Charles F. Homa, 1932-2023
Charles F. Homa passed peacefully on March 20, 2023, the first day of spring. His daughter Charlene Wehry / caretaker, and her husband Thomas Wehry, and his grandson Robert Wehry, were with him in his past 18 year journey in Pittsfield, Mass.
Charles was born on September 26th, 1932, in San Francisco, California to Charles and Anna Homa. During his childhood years, his parents purchased several small fruit ranches near San Jose, where he learned about the many aspects of farming from raising animals, vegetables, and the harvesting and processing of various fruits and nuts for sale through a farm cooperative called Sunsweet.
During high school, he became interested in mechanical drawing and upon acceptance to San Jose State College, he entered the Industrial Arts Program, where he majored in mechanical, architectural, and machine drafting with an art minor. He received his bachelor’s degree in both.
During college, he became interested in electronics. Upon graduating in June 1955, he joined the U.S army, taking electronic courses for 33 weeks at Radar Repair School at Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey. Upon completion of those courses, he was assigned to an Army group supporting the Radio Wave Propagation Agency at Ft. Monmouth. After some more schooling, he became an instructor of ionospheric sound recordings to produce the best daily radio communication frequencies around the world. He later developed draft lesson plans for this specialty that eventually became military operational specialties for personnel entering this field.
While at Ft. Monmouth, he met his future wife, Arlene Schubert, from New York City. After dating for a while in the hustle and bustle of New York City, Charles and Arlene married in Perry, Maine, where Arlene’s parents retired to.
Charles began working for General Electric in Pittsfield as a Training Engineer for the Navy’s Polaris submarine Fire Control and Missile Guidance System in the GE Ordinance System Department. His 33 year career as a logistics and maintenance specialist involved the development of maintenance documentation and the training of DOD personnel for all levels of repair on the many equipment and systems developed by the Ordinance Department of General Electric, including writing a book on troubleshooting the transmission of the Bradley fighting vehicle, which sent him on trips around the world.
During this time, he had four daughters. They are listed from youngest to oldest: Charlene Sue (Homa) Wehry, Karen Ann Homa, Diane Lee (Homa) Thompson, and Nancy Lynn (Homa) Chicoine. During his time in Pittsfield, he square-danced with his wife in the Pittsfield Squares Club. Then they became interested in figure skating. Charles, his wife, and his four daughters, over a 15 year period, became very involved with the Pittsfield Figure Skating Club and then Christmasbrook Figure Skating Club of North Adams. At Christmasbrook, Charles did various positions. He was club president, test chairman, and show chairman. All of these positions involved making sure that Christmasbrook figure skating club gave full support to all the figure skaters’ needs, including building sets for figure skating shows. He also designed and built a plaque of Christmasbrook’s figure skating emblem, which still hangs on the wall of the North Adams Skating Rink.
The love of figure skating then evolved into Berkshire School of Ice Skating, which ran a summer program at the North Adams skating rink, utilizing MCLA’s housing. He also began the business side of Berkshire School of ice skating, sharpening figure skating blades, fitting blades to boots, and editing music for freestyle skating programs. While the family was pursuing the figure skating world, his wife Arlene passed away in 1974. The early loss of his wife / his daughter’s mother, was a very trying time, but they continued to pursue figure skating.
Upon his retirement from G.E. in 1991, he became the caretaker of his mother, so he moved back to California in 1994. He transferred the figure skating boot, blade, and sharpening business to his daughter Charlene and took the music editing equipment and recordings with him to San Diego.
During the stay in California, the music editing business expanded by creating libraries of low test and competition skating programs for figure skaters and professionals around the United States. Due to a gradual hearing loss, he donated his entire music studio to the Southern California Figure Skating Association, which his music is still used throughout the United States.
Upon the passing of his mother, he returned to Pittsfield, Mass in 2005, to live with his daughter Charlene Wehry. They proceeded to redesign the home to build a father suite for future health needs, which he came up with the architectural drawings for the addition. For the last 18 years in Pittsfield, he enjoyed his life gardening, woodworking, and watching his beloved Boston Red Sox. He also took many family trips to Maine to visit his wife’s family.
Charles and his daughter enjoyed tag sales and antiquing throughout New England, trying to find the best price on old items. He became a restoration enthusiast of oval frames and filled them with life-cycle portraits.
There will be no services here in Pittsfield. There will be a private service in the future in Perry, Maine, at the family plot, so he may be buried with his wife, Arlene Schubert. Charlene Wehry, Thomas Wehry, and Robert Wehry thank those who prayed for his peaceful passing, Craneville Nursing Home for his four day stay before his passing, and Flynn and Dagnoli- Bencivenga Funeral Home. To add to the Book of Memories, please visit flynndagnolifuneralhomes.com.