Charles Chakoumakos
  • 88 years old
  • Date of birth: Nov 6, 1925
  • Place of birth:
    Biddeford, Maine, United States
  • Date of passing: Jul 21, 2014
  • Place of passing:
    Bradenton, Florida, United States
we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea - whether it is to sail or to watch it - we are going back from whence we came. John F. Kennedy

This memorial website was created in memory of Charles Chakoumakos, 88, born on November 6, 1925 and passed away on July 21, 2014. He is out sailing on his last and final voyage.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Paul Hunt on 15th February 2015

"I was a Geology/Chemistry major at UMF 1978-82. I had Chuck for general chemistry, water chemistry and analytical methods.  He referred to me and my other geologists as "you rock hammers!" and admittedly I was really not much of a chemist.  I was impatient and unwilling to put in the lab time to confirm a conceit that I fekt I understood just fine from the lecture or the book.  I was immature and lazy, it's fair to say.  Chuck liked me but got annoyed with me sometimes.  He was so into it, which I loved.  I have imitated many times over the years the "Eureka" moment in his lectures when he'd reach the key point.  He'd be so excited he'd repeat "alright" over and over again.  "Alright! Alright! Alright! Alright!"  Once I swear he said it 15 times before continuing to the end of his point.  

Once, during my senior year while I was applying to grad schools, Chuck devised a lab for us to do and I spent the better part of a Thursday doing it..a sunny Thursday when my mind was outside playing frisbee. I think it was an AA analysis for aluminum. Anyway, the lab didn't work out and I went to see him the next day to find out why.  He looked over the method he'd given us and admitted it had an error.  I whined about the wasted time.  No way was I repeating it.  He lost his temper! "You think that's how life works? You think they're going to just hand you a master's degree?!??" It was a good lesson I needed to hear.  Part of growing up.  I received my MS in geology 3 years later.  

One of the best professors I ever had.  Thank you, Chuck"

This tribute was added by Elizabeth Como on 8th January 2015

"I love you and miss you.
love Sofia Rose Como Chakoumakos"

This tribute was added by Ricky Hanloser-Kliem on 5th January 2015

"Chuck, you were my mentor, counselor, inspiration and friend. I followed you and Mary Alice to your alma mater, Bates and majored in chemistry. I was 16 at Wantagh High, and you trusted me to work on special research in the lab in back of the classroom, building my confidence while you shaped my work ethic and character. I even babysat your kids. I worked as a chemist for Polaroid for 16 years and got my M.S. In chemistry from Northeastern U. I attended a water pollution conference at UME and was pleased you remembered and was transported back to the exciting world of science that you taught so terrifically at WHS. We met you and Mary Alice at a Bates reunion and we all went back to memories shared at Bates. You are remembered by me for the kindness, strength, and being an extraordinary teacher of chemistry and life. Bless you for all that you have given us students."

This tribute was added by Andrew Cavanaugh on 26th December 2014

"I had Chuck for Water Chemistry. He once told me, "When it comes to chemistry, you should seriously consider becoming a movie critic." That still makes me laugh. He could be brutally honest, but he knew his chemistry inside and out. He knew I wasn't a good student and rather than ask him about chemistry, I was always asking him about his experiences in World War II or famous people he had met, or his thoughts on business and politics. He always took the time to tell me about his many adventures. He was a good teacher and a good man who had a positive impact on me and many of my dear friends. RIP"

This tribute was added by richard behr on 26th December 2014

"Chuck was a fantastic and inspirational professor. After a rough start my freshman  year at umf i eventually came to realize I would have to work to excel.  A terrific life lesson.  My second year long class, water chemistry, ultimately convinced me to focus my academic interests.  When I was offered a research assistant grant to begin a master's at the experimental lakes area, Chucked cheered me on with his enthusiasm.  He was by far the most influential academic  in my life.  He could  be painfully honest.  His recommendation letter was glowing but also pointed out aspects of my approach to research that required attention.  Every student should be so lucky to know a Chuck."

This tribute was added by Rosemarie Russo on 21st September 2014

"I worked with Chuck during the summers at Fisheries Bioassay Lab at Montana State University.  We became good friends, and I soon learned what a hard worker he was.  He was a careful experimenter and a deep thinker.  I feel blessed for having known him.  We kept in touch over the years, and I visited him and Mary Alice in Florida one summer and was impressed with his sailing adventures.  He was a kind and loving man who will not be forgotten.

Rosemarie Russo"

This tribute was added by jane preston on 17th September 2014

"My history with Chuck and his wife, Mary Alice, began a few years ago. I was hired to cook, shop, clean, etc to enable them to stay in their own home for as long as possible. I soon became friends with them and their adult children. Chuck and I loved Greek food and I enjoyed shopping and cooking for what he had picked out for that day. He was a crusty old guy with great stories to tell. He was determined to beat his cancer and did as much as he could for as long as he could.....a true Yankee.
I was with him the night before he died and he managed to open his eyes and smile.....he was ready to give up the fight. I miss him.
PS....he loved my dog, Beau"

