In Memoriam: Charles E. Johnson (1962 - 2009)
Charles E. Johnson, known to his co-workers as Chas, began his employment at the John Cotton Dana Library in 2006 as Technical Coordinator of Audio/Visual Services. In just three short years, his untimely death on January 6, 2009, brought an end to his "dream job."
During his early years, Chas and his family lived in Newark, East Orange and Philadelphia with Chas completing his education at East Orange High School in 1980. Six months later, he enlisted in the Air Force and was stationed at the RAF Lakenheath, the USAF's largest base in the United Kingdom. During his stay in England, Chas met Angie, the great love of his life, whom he married in 1984. Chas was honorably discharged in June 1985 when he brought Angie home to East Orange.
While still in high school, Chas began to build on his passion for music and audio technology by first working in Etho's in East Orange. He continued to expand his knowledge by earning a certificate as an audiovisual technician. Following his military service, Chas worked for stores such as Drucker's in Morristown and Sound View Electronics in Teaneck which specialized in audiovisual systems for twenty years. He used the opportunity to learn all he could about audiovisual equipment and its capabilities.
In 2006, Chas began working at Dana as Technical Coordinator. The responsibilities of the position brought together all of the skills and talent Chas had been building for many years. He was challenged daily with the Library's busy events schedule as well as those of other departments, the Institute of Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience, in particular. One of the first major events Chas coordinated at Dana Library was a complex one involving the presentation and recording of live music, speakers, and a slide show projected to an audience of over one hundred people. Chas handled the control panel with the calm of a true professional.
In the hours outside Dana, Chas continued to immerse himself in music, particularly jazz and funk. He enjoyed spending time with his family, often cooking for them on holidays. Chas also indulged in reading, particularly suspense novels, fishing, and watching NASCAR races on Sunday afternoons.