Cover photo for Charles Lee Field's Obituary
Charles Lee Field Profile Photo
1942 Charles 2023

Charles Lee Field

May 27, 1942 — November 27, 2023

Charles “Chuck” Lee Field was born on May 27, 1942, two minutes before his identical twin brother Sidney “Sid” Edwin Field. Chuck liked to say he grew up “on the wrong side of the tracks” because his childhood home was mere feet from the railroad tracks that ran through Riverside, California. His grandfather was Avery E. Field, a well-known 20th century photographer in southern California, who established a photography studio at the Mission Inn. An ethos of hard work and craftsmanship was fostered by his parents, Gaylor and Nellie (Braucher) Field, who in addition to continuing the photography business introduced their son to responsibility and management at an early age. Chuck recalled that after school he would work in the studio or follow his mother’s directions on how to make the family dinner. As a child he played in the orange groves, rode his bike, played football, mowed the neighbor’s lawn, and watched a television for the first time. He also helped his parents build a cabin in Idyllwild, California, using plank wood that was surplused from shipping containers and boulders collected from a creek. As twins Chuck and Sid were taught to share everything, with the exception of each boy being gifted a 10’ boat and engine to go fishing on the Colorado River. At the age of 12 they put their little boats in the water and went in opposite directions.

Chuck graduated from Riverside High School and then attended the University of Oregon where he worked in the dorm kitchen to earn his room and board. He enrolled in ROTC and majored in Park and Recreation Management, which reflected his interests in the outdoors and planning. He later returned to Oregon to complete a master’s degree.

Upon graduation Chuck married his high school sweetheart, Jane Rimmer, also from Riverside. Chuck and Jane were inseparable for the next 59 years. They shared a love of the outdoors, accomplished tasks and made plans. After their marriage, Chuck was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army and earned a Ranger tab. They lived in Germany while Chuck served at the 8th Infantry Division headquarters, and in the late 1960s he was an advisor to the South Vietnamese Army while being stationed in Saigon, Vietnam. This was one of the few times that Jane and Chuck were separated from each other. Chuck remained devoted to Jane and wrote daily letters describing his experiences in the war. His ability to remember events and stories was remarkable, and he frequently entertained his family by recounting fishing trips, the grueling training of Ranger School, or falling out of orange trees with his brother.

After serving in the US Army, Chuck and Jane settled in southern California and started a family. Daughter Katherine (Katie) Field was born in 1970, followed by Julie Field in 1972. The family enjoyed camping and boating and introduced their daughters to fishing on the Colorado River as Chuck had done in his childhood. He became the Recreation Director for the city of San Bernardino, and in 1980 was hired as the Director of the Bainbridge Island Parks and Recreation Department. He held this position for 19 years and developed many parks on the Island. Under his direction Bainbridge Island’s parks increased by many acres and sections of forest were set aside for future generations to treasure and enjoy. He was most proud of establishing the Grand Forest of Bainbridge, a gem of trees and trails in the middle of the Island, and founding the Bainbridge Island Parks and Trails Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to expanding recreational opportunities for the public. Above all, Chuck’s tenacity, honesty, and diligence created a clear path forward for parks on Bainbridge Island.

In 1999 Chuck retired to spend more time doing things he loved, which included fishing, crabbing, and being in the outdoors. To that end he and Jane bought a classic 1979 GMC motor home and for 16 years explored the western states and the great Southwest. They visited their daughter Julie in Hawaii and developed a love of side-car motorcycle touring with their daughter Katie. They even put a trailer on the GMC for hauling the side-car motorcycle and enjoyed blazing down dirt roads to encounter ghost towns and remote pioneer cabins.

Chuck was heartbroken by the death of Sid in 2017, and he and Jane agreed they wanted to keep going and live as much life as they could. True to the mantra “Rangers Lead the Way”, they forged ahead to try new things and experience what life had to offer. In the last decade they welcomed the addition of two grandsons, Avery and Gary Cochrane, and spent part of every year enjoying the sunset on the red rock cliffs near Ivins, Utah. After decades in the Pacific Northwest, Chuck and Jane were re-energized by the austere beauty of the desert.

Chuck passed away on November 27th, 2023, following a hard fight against a brief illness. He is greatly missed by the love of his life, Jane, his daughters Katie and Julie, his son-in-law Tony, grandsons Avery and Gary, extended family, and many friends. His knowledge and advice for all things will live on in Bainbridge’s parks. In his memory the Field family invites you to visit a park or trail on the Island and enjoy a few moments in nature.

Arrangements entrusted to Cook Family Funeral Home of Bainbridge Island, WA. 

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