This tribute was added by Don Dewsbury on 6th September 2014

"Of course, I was saddened to learn of the passing of Mr. C.  I was in that Wantagh High School class of 1957 about which Dave Hapke wrote.  I have memories, some similar, some different.  Mr. C came right from industry and was teaching because he WANTED to teach.  He was the best high school teacher I ever had.  We all hung around him and were inspired by him.  He took great interest in each of us.  As a result, I went to Bucknell University the next year as a Chemistry major and even won the CRC Handbook for having the best average in freshman chemistry.  Eventually, I realized that this was because of an inspirational teacher and changed my major to experimental psychology, for which I seem more temperamentally suited.  I went on to grad school and a post-doc before settling in on a teaching career at the University of Florida for 41 years.  I am now emeritus.  My wife and I visited Mr. C in June, 2006.  I had my old yearbook and we had fun reminiscing.  The Chemistry Club photo shows Pete Sly holding a clamp over Doug Edwards' head; several from that group went on to fine careers.  I took 6 photos during the visit and tried to upload them to the site but only one, not necessarily the best, uploaded.  I could also scan from the yearbook but with lesser quality.  What a remarkable man!"

This tribute was added by David Hapke on 6th September 2014

"It was 58 years ago this month that we (Seniors at Wantagh High School) met our new Chemistry teacher.

"Mr. C." had just left industry to teach. We were very surprised and ultimately blessed.

Mr. C. explained to us that as we were all interested in careers in science or engineering that our particular class would be two periods long each day and our labs would be on Saturday mornings (he had already received agreement from the football coach). We noted Saturday mornings would be ok but we wanted breakfast. I still think that both Mr. and Mrs. C were surprised when the class arrived at their home on the first Saturday at 7am carrying eggs bacon etc. and wanting to have breakfast. I recall that while the girls from the class helped Mrs. C in the kitchen, the boys were put to work assembling the swing set for their children. Then, after breakfast, off to the lab for the morning.

Mr. C bought special college level text books for us with his own money, asking for reimbursement only if we could afford it. When there were industry meetings in the area, Mr. (or Mrs.) C would attend, then convince the guest speaker to come meet with our class the following morning. What a wonderful course, and I am so appreciative, as my freshman chemistry class the following year was made very easy.

Following my career in Engineering, Finance and Consulting I am now teaching. I believe my focus on students and their learning is in part a result of having spent a year with this wonderful man.

I am blessed to have been able to stay in touch with Chuck all of these years.
Best wishes to Mary Alice and the family. May there be many happy memories.
Dave Hapke"

This tribute was added by Jim Grippe on 31st August 2014

"Everybody had one inspirational person who taught them how to be successful in life. Chuck was mine. I was in his chemistry class in Goshen, NY High School in 1964 (!), where he instilled in me a love of science and practicality. He was the reason I majored in chemical engineering, a career I truly enjoyed. 10 years later, upon moving to Farmington, what a wonderful surprise to find him in his lab at UMF! When I became a teacher, Chuck was my role model.

Mentor, teacher, friend, an icon passes.

God Bless Mary Alice and family.

Jim Grippe"

This tribute was added by R C on 29th August 2014

"You are and will be missed grandpa.  I love you."

This tribute was added by Regina Herrick on 23rd August 2014

"Dear, sweet Dr. Chakoumakos, I will miss knowing that he is not with us. He did understand his students and offered much assistance to the " new math" generation to get us through Chemistry. He was such an inspiration  and certainly made a difference in my life. His love for science and insistence that all students participate in lab science encouraged me to become a chemistry teacher. I have worked with 5000+ lab students over the years. Two children in my family are chemical engineers.
I will always remember the day he came onto the stage dressed from head to toe in his fireproof hazmat suit. He had so much fun stringing "nylon" from that reaction. I am so grateful to have been a Chem. student and lab assistant of Dr. Chakoumakos and to have had foresight enough to write a couple notes to him over the years thanking him and his family for their help through those college years.

Bryan and family members, I can only imagine how you will miss this wonderful man. His integrity and kindness will be paid forward through many years."

This tribute was added by colleen reynolds on 23rd August 2014

"Chuck's passing is a reminder that life is finite.  We are all left with our memories: watching our children grow up, sharing a cup of coffee, and using a kid's sled to pull the groceries up Chakoumakos Hill!  
Chuck loved to fish and he did love his family.
You are all in our thoughts and prayers.
Tom and Colleen Reynolds"

This tribute was added by Tom Eastler on 19th August 2014

"I, too, first met Chuck when I first arrived at UMF 40+ years ago.  He was the penultimate colleague, a great professor, researcher, and friend.  His Dill House chemistry lab was a meeting place for many serious chemistry students and I mean many.  When Chuck retired he left me with many reprints, offprints, and boooks to use with my students.  Even though I got to see him about once a decade or so, I always remembered what a great guy he was and how he helped our Geology Chemistry students make their way into the professional world and graduate school.  His water chemistry work in Farmington and beyond was legion.

RIP Chuck, you are not fogotten."

This tribute was added by 莉 萨 on 19th August 2014

"I knew Chuck when I first came to Farmington as a young professor.  He was one of the most vibrant people on campus.  His passion for education, students, the university, and for life helped Farmington become the type of school that focuses on students and their education, and treats each of them as individuals.  Chuck knew his students, was passionate about their progress, and loved to challenge their minds.  I am so glad that he had a full and adventurous life after he left UMF.

-- Marilyn Shea, Department of Psychology"

This tribute was added by Amie Vegas Koval on 14th August 2014


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This memorial is administered by:

Bryan Chakoumakos


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