Dr. Charles George Weispfenning, born February 18, 1933, passed away peacefully in his home on May 12, 2017, with his wife at his side.
He was born and raised in Fredonia, North Dakota, living the first ten years of his life in a home with no electricity or running water. Early in his childhood, he knew that he wanted to be a doctor, but considered it an almost unreachable dream. Brilliant, curious, courageous and compassionate, he followed an improbable path that finally made this dream come true. As a teenager, he received a full scholarship in physics to the University of North Dakota. Not satisfied with the solitude of scientific studies, and with an aging parent to care for, he left the program to become a school teacher and principal. It was during this time that he also became an
accomplished magician, with a travelling show during the summer months.
Medicine still called to him, and he returned to school, becoming a medical technologist and meeting his first wife and the mother of his three daughters.
The family lived in Wenatchee, where he became the chief Medical Technologist at the Deaconess Hospital. But it still wasn’t enough, so against the odds, at 36 years old, he returned to school to become the doctor he dreamed of being.
He was the oldest freshman medical student in the U.S. at the time.
In 1974, he came to Vashon Island to help a recently-opened nurse
practitioner group, and then became the first medical director of the Vashon Health Center. In 1979, he opened his private practice in Vashon Plaza, and
continued to provide health care until his retirement in 2011 – a total of 36 years of service. He also gave generously of his free time to the community, volunteering and performing for charity.
Throughout his life, he maintained an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, understanding and kindness toward others, and an unswerving belief in the value of every individual.
Dr. Weispfenning is survived by his wife of 18 years, Ann Weispfenning; his three daughers Heidi Weispfenning, Gretchen Porter, and Kirsten Weispfenning; grandchildren Alex Weispfenning, Emrys Kok, Bethia Kok, and Nicholas Jurus; as well as many other dear relatives and friends. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 3rd, 2:00 pm at the Bethel Church, with a reception to follow.
The family wishes to extend their sincere thanks and appreciation to
everyone at Vashon Island Fire and Rescue for their extraordinary efforts, expertise and compassion. We are also grateful to the many wonderful individuals of home care, health care and the community members who gave so generously of their time and caring.
“As long as I can be of service to mankind I’m happy. I think that was the motivation from the very beginning.” – Dr. Charles G. Weispfenning