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Charles's Story

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Charles "Charlie" Vance Solbrig, 88, of Ellwood City passed away on Sunday, March 5, 2017, at his home in Harrisburg, where he has been living with his wife, Rita Joyce Solbrig, since becoming ill several years ago.
Born on Dec. 7, 1928, in South Bend, Indiana, he was a son of Hardin Elsby and Maude Elizabeth Solbrig, and a brother of Betty (Solbrig) Spaid.
He graduated from Washington Clay High School in South Bend, Indiana, in 1946, then attended Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, where, in 1951, he earned a bachelor of science degree in geology.
In college, he served in the Air Force reserves.
After college, he worked for a short time before joining the Navy, where he trained as a pilot. From 1952 to 1953, Charlie was stationed in Pensacola, Florida. He was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1959.
He met his wife, Rita Joyce Polasik, in 1952, and they later married on June 6, 1954, in Chicago, Illinois.
Over the years, Charlie worked in a variety of industries all over the United States, primarily as an industrial chemist. He held positions at the United States Geological Survey, Ford Motor Co., Petroleum Engineering Associates, Central Pharmaceutical Company, Marquette Cement Co., and upon moving to Ellwood City, the Medusa Cement Co., Ellwood City School District, Remacor Metals, U.S. Internal Revenue Service and Century 21 Real Estate.
In his youth, Charlie enjoyed the outdoors, especially flying airplanes which he learned through his time in the Navy, rekindling this passion by renewing his pilot's license in his 1970s. He also enjoyed sailing, which he learned to love in his teens at summer camp, and competed in sailing regattas while living in Wisconsin.
Music played a large role in his life. He was fond of listening to and playing music; he played coronet in his youth and often relaxed by banging out tunes, ranging from Ragtime to Mozart, on his Steinway piano throughout his life.
Other hobbies included electronics/computers, investing and photography.
After retirement, Charlie spent time playing pickleball and cards with the guys at the Ellwood City Area Family Center, and enjoyed lifetime learning by researching various topics at the Ellwood City Library.
Charles and Rita eventually settled down in Ellwood City in 1970, where all their three children attended Lincoln High School, and they lived there until 2014.
In addition to his wife, Rita, Charles is survived by his sister, Elizabeth Elsby Spaid and her husband, Richard Spaid, of Ann Arbor, Michigan; his children, Camille Solbrig and her husband, Michael Weiner, of Guilford, Connecticut, Carolyn Sinisi and her husband, David Sinisi, of Harrisburg, and Charles E. Solbrig and his wife, Gail Monds, of Ypsilanti, Michigan; and his six grandchildren, Evan, Samantha, Alan, David, Eliot and Emily.
Visiting hours will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday and from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Marshall Funeral Home, 200 Fountain Ave., Ellwood City.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home with the Rev. Tod Custer officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Ellwood City Library or the Ellwood City Area Family Center (311 College St.).
Late condolences may be offered to Rita Solbrig, 4331 Outerbridge Crossing, Harrisburg, Pa. 17112.
Online condolences may be offered to the family by visiting marshallsfh.com.
Published on  March 7, 2017
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