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Charlie Tamayo
December 2, 1928 - November 18, 2011


Charlie Tamayo, 82, of Oelwein, passed away peacefully at his residence on Friday, November 18, 2011 after a prolonged battle with cancer.

 A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, November 23 at 11 a.m. at the Geilenfeld Funeral Home located at 309 First Ave. N.E. in Oelwein. The visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, also at the Geilenfeld Funeral Home. He will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery later this year.

 Charlie was born on December 2, 1928 in LaFeria, TX. He spent his life in service to his family, community and country. For almost 20 years, he served honorably in the United States Army, including tours of duty in the Korean and Vietnam wars. In Vietnam, Charlie was put in charge of the medical clearing station in Tan An. Despite resistance from his chain of command, Charlie had to the foresight to prepare for a mass casualty event. Soon after he had secured the needed medical supplies to treat up to 50 wounded, the station received 65 serious casualties in one night. Despite being low on supplies, not one soldier died at the station. For his efforts, Charlie received a medal from the Government of South Vietnam.

 After leaving the Army and settling in Oelwein in 1975, Charlie started and managed a branch office for the Northeast Iowa Mental Health Center. The center helped hundreds of local citizens deal with family, individual and substance abuse issues. In his retirement, Charlie worked with the Red Cross as a Disaster Relief coordinator. When a disaster would strike (e.g. Hurricane Andrew, 9/11), he would coordinate with local and state officials to ensure needed supplies were delivered to those in need. Often times, he would gather and distribute supplies himself.

 Charlie is survived by his long time friend, Sharon Fleming of Oelwein; son Charlie Tamayo of McAllen, TX; two daughters, LaRue Thompson of San Antonio, TX and Alexis Miller of Cary, NC; two brothers, Antonio Tamayo of Laredo, TX and Roberto (Bobby) Tamayo of Oelwein; two sisters, Martha Michel of Baytown, TX and Lola Lodrique of Fort Worth, TX; nine grandchildren and eight great grand children. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Ester Kim Fields, son Charles Glenn Tamayo, two sisters and two brothers.

 In lieu of sending flowers, the family has set up a memorial fund in Charlie’s name. If you wish to contribute, please send donations to the Cedar Valley Hospice c/o Charlie Tamayo, P.O. Box 2880 Waterloo, Iowa 50704-2880. The hospice nurse and staff were an incredible resource to Charlie’s family.

 Charlie’s sacrifice and service will long be remembered by his family and friends. He will be missed dearly. 


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Jeanette Smith on December 13, 2013 at 12:13 PM said:

I am a former American Red Cross disaster relief worker. I was cleaning out a drawer and came across a letter from Charlie and decided to Google him. I met Charlie in 1993 on my first disaster relief assignment in Louisiana. He was the first person I met. He "took me under his wing" and made sure I was taken care of in this new environment. We kept in touch for a few years after and up again many years later in Cincinnati when he was in town for a disaster.

He was a lovely man, dedicated his life to others and always welcomed me with open arms and a warm smile. Three years after his death, I am sorry to hear he has left this earth. I'm sure he is charming his way through heaven. He will always have a place in my heart.

Jeanette Smith
Cincinnati, Ohio
Tony Tamayo Family on October 3, 2012 at 10:25 PM said:

Your beautiful voice and amazing laughter will certainly be missed, Uncle Charlie! Aunt Sharon,Alexis and LaRue you are in our prayers. We pray for your peace and comfort.
Deb Kunkle on November 22, 2011 at 8:34 AM said:

I don't think anyone will ever know the full extent of Charlie's love and commitment to fellow beings. He was truly dedicated to resolving human suffering on all levels and a champion of human kindness. My sincere sympathy to all of his family and friends.

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