Growing up in the small town of Harlan, Iowa, Charlie formed lifelong friendships and memories. His father, Dr. Herman Bocken, was the only doctor in the town and built its only hospital next door to the family home. The Great Depression was especially hard on the farming town, but his father worked tirelessly, often being paid with chickens and pork. After his father's sudden death in 1934 at the age of 47, Charlie, along with his older brother Don, took odd jobs after school to help with the family's expenses. They always managed to find fun whatever the situation.
After high school, Charlie attended the University of Nebraska. He became a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and his beloved St. Bernard, "Prince", became its mascot. Weighing 5 pounds less than Prince, Charlie became known around the campus as "Prince's owner".
In search of a possible future in the Foreign Service, Charlie transferred the following year to Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Being raised a devout Catholic, a Jesuit university like Georgetown was a perfect fit and greatly expanded Charlie's social and intellectual experiences.
World War II broke out during college, and upon graduating, Charlie enlisted in the Air Force and served as a Navigator. The Japanese surrendered just before Charlie's unit was scheduled to depart for Asia. After the war, he returned to the University of Nebraska's graduate school to earn his law degree.
While on summer break back in Harlan, he spotted Ann Bacon. She was homecoming queen and a lifeguard at the local pool. After a year-long courtship, the two decided to elope and begin their journey together.
At the start of the Korean Conflict, Charlie reenlisted in the Air Force and served as a JAG officer. The couple were assigned to many diverse locations; Maine, Newfoundland, Virginia, DC, Nebraska, and Hawaii. Along the way, they had their 3 children; Barbara, Bill, and Beth.
After retiring from the Air Force as a Lt. Colonel, Charlie and family set up permanent roots in Honolulu where Charlie secured a position with the young law firm of Damon, Shigekane, & Char. Charlie soon became a partner in the firm and would remain there until his retirement at the age of 94. Charlie's legacy at the firm is large, and in one landmark case involving Koko Marina, he took it all the way to the United States Supreme Court and was victorious. When interviewed upon his retirement about what he considered his major accomplishment at the firm, he simply answered, "the relationships; the integrity and the trust I had with my colleagues".
After Ann's premature death from cancer at age 56, Charlie became known to his golf buddies as Honolulu's most eligible bachelor. Not long afterwards, he fell in love and married Debbie Jones. They had a mutual love for golf, tennis, travel, history, opera, family, and laughter. The seemingly mismatched couple made the perfect pair and they were inseparable.
Charlie's many friendships spanned from Senators to the cashiers at Starbucks. He was intently interested in getting to know other people and their stories. Until he could no longer drive at age 96, Charlie would meet his buddies every Saturday morning for breakfast at Oahu Country Club; sharing endless stories, pranks, and laughter.
Charlie's faith and generosity led to the creation of the Newman Center; a Catholic parish on the University of Hawaii campus. Charlie led a remarkable life, was so loved, and was an inspiration and guiding light to his family and friends. He will forever live in our hearts.
Aloha 'oe , a hui hou Charlie...
A celebration of life will be announced at a later time when conditions permit. In lieu of flowers, donations honoring Charlie may be made to the Newman Center at the University of Hawaii or the Catholic Diocese of Honolulu.
Arrangements Provided By: Diamond Head Mortuary Chapel