Charles G. Gangaware
Charles G. "Charlie" Gangaware of Enola, passed away on Sunday, Sept. 22 at the Geno J. Merli Veterans Center, Scranton, PA.
Charles was born on Dec. 3, 1923 in Coaldale, PA and was a graduate of the class of 1942 from Coaldale High School. He was the son of Chester L. and Emily (Reis) Gangaware.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Jennie Hartranft of Fullerton, PA
Charles is survived by his loving wife of 35 years, Irene (Jones) Gangaware, a brother Chester J. Gangaware of Coaldale, three step-daughters, Deborah Swab and her husband, Michael of Halifax, Irene Bower and her husband, Darryl of Middletown and Georgeanne Cunningham of Nevada, eight grandchildren, Michelle Swab, Johnathan, Brandon, Trevor and Dylan Bower, Samantha, Bobby and Matthew Hutchison and two nephews and a niece.
He enlisted in the United States Army and served with the 702nd Tank Battalion during WW II. When he was discharged from the service, Charles worked briefly in the coal mines and post office in Coaldale. In 1945, he moved to Harrisburg and became employed by the American Legion Department of Pennsylvania in the mail room. He was Emblem Director from 1952-1965 and his Legion background in sports covered more than 30 years. Charles was Activities Director from 1965-1985 and it was those last 20 years that his name became synonymous with Pennsylvania American Legion Baseball. In 1966, Charles got Pennsylvania back into the national fold after a 30 year absence and Pennsylvania soon became the largest American Legion Baseball Program in the country – more than twice the size of any other state. He was a member of the National Americanism Commission and served as Baseball Chairman from 1985-1991 and a member of the National American Legion Baseball Rules Committee – his long tenure as Chairman and his influence and leadership brought about many changes to the rule book.
"Mr. Legion Baseball" as Charles was known, coached American Legion Baseball for 12 years, was President of Dauphin County American Legion Baseball for 6 years and was District Chairman for 9 years. Charles took great pride in sending over 350 baseball players to the Major Leagues and thousands have gone on to college out of the Legion ranks on scholarships for their baseball ability.
Other youth programs inaugurated by Charles for the American Legion were the Junior Amateur Golf Program and the Junior Amateur Bowling Program. Softball and Tennis Programs were also started under the watchful eye of Charles.
In addition to promoting and directing athletics throughout the state, he was very involved in the local community. Charles coached youth baseball and basketball from 1952-1967 and his Junior Legion Basketball Teams won four State Championships and his Senior Legion Basketball Team played in the State Championship game in 1952. Charles is fondly remembered by his former players and colleagues for his dedication and accomplishments to Harrisburg Youth Sports.
In 1963, Charles was one of the founders of the Pennsylvania State Sports Hall of Fame of which he was a charter and life member and was named the State Executive Director and Treasurer and served in those positions until 1983. He was the founder of the Capitol Area Chapter Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame and was its first President and served two terms. He was inducted into the Pennsylvania State Sports Hall of Fame in 1997; along with being inducted into both the Capitol Area Chapter Hall of Fame in 1967 and Carbon County Chapter Hall of Fame in 2012.
Charles was Vice-President of the Junior Baseball Federation of Philadelphia from 1965-1985, Director of Pittsburgh Pirates Foundation which is called HYPO (Help Young People Organize) from 1965-1983, Major League Baseball Scout for Phillies, Orioles, Indians and Dodgers and worked in public relations for the Tigers. He was a director for PA Special Olympics for 6 years, served on the Harrisburg Recreation Board for 10 years and the Susquehanna Recreation Commission for 4 years.
Charles was a life member of American Legion Post 1001 and he was instrumental in establishing Post 1001 in North Harrisburg. His leadership and organizational skills led to its growth and success. Charles became Commander in 1955-1956 and again in 1985-1986 and he was Judge Advocate for 29 years from 1974-2003. He served as President of North Harrisburg War Veterans Home Association for 25 years.
Charles enjoyed bowling in leagues with his grandsons at ABC East Lanes and was an avid golfer and worked part time at Silver Spring Golf Course.
Services will be private with burial in Indiantown Gap National Cemetery with Full Military Honors.
Memorial contributions may be made to one of the following in Charles' name; The Pennsylvania American Legion Scholarship Fund, PO Box 2324, Harrisburg, PA 17105; The Capitol Area Chapter of Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame Scholarship Fund, 531 Kingston Road, Harrisburg, PA 17112; or The ABC East Lanes Youth Bowling Scholarship Fund, 1001 Eisenhower Blvd., Harrisburg, PA 17111.