Chuck's Thrill of a Lifetime
Thanks to Cain Robles, social service coordinator at EVC, Chuck received a private tour of the Golden1 Center, home of the Sacramento Kings. Chuck has been a resident of the Eskaton Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) for about 11 years, first in independent living, then assisted living and now in skilled nursing. He took his daughter, granddaughter, and two great-granddaughters on the tour with him. The excitement on Chuck’s face was priceless.
World War II veteran Chuck Berkstresser Jr. earned two master’s degrees and two bachelor’s degrees: Geology and geography; chemistry and physical science. The 93-year-old boasted, “I had more guns pulled on me in the geology field than I ever did in combat.” He was in Europe during the Battle of the Bulge where he heard shooting but was never involved in it. At the U.S. Geological Survey, he worked in the resources division as a geologist. Later he became a teacher at the City College.
Some of his hobbies include photography (mostly scenery), reading (non-fiction), and sailing. He also loved traveling with his wife before she passed away few years ago. At the mention of sailing, Chuck was particularly excited to share his stories.
In one instance, he and his wife went sailing in Tahoe. First the lake was too calm. He said, “My sails were hanging limp. There wasn’t a puff of air.” But the next time they went out, the water was way too rough and choppy. The size and depth of Lake Tahoe made his wife nervous.
During a Lake Meade sailing exhibition, Chuck and his wife sailed nearly 300 miles in 3½ weeks. They lived on the 26-foot boat equipped with a two-burner stove and a port-a-potty. “We were self-contained,” he added. Together they traveled to every state except North Dakota, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Alabama.
He met his wife while taking Organic Chemistry. She was a lab instructor and he would stay late asking her questions. This gave him time to ask her to go out with him. They later got married and had four daughters.
Chuck now lives at Eskaton Village Carmichael, and when asked what his favorite thing about living at Eskaton is he said: “The food, the friends, the staff, and the friendship with the staff. It’s just a good place.” His most important lessons from his life have been: “Be honest, work hard, and do your job. And when you get a chance have fun. By all means, have fun.”