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March 28, 1959 - March 6, 2020. Mike Charles, 60, of Forest Grove, died Saturday, March 2021, at home in Forest Grove.

Mike Charles

Mike Charles, 60, died peacefully at home in Forest Grove, OR, on March 6, 2020, after a six-and-a-half-year journey with brain cancer.

  Mike was born in Phoenix, Arizona, on March 28, 1959 to parents Don and Joann Charles. He attended Whitworth University where he majored in English and minored in History. At Whitworth he met Judy, the love of his life and they were married in 1982 in Spokane, Washington.

  Mike taught elementary and middle school in the Phoenix area for 15 years while he pursued masters and doctorate degrees at Arizona State University and he and his wife raised two daughters, Beth and Sarah. In 1997, he received a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Educational Media and Computers from ASU. In 1997, Mike and his family moved to Michigan, where he taught in the College of Education at Eastern Michigan University. The family moved again to Forest Grove, Oregon, in 2001, when Mike joined the College of Education's faculty at Pacific University, the position he held until his death.

  At Pacific University, Mike primarily taught technology integration to undergraduate and graduate students in Pacific's Teacher Education programs. He frequently collaborated with teachers in local schools, developing a partnership with Forest Grove High School to offer the Pacific Geospatial Semester, which teaches high school students to use GIS technology to research real-world issues while earning college credit. Mike helped design and lead global study abroad experiences in New Zealand and Ecuador, and whenever traveling, either personally or professionally, took time to look up Pacific alumni and visit their classrooms. Mike was an undergraduate advisor and mentor to many, who loved guiding students through their pathway to becoming teachers. On evenings and weekends, he could often be seen cheering from the stands or audience of his students' sporting events, theater performances, and concerts. Mike was a passionate and innovative teacher who prided himself on preparing the next generation of educators.

  Mike was a committed Christian and an active member of the Tualatin Plains Presbyterian Church (known as Old Scotch) in Hillsboro, where he served as an elder and helped with the youth group. He was also an extremely dedicated Phoenix Suns fan, attending at least one game every year from the inception of the team in 1968 until his death. Mike enjoyed downhill skiing and playing basketball and golf. He loved music, whether he was supporting his favorite musicians, listening to Judy play piano, or singing with his family. More than anything, Mike loved spending time with his wife and daughters, whom he collectively called "The Blondes." In the last months of his life, he learned he was to be a grandfather. Mike was a passionate and dedicated educator, a supportive and encouraging father, and a devoted and loving husband. His energy and enthusiasm is missed every day.

  Mike is survived by his wife, Judy; his daughters, Beth Charles and Sarah Swartzendruber; his grandchildren, Michael Orion Helmick and Kinsley James Swartzendruber; his siblings, Don Charles, Steve Charles, and Kelley Anne Poynter, and many beloved nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

  A public memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 5 at Taylor-Meade Performing Arts Center at Pacific University. Memorials may be given to the Touch the Future Scholarship for 1st generation Pacific students (mail to 2043 College Way, Forest Grove, OR 97116).

  To sign the online guest book or to send a condolence go to

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