Charles Alan Tichenor, 91, passed away peacefully on Sunday
evening April 27. He had been a resident of Bishop, California for three years.
Born in Portland, Oregon to Charles Francis Tichenor and Esther Virginia Eagle,
he spent a carefree childhood in Oregon and enjoyed fishing and scouting where
he graduated from Franklin High School in 1934.
His education continued in Illinois, where he graduated from
Wheaton College in 1939, and married Ella Marie Westley. They moved to
Philadelphia and he earned a Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Theology in
three years. He used a Stevenson Scholarship to continue studies in Semitics at
the University of Pennsylvania. He taught Hebrew and Old Testament History
through 1945 and then continued graduate study at Dropsie College for Hebrew and
Cognate Learning, receiving his PhD in May 1948. He was ordained a minister in
the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, later transferring to the United Presbyterian
Church where he was minister in Aledo, Illinois. In 1952 he became chaplain
pastor of the Protestant Fellowship among the employees of the Arabian American
Oil Company in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia (ARAMCO). He was there for five years and
then relocated his family to Davenport, Iowa where he was minister at the United
In 1960 he obtained a position as History Professor at the
Lebanon - Haigazian College, an Armenian college in Beirut, Lebanon for three
years. He was the Assistant Headmaster and Chaplain at the American Community
School in Beirut until 1967 when the Six Day War forced their return to the
United States. Dr. Tichenor was a Professor of History at Allegany Community
College until his retirement in 1979. He has made many friends around the world
during his years of travel, and enjoyed corresponding with them. His wife, Ella,
preceded him in death in 2003. After relocating to Bishop while living with his
neice, Ruth Nielsen, he wrote his memoirs, much to the delight of his friends and
He is survived by sons Peter Tichenor and his wife Eileen
Hadidian of California, Mark Tichenor and wife Mary Lazier of Canada, Samuel
Tichenor of Canada, and daughter Kaaren Patton of Maryland; grandchildren
Thorsten Tichenor and wife Julie of California, Melia Tichenor of Oregon, Aaron
Kolezar and Luke Kolezar-Green and wife Ruth, Soleil Main, and Rowan Leif
Tichenor of Canada, Hillary Norton and Jessica Ann Norton of Maryland; and great
grandchildren Daniel Tichenor and Sophia Tichenor of California, and Riley
Ashton Scarlett of Maryland.
One of my favorite memories from about third grade was hiking
along some old
unused railroad tracks outside of Philadelphia, picking blackberries along
We enjoyed his stories and his laugh.
Rowan Lief Tichenor
I remember driving across the continent with Alan & Ella
in their camper
when I was about eight. Whenever we stopped at a grocery store,
Grandpa would buy a big onion and eat it like an apple
while he did the crossword. I thought he was crazy, but very amusing.
Revs. Dave Hunter & Kerry Mueller
His presence was a wonderful part of my ministry with
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Greater Cumberland. Dave
Dennis and Judy Tichenor
Alan was always a favorite uncle to us and our kids.
We enjoyed visits on both coasts and his stories.
It is one of the gifts of life to come to know and like
without meeting him, though the hope is still to meet.
Peter and Barbara Deekle
Alan and his wife, Ella, entered our married lives in the
first three years.
They guided the development of our family through the births of our two
It was our first academic employment and in a remote (for both my wife and
locale ... Cumberland, MD. As chair of the history department and a
senior member of the faculty, Alan took us under his wing.
I recall him standing up at a faculty meeting and stating how backwards
the financial remuneration of faculty was. The young faculty, he said,
need the higher incomes (as they begin their lives and careers).
Needless to say, his perspective was not shared my many senior staff.
Alan remained every interested in us as individuals, and we engaged in
an annual ritual of personal and national assessment with him
(he, the ever insightful and optimistic guide).
While me miss him and always will, he, and Ella, too,
remain with us through their investment of themselves in our lives.
Alan wanted to have his PhD tattooed on his chest so that the
would be impressed. He also told me that he'd love to die
like King Farouk, that is, eating a very big wonderful dinner.
Once when I drove him to meet the airport bus, I thought we would
have 15 minutes or so to chat, but he saw a rabbi standing at the
bus stop and jumped out saying, "Great! I can practice my Hebrew!"
Marie, Nadine, and Karl Barbir
We knew Dr. T (as we affectionately called him) when he was at
the American Community
School at Beirut. We join all others in conveying our sympathies to the
Finally, we are very grateful to God for this one good life.
