Charles “Charley” Richard Venable Jr., 89, died on June 15, 2011 at his family home in Bartlesville, Okla.
Venable was a man of great loyalty and devotion to his family and friends; a man of good humor who knew how to tell a joke and how to appreciate one; a man whose smile was both sincere and infectious; a man who brightened many a room and more than a few lives.
He was born in Roanoke, Virginia on April 21, 1922. He was the only son of Charles R. Venable and Agnes (Pollock) Venable. He graduated from Jefferson Senior High School in Roanoke in 1939 and received his bachelor’s and master’s of science degrees in ceramic engineering from Virginia Tech in 1943 and 1944.
Venable worked for a refractories company in Pittsburgh, Penn., for one year and for Blue Ridge Glass Company in Kingsport, Tenn., for six years. In 1951, he moved to Bartlesville and joined Phillips Petroleum Co., working in the Research and Development Department. He transferred to the Engineering Department in 1955, working there until his retirement in 1985 as Principal Engineer, Ceramics and Refractories.
After his retirement, he consulted as a refractories engineer for several years.
Venable married Jean Elizabeth Herndon on Feb.2, 1946, in Kingsport, Tenn., and they celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary this year. They raised one son and two daughters, and made their home in Bartlesville. Charley was an active member of the Adams Boulevard Church of Christ for many years. He participated in the Prison Ministry, worked on community care projects, and occasionally taught Bible classes.
Venable enjoyed duplicate bridge, fishing and gardening. In 1947, he directed the first American Contract Bridge League sanctioned bridge tournament in Kingsport. In 1970, duplicate bridge became his main hobby and he achieved the level of Silver Life Master in the ACBL. In the 1990s, he began managing two duplicate bridge clubs in Bartlesville and directed local games for many years. Charley was particularly interested in helping newer players learn the game.
Venable was a member of the American Contract Bridge League, 55+ Duplicate Club, The American Ceramic Society (50+ years), American Concrete Institute, the Pylon Society of Virginia Tech, the Hillcrest Country Club, the Kingsport Lions Club (Secretary-Treasurer), and the Kingsport Commodore Club (President). He was a member of ACerS Refractory Ceramics Division and NICE
He had an active interest in Republican politics, served as Washington County District Committeeman for three terms, and worked diligently to elect Henry Bellman as Oklahoma’s first Republican governor since statehood.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Jean; one son, C. Richard Venable III and his wife Katherine of Magee, Mississippi; two daughters: Pamela Hunnicutt and her husband Larry Feeney, of Bellingham, Washington, and Adele Baker, of Tulsa; two grandsons, M. Tyler Venable and Jeffrey A. Venable; three great grandchildren; and two nephews, Dr. Harry Benjamin Stone III and his wife Merle and Dr. Kearfott M. Stone and his wife Julie. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Mrs. Harry B. (Margaret) Stone.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hope Harbor Children’s Home, PO Box 1047, Claremore, OK 74018 or Church of Christ Prison Ministry, in care of Mr. Bud Tibbles, Jail and Prison Ministries, PO Box 326, Hominy, OK 74035.