Charles Ralph Raisner passed away on Saturday, October 28, 2023, at his home surrounded by family. He was 90 years old. A devoted husband, father, and grandfather, Charlie was beloved by all who knew him.
Charlie was the second of 5 children born to the late John and Mary Raisner on August 22, 1933. He grew up in New Britain, PA and graduated from Doylestown High school where he, along with his brother, Tom, and friends, had a dance band. He worked at his dad's hosiery mill out of high school, prior to joining the Navy, where he completed tours in the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic, and the Great Lakes. After his service, Charlie earned a bachelor's degree from Stetson University and a master's degree from Emory University. He joined the US Foreign Service after graduate school.
Before taking his first posting as a Foreign Service officer, Charlie married Joan Lucas of Reading, MA. Charlie and Joan welcomed their first child, Linda, during his service in Bogota, Colombia. Charlie's second post was in Mexico City, Mexico where they welcomed their second child, Bill. Charlie transferred from the US Foreign Service to what later became the US Information Agency and moved back to Washington DC just in time to welcome their third child, Ellen. Sadly, Charlie lost his wife, Joan, a high school math teacher, in 1984 after a long battle with leukemia.
Charlie worked over 25 years in various information and educational exchange programs, including a long tenure as a Senior Program Officer for the Fulbright Teacher Exchange. In that capacity, he traveled all over the world, building and strengthening that program. Charlie believed that fostering mutual understanding is a critical component of international relations and a necessary cornerstone for world peace. He dedicated his career to that end. Charlie retired in 1992 but remained an avid traveler until the end of his life.
Charlie married Garland Collins (nee Webster) in 1987 and the two blended their by-then adult children into an extended family who remain close to this day. Charlie and Garland enjoyed their family and traveled extensively until Garland died in 2007.
Charlie's spiritual life was very important to him. He was a devoted member of numerous congregations throughout his life including the New Britain Baptist Church in PA, Centreville United Methodist Church in northern VA and, most recently, Asbury United Methodist Church in Harrisonburg, VA. Charlie was an active chorister and also known for devotional poetry that he often shared in his much anticipated annual Christmas letter. Never dogmatic or judgmental in his faith, Charlie was consistently guided by Christ's simple call to love one another.
Sports was also a keen interest of Charlie's. He was a reliable presence on the soccer sidelines for both his children and grandchildren, where he was often vocal in expressing his enthusiasm. He also had all the channels and loved to watch games and share opinions with friends and family members.
Always an art lover and admirer of nature, Charlie took up watercolor painting in his retirement and became a prolific member of the Shenandoah Valley Watercolor society. He distinguished himself as a painter of landscapes and scenes from his many world travels. Charlie's paintings were featured in numerous local exhibitions and are cherished objects in the homes of his family members and close friends.
Charlie is survived by children, Linda (John) Graham, of Waldorf, MD, Ellen (Carlos) Avalos, of Harrisonburg, VA, Bill (Lisa) Raisner, of Bethesda, MD; stepchildren, Ed (VP) Collins, Lynne (Don) Clark, Julie McCutchen; siblings, Mary Sue (Herb) Mather, Chris Raisner; grandchildren, Anna Raisner, David Graham, Gage Avalos, Joshua (Madylan) Graham, Hallie Avalos, Kristen Raisner, Nathan Avalos, Will (Jess) Clark, Jackson McCutchen, Lyndsay (Jarrod) Farensbach, Allison (Jack) Watkins, Pat (Emily) McCutchen; great-grandchildren, Bennett Graham, Lucy Clark, Sam Clark. Jack McCutchen, Cora McCutchen. In addition to his first and second wives, Charlie is predeceased by his sister, Eleanor Roberts, and brother, Rev. Thomas Raisner.
Charlie's family is appreciative of the wonderful services offered by the Bridgewater Retirement Community in Bridgewater, VA during the last fifteen years of Charlie's life. The family is also grateful for the compassionate end-of-life care provided by First Choice Home Health and Hospice.
A memorial service will be held at 2pm on December 17, 2023, at Asbury United Methodist Church in Harrisonburg, VA with Senior Pastor Susan Reaves officiating. Donations to the Arbor Day Foundation and Doctors Without Borders are encouraged in lieu of flowers. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.johnsonfs.com.