I can remember my Gramps was always full of wonderful
He was such a teddy bear of a grandpa.
As a kid I looked forward to him visiting us in his old Chinook camper after his
road trips down south.
Wonderous to have just had a great visit with CAT just over a
month ago in Bishop. A fine farewell!
Carla (Barber) Hobson
I remember Dr. Tichenor for the gentle way he presented his
when I was growing up in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia. I had never heard anyone
"preach" that way,
and I have never forgotten the way it touched me.
Words can't express the wonderful memories of Giant Smiles and
from Papa Tichenor...not to mention his stories. His heart was always full of
and he always treated me as a member of his wonderful "family" for
I am eternally grateful. Sail on Papa, past the galaxies of stars...and
your new journey across the universe of love...with great fondness, David
Dr. T was a larger than life figure in my early memories of
Always a friendly figure that seemed to hold many stories and much
Somehow, he just made you comfortable to be around.
I was so sorry he & his family didn't return after the June war.
When my father accepted a teaching position in Beirut, my
earliest memories were
of Dr. T giving us a warm and familial welcome, right off the boat. A great life
lived in service to us all.
Jessica and Riley Norton
I miss my Grandpa greatly! He was an inspiration to every
person he crossed paths with.
I am very proud of him and glad he is back with Grandma where he belongs.
Love you and miss you Grandpa! xoxo
Dr. Tichenor was opposed to me becoming a boarding student at
A.C.S. for the year 1967-1968.
I had been an indifferent, and sometimes troublesome, day student for three
years so when
I asked to become a boarding student he was opposed. We had words. Looking back,
and if in the
same position as Dr. Tichenor, I probably would have opposed my continuation at
A.C.S. as well.
I got in anyway but worked hard all the next year just to prove him wrong.
I liked Dr. Tichenor. He was a fighter who said what he thought. God bless you
In 1967, I was a 17-year-old boarding student, and a senior,
at the American Community School
in Beirut. For me, Dr. Tichenor was a voice of moderation and wisdom, whom I
he took it upon himself to step in when he saw something that he did not find
In this context, I would like to share the following experience with his family
It was just one of several positive experiences I had with Dr. Tichenor. A few
days prior to
the outbreak of the Six Day War and, I believe, about a week before final
my father had been forewarned by Jordannian friends that a war was about to
My mother came through Beirut to evacuate me. Our then headmaster refused to let
take me from the school. She did anyway. I remember, as she as I walked out of
to go back to the dorm and pack, the headmaster yelling at us in the hallway
that we were
creating panic at the school and repeating his threat that he would see to it
that I would
not receive my high school diploma. A few days after we arrived in Athens, the
Six Day War
broke out; the school had to evacuate the pupils and staff, several of whom
in Athens. It was Dr. Tichenor who personally sent me my high school diploma,
by a letter. It was clear to me and my parents that it was on his initiative
that I received
my diploma. Consequently, I was able to start college the following
Thank you again, Dr. Tichenor. You are not only fondly, but also respectfully,
I was evacuated from ACS in 1967 and only knew Dr. Tichenor
briefly for a year,
but I have enjoyed greatly his memoirs and also connections with his children
as an ACS alumni. He was one of those who have lived a good life to be
without regrets. My condolences to all the Tichenor family.
John & Dorothy Burnstrom
A friendly neighbor when we moved to the Highlands senior
mobile home park in Bishop, Ca.
Sadly I never had the honor of meeting "Unk"
personally. I only knew him a little over
the past couple of years via the Internet, reports from Bishop, and his
"Go East, Young Man, Go East!" book. We did share some experiences of
the Middle East many years ago, although my time there was much shorter
than his fascinating sojourn. My wife Peg and I send our very best wishes
to family and friends that are left behind. A person such as CAT will
be missed, but his life touched many and those memories will endure.
I have fond memories of your father, first as a pastor at
Aramco where I lived in Ras Tanura
as a boy in the early 1950s, and later when he came to Beirut and I was up the
hill from ACS
teaching at I.C. and later with Aramco World magazine. I appreciated his
to the multi-cultural environment of Lebanon. My best wishes to all the family.
John David LaRue
I have been with Aramco only 17 years so I never met Dr.
Tichenor but what a story his life
has been. This friday at DPF (Dhahran Prostestant Fellowship) the flowers will
be in his memory.
