Charles M. Peters passed peacefully of natural causes at his home in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago on Saturday, November 28. He was 92 and died the way he wanted it, without any fuss or attention. A Chicago native, Chuck spent his childhood in South Shore and raised his family there until moving to the south suburb, Flossmoor. Chuck embraced all people, regardless of their race, background or position in society. Ever the storyteller, Chuck never hesitated to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger.
He always viewed the world as a glass half full. Chuck led a diversified professional career, initially working in the family real estate business and, later in life, continuing that work with his two brothers. His professional pursuits included owning a construction business, working as a real estate broker and developer, and following his personal passion for cooking, owning and managing a successful restaurant. He took great pride in his work to secure mortgages in communities that faced systemic discrimination as a result of "redlining," a practice that impeded people of color from being able to buy their own homes. After his initial retirement, he took on a new profession as an insurance broker at the ripe age of 75. He was repeatedly one of the most successful brokers in the region, qualifying him to vacation with co-workers one-half to one-third his age.
Among his greatest accomplishments was serving as a personal mentor to scores of individuals regardless of their standing or stage in life. At 88, he began serving on the board of directors for his 400+-unit condominium board. The building owners "rewarded" him by electing him to serve as board president. He chaired his first meeting as president by phone from a hospital bed. Nothing made him happier than meeting every morning for coffee with the building maintenance team, a practice he continued for years after his service on the board ended.
He earned a degree in Economics from the University of Illinois, but was a student of history for the rest of his life. One of his major goals was to live long enough to see the outcome of the 2020 election.
Although he kept copious notes and records with pen and paper, he embraced technology far more than many half his age. He loved social media, sent daily email jokes to many (some of whom actually wanted to receive them), and participated in family Zoom sessions on important occasions during the past months while sheltering at home. During the Pandemic, his iPad served as his lifeline to the world. Hours before his death, he expressed his only frustration when he momentarily could not locate his new, recently upgraded device.
He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Janet Peters. They began dating at 16 and were true high school and college sweethearts. Their union was something to marvel. From the day they married, they never spent more than a week apart. He adored Jan and never spared the opportunity to share a story from their childhood growing up on the south side of Chicago. In addition to Jan he is survived by his two brothers, Wayne (Mimi) and Larry Peters, a sister, Connie (Donald) Cohen, his three sons, Jeff (David Young), Bob (Beth Stein) and Chip (Cindy Wilson), and five grandchildren, Michael, Sarah, Lindsay, Dylan and Ashley.
Funeral services have been postponed until a memorial service can be held post COVID so family and friends can meet in person to celebrate both his life and the lives of other close family members lost over the past months.
Charitable contributions can be made to any of the following:
the Human Rights Campaign, give.hrc.org/page/62714/donate/1?ea.tracking.id=or_gnr_hrc_homepage2020;
the James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, moran-center.org/givingtuesday; or
Stand Up for Kids, www.standupforkids.org/donate.
Arrangements by Chicago Jewish Funerals-Skokie Chapel, 847.229.8822, www.cjfinfo.com