Obituary of Charles R. McDonald
Charles “Chuck” R. McDonald, age 81 died December 4, 2023 in Middletown Connecticut. Known as Charlie to his family, and Chuck to his friends, he was born in New Jersey, the son of Ralph and Margaret McDonald of Massachusetts. He leaves behind a wife, Patricia Rzewnicki, whom he married in 2012, and a daughter from a previous marriage, Michelle (McDonald) Schleuter, (husband Craig Jones) granddaughter Jordan Schleuter and grandson, Hunter Schleuter of Illinois. He also leaves behind a brother, Glenn McDonald and wife Laura of Illinois a sister, Marianne (McDonald) Demakis and husband Peter of Massachusetts. Niece Emily Smith McDonald (husband Bob Czech) of New Jersey, nephew Tim Demakis (Carrie) and Niece Kendra Broussard (Doug) of Massachusetts, inlaws from his wife’s side who include Linda Guzzardi of Connecticut, John Labieniec and Sheila Ward of Connecticut, their children and great nieces and nephews on both sides of the family. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph and Margaret McDonald and sister-in-law Carolyn Smith McDonald (Glenn) and brother-in-law Carmen Guzzardi (Linda).
Chuck was a lover of trivia and telling stories about his life. He attended Fairfield Prep and Archmere in (Claymont, DE) where he was known as the “Cooler King” by now US President Joe Biden who also attended Archmere. The story was that Chuck and several other police chiefs met with then Senator Biden at the Capitol. Biden looked at Chuck and said I know you! Archmere! Your moniker was “cooler king” because you were always in detention. This was a name Chuck did not know he had. Chuck was also known to have booked Bill Haley and the Comets on a handshake while he was at Archmere, the weekend prior to their big hit “Rock Around the Clock. The Comets honored that deal and the grounds were overloaded with cars and astonished clergy.
While on high school football teams, he was advised by football legends Frank Gifford and Pat Summerall. While putting himself through college, he worked for Sperry Rand Corporation and Norden-KETAY in Norwalk, CT. It was at Norden that he was part of a team that put together a set of cufflinks embedded with circuit chips for President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. He attended Central CT State University (CCSU) where he attained his BS in Business Administration. He was President of the Alumni Association 1979-80. He worked as an Associate Dean of Business Affairs at Central for several years handling the contracts for food services(ARA) and the bookstore(B&N) before taking on responsibility for the campus security department and emergency services as the Director of Public Safety.
In 1976, working with then Majority Leader of the CT House of Representatives, Billy O’Neill, and Representative Bob Carragher, Chuck drafted legislation making the campus security departments at the four CT state universities recognized as police departments. This was done to provide them with police academy training. Chuck was an avid supporter of professionalizing campus security operations and advancing law enforcement generally. He became the Director of Police Operations (Police Chief) at Southern IL University Edwardsville in 1979. He was hired by VP of Administration Ria Frijters to professionalize the campus police force. During his 20 years of service at SIUE, Chuck served as President of the Southern IL Police Chiefs Association in 1986 and President of the Illinois Chiefs of Police Association in 1990. He was also on the Board of the Major Case Squad of greater St. Louis and the IL Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board (Springfield). Friends oftentimes joked that there were few professional or civic organizations that he joined that he did not attain a leadership position. He retired from SIUE in 1998, having served the longest term as campus police chief of SIUE. Chuck was in a profession that worked 24/7, and he was a workaholic. He received numerous awards during his career, all in testament to his devotion to a career he devoted his life to.
Following retirement from SIUE, Chuck became an investigator with the IL Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board. He retired from this position in 2009. He also served as the CEO of the Law Enforcement Foundation of Illinois (LEFI) working tirelessly to acquire funding for the organization and especially to sponsor PACT (Police and Children Together) camps for youths in the metro-east IL area. He also served on the City of Edwardsville’s Mobile Intensive Care Trust Committee for many years. Chuck was a longtime member of the Edwardsville Rotary Club and served as President for the 1999-2000 term. He was also a Paul Harris fellow. He was a previous member of St. Cecilia’s Church in Glen Carbon, IL. After relocating with his wife to Cromwell CT in 2021, he joined St. Paul’s Church in Kensington CT.
Friends and family are invited to a Mass of Christian Burial on Wednesday December 13th at 10:00 AM at St. Paul’s Church, 485 Alling St. Berlin. The Mass will be live streamed staring at 10 am on December 13, 2023 please visit www. stpaulkensington.org. Click on St. Paul Live and scroll down to the dialog box on the right. Burial will held privately at a later date in St. Joseph’s Cemetery, 522 Terryville Ave, Bristol, CT Section 18. The Farrell Funeral Home, 110 Franklin Square, New Britain is in charge of the arrangements.
The family thanks those who kept involved with Chuck during his declining health. Honorary pall bearers are: Bill Livingood, Gary Schira, John King, Jack Pecoraro, Rich Schardan, Jack Humes, Terry Knebel, Carl Wolf, Robert Czech and Glenn McDonald.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to his favorite charities: The “Backstoppers” Inc. , P.O. Box 795168, St. Louis, MO 63179-0700St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.