Dr. Tichenor came into my life three times: as a boy in
Dhahran, Saudi Arabia,
where I became good friends with his son Sam and spent many happy hours
at the Tichenor home, not to mention listening to Dr. T preach; as a teen
ACS in Beirut; and as an adult who had the incredible experience of having him
to hear me speak at a UU congregation in Pennsylvania. What an incredible man he
and a strong positive influence in my life.
Allan F. Hancock
Alan played a central pastoral role in our family: he married
my parents Art and Marianne
in Bahrain in 1955 and baptized me in 1957, just weeks before leaving
It was great visiting him in Bishop in '05 and '07.
He was still as sharp and entertaining as ever. Rest in peace, Alan!
Bob and Carolyn Taft
Ella attended the UU Fellowship of Cumberland and sang with us
in the "occasional singers"
for a good while before Alan "showed up." We read his many letters to
and ached to have him with us personally. One Sunday he showed up and I
asked him if he was related to the Tichenors of gold mining fame who Mark Twain
about. "Ah, Yes" he said. Much gold came from Tichenor's valley of the
"Gold bearing winds."
He continued until I was bent over a pew with laughter. In the years he was with
we learned to love his gentle humor and great wisdom.
Thanks, Ruth, for keeping us in touch with this great gentle man.
I am saddened to hear that your father recently
passed away. Even though I hadn't
seen nor talked to him in over 50+ years, I will always remember a kind and
who was able to see the basic human goodness in all people. My
thoughts are with you...
I knew "Tich" from Wheaton College days and when I
went to Westminster, I found him there.
When I married at the end of my first year in seminary we found ourselves in an
support group of married student and enjoyed fellowship with the Tichners,
Westlakes and Bradfords. The Seminary didn't exactly welcome married students in
so it was good to have contacts with other married students. After I was a
Shreveport he and Ella and Peter came by to see us and brought us a New
from Jerusalem. That book has been on our coffee table ever since and caused us
them with fond memories. It the last few years I found him mentioned in the
Journal and wrote them to get hi s address. I wrote him in Bishop and
Ruth Nielsen sending me pictures and news of "Tich". My wife Catherine
(both of us 90)
mourn the passing of another of our contempories and grieve for him and
but look forward to seeing them both soon around the Throne.
Brian & Rita Heller
We first heard of C.A.T. through our aunt Chrissie (Bishop,CA)
who came to know C.A.T.
through her dear friend, Ruth. Chrissie told us what an interesting, intelligent
person CAT was and how much she enjoyed their conversations over dinners at
and Max's. We read C.A.T.'s book about his fascinating life and we were
forward to meeting him in person. Sadly that opportunity did not come in time
we feel we do know him in some small way through the impact he made
on others and through his book.
When I joined the English Department faculty at Allegany
(now Allegany College of MD) in 1972, Alan and his best friend, George
became my mentors, my intellectual leaders, my closest colleagues with
I loved discussing issues of the day. And there were many in those days on the
national, and international fronts. But often we had the most fun
the local front -- the college community. Alan was so insightful with his
of a troubled campus led by a president he once publicly referred to as
"a mere politician...not a statesman." During our talks, George Hazen,
philosophy, often frowned at Alan's and my remarks, but he did it only as
demonstration of his engagement in thought over our comments. And he always had
witty response. These impromptu sessions lasted no more than 30-40 minutes
other day in George's office where the door always remained closed to
our laughter from the hallway. I loved those sessions, because I loved Al Tichenor
and George Hazen. Some 8 or 9 years later, George Hazen was stricken by a
heart attack and died. At his funeral, Alan eloquently eulogized his best
Upon his closing and choking back tears, Alan said that he missed lunch
George that day, but he reassuered everyone in the room, and especially
that he would join him for lunch soon. It's been 30 years since George died, and
he and Alan are having that lunch together. God bless you, Alan Tichenor,
and God bless you, George Hazen...my dear colleagues. Jon Loff
Larry & Jerrie Beard
We simply knew him as "Unc" in Bishop, CA and loved
his outlook and knowledge.
I was proud to be asked to pen a brief critique of his book, enthralled
with its contents and filled with admiration of its author. He touched so many
He was so gentle and understanding....
while Sam and I would strum chords on our guitars
and sing rock 'n roll in the bedroom.....
Our hikes in his company.......unforgettable.
He's part of my best years and memories. Rest in peace.