Nothing feels the same as losing a loved one, whether they be related or not, a passing is a hardship of life. Remembrance is the one thing that keeps that passing from being completely unbearable. And for Charles “Chuck” Hiatt, memories keep him alive for everyone.
The memorial in the Klein Center was a perfect tribute to the life of the former CF professor. The centerpiece of the room was home to a table with pictures of Hiatt’s garden next to a book where people wrote memories and their goodbyes as a way to “sign” the guest book. In waiting for it to begin, the projectors played a slideshow of Hiatt’s garden that gave a glance into the beauty of what Hiatt brought to the world.
Off to the sides, besides the food and tables for guests was a table dedicated to his service in the military and another to his many outgoing and crazy ties. Centered behind the podium for speakers was Hiatt’s own 6,000 mile blanket from spinning.
Even if you did not know who Chuck Hiatt was before the memorial, the event brought you to tears and showed you exactly who he was. Speakers shared the many memories they had with Hiatt as well as his achievements.
“He touched everyone he met,” said James Henningsen, CF President. “He was always smiling and he became like a brother to me. He was always volunteering, doing committees, and campaigning with the Foundation.”
Many talked about the work he did with the Foundation. Hiatt turned a small nonprofit of five counties to 42 counties across Florida, and expanded job opportunities from 200 to 400 employees. Hiatt had served on the board from 2004 until his death from secretary all the way to president.
Apart from his involvement with the community and his dedication to serving, he was also an active spinner with the Zelinskis at CF. Hiatt had begun spinning in 2009 and during his time, he dedicated one bike to himself, reserved bikes for other active spinners, donated to the spin program, and achieved over 8,000 miles spinning.
“I can remember when Mary Kate and Chuck [Hiatt] would bring in dressed up mannequins on Halloween in different costumes,” Donna Zelinski, spinning instructor, said.
Speaking of the memories brought smiles and tears, both of happiness and loss. None were as moving as the letter read from Nancy Abshier though.
According to the letter, Hiatt would always be the designated coffee maker/ candy contributor. It also spoke of how in three years all Hiatt hoped for was 100 percent participation in fundraising.
Charles Hiatt was the first faculty member to receive an endowed chair as well as being a winner of the Gabor award. Also on his designated bike with his 8,261 miles on it is a plaque in memory of Hiatt from the Zelinskis for his dedication to the program.
Charles “Chuck” Hiatt may be gone from the life he led at CF, but his memory and qualities will forever live on in the college forever.