A Spirit of Generosity

To those who knew him, Charles’ gift-in-will came as no surprise. After a career in the Canadian Forces, including combat action during the Korean War, Charles spent his final years at Perley Health, where he maintained a busy schedule of sculpting, singing, painting and more. 

“I’ve never felt so good in my life,” Charles often said with a wry smile. “I just wish I would walk so I could get there faster.”

Born in 1930 and orphaned in childhood, Charles was raised by his widowed grandmother. In his teens, he signed up for the Reserves. At age 19, Charles enlisted and soon shipped out for Korea. The Korean War began in 1950 and active combat continued for three years. More than 500 of the 8,000 Canadians who saw action died in combat. Charles served behind the front lines, maintaining supplies and large artillery. 

After the War, Charles continued his military career at Canadian Forces Base Rivers, near Brandon, Manitoba. His Aunt Sylvia, with whom he had grown up, lived there. One evening, Sylvia asked Charles to chaperone a young woman by the name of Irene Harris.

“That first night we just played cribbage,” recalled Charles. “Irene was the quietest woman I’d ever met.”

The two soon fell in love and married—a union that would last 62 years. They lived on a series of military bases and spent two years in Germany. After retiring, Charles served as a Commissionaire for several years. 

As advanced age and illness caught up with the couple, they moved into Perley Health, where Irene passed away in her 90th year. Although confined to a wheelchair, Charles continued to keep as busy as possible.

“The Perley has been so good to us,” he said, “we’re proud to leave the Foundation something in our will.”

Established several years ago, the Zinck Interprofessional Clinic provides a range of therapeutic services to residents, tenants and the general public.