mind.”
He has even been known to call into accountability the very organizations that he helped create, for failing to adhere to the purpose for which they were created.
In 1980, at the age of 62, Chuck wrote, “Any solution based on non-renewable resources is a temporary solution – if not for us, then for our grandchildren, or theirs. To my way of thinking, the only real solution, and one that any conscientious citizen can wholeheartedly support, is one that relies on conservation and on non-polluting renewable resources. The knowledge and skills for this kind of program are already here.”
Fifteen years later, in his book, “Ruminations of a Certiﬁed Groundhog” (published in 1995), Chuck writes, “ . . . an even greater threat to our survival is the wanton destruction of our physical environment. This piece of the world we occupy was probably one of the most generously endowed with natural resources of any on earth. Now, most of the readily available resources have been reaped and destroyed. Our oil reserves are about gone, and would be if we hadn’t been importing oil from other countries. Now we are looking at natural gas as a possible replacement as though we [think] it will last forever, which it won’t. We’re down to the last ﬁve percent of our old-growth timber. A big part of our top soil has washed down the rivers, and what is left is becoming poisoned. Our air is badly polluted and much of our ground water is unﬁt to drink. Environmental destruction has probably been the chief cause for the failure of other great civilizations . . .”
“But then, why should a civilization that is so violent and destructive and wasteful and unjust go on forever? Like a 75-year old body, its days are numbered.”
Through the years, Betsy has become his strongest supporter and loving critic. Sadly, however, Fred passed away in February1997.
No matter what some people may call him—“tree hugger; bleeding heart liberal; environmental radical, or peace-nik,” this 90-year curmudgeon remains true to himself, a man of integrity and principle, authentic in his faith in God and committed to making the world a better place for everyone.