Charles Alan Tichenor



25 Sep 1916 - 27 Apr 2008


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 Presbyterian Church.

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 family.

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.

 [ Listen to Luke's musical tribute ]


[ CAT Photo Album ]


(entries closed)

Ruth Nielsen

One of my favorite memories from about third grade was hiking along some old
 unused railroad tracks outside of Philadelphia, picking blackberries along the way.

Deborah Nielsen

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 the 
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.

Zahir Othman

It is one of the gifts of life to come to know and like someone 
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 children. 
It was our first academic employment and in a remote (for both my wife and me) 
locale ... Cumberland, MD. As chair of the history department and a revered 
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.

Mary Lazier

Alan wanted to have his PhD tattooed on his chest so that the doctors 
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 family. 
Finally, we are very grateful to God for this one good life.

Thorston Tichenor

I can remember my Gramps was always full of wonderful stories. 
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.

Luke Koleszar-Green

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 sermons 
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.

David Stephens

Words can't express the wonderful memories of Giant Smiles and Bear Hugs  
from Papa Tichenor...not to mention his stories. His heart was always full of love,  
and he always treated me as a member of his wonderful "family" for which  
I am eternally grateful. Sail on Papa, past the galaxies of stars...and enjoy  
your new journey across the universe of love...with great fondness, David Stephens

JoAnn Atwood

Dr. T was a larger than life figure in my early memories of Beirut. 
Always a friendly figure that seemed to hold many stories and much laughter. 
Somehow, he just made you comfortable to be around. 
I was so sorry he & his family didn't return after the June war.

Peggy Atwood

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

Don Maxwell

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 Dr. Tichenor

Monica Emmer

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 admired because 
he took it upon himself to step in when he saw something that he did not find was right. 
In this context, I would like to share the following experience with his family and friends. 
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 exams, 
my father had been forewarned by Jordannian friends that a war was about to break out. 
My mother came through Beirut to evacuate me. Our then headmaster refused to let her 
take me from the school. She did anyway. I remember, as she as I walked out of the school 
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 joined us 
in Athens. It was Dr. Tichenor who personally sent me my high school diploma, accompanied 
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 September. 
Thank you again, Dr. Tichenor. You are not only fondly, but also respectfully, remembered.

Joy Martin

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 and others 
as an ACS alumni. He was one of those who have lived a good life to be emulated, 
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.

Anahid Tikhanoff

Keith Wheeler

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 living in 
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 surely 
be missed, but his life touched many and those memories will endure.

Bill Tracy

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 sensivitiy 
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.

Jeff Hutchins

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 playing 
at the Tichenor home, not to mention listening to Dr. T preach; as a teen attending 
ACS in Beirut; and as an adult who had the incredible experience of having him come 
to hear me speak at a UU congregation in Pennsylvania. What an incredible man he was, 
and a strong positive influence in my life.

Allan F. Hancock

Paul Sundberg

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 Arabia. 
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 the editor 
and ached to have him with us personally. One Sunday he showed up and I jokingly 
asked him if he was related to the Tichenors of gold mining fame who Mark Twain wrote 
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 us, 
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 gentle man 
who was able to see the basic human goodness in all people.  My thoughts are with you... 

Bob Valentine

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 unofficial 
support group of married student and enjoyed fellowship with the Tichners, Olivers, 
Westlakes and Bradfords. The Seminary didn't exactly welcome married students in those days 
so it was good to have contacts with other married students. After I was a pastor in 
Shreveport he and Ella and Peter came by to see us and brought us a New Testament 
from Jerusalem. That book has been on our coffee table ever since and caused us to remember 
them with fond memories. It the last few years I found him mentioned in the Wheaton Alumni 
Journal and wrote them to get hi s address. I wrote him in Bishop and appreciated 
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 Ella 
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 and gracious 
person CAT was and how much she enjoyed their conversations over dinners at Ruth's 
and Max's. We read C.A.T.'s book about his fascinating life and we were looking 
forward to meeting him in person. Sadly that opportunity did not come in time though 
we feel we do know him in some small way through the impact he made 
on others and through his book.

Jon Loff

When I joined the English Department faculty at Allegany Community College 
(now Allegany College of MD) in 1972, Alan and his best friend, George Hazen, 
became my mentors, my intellectual leaders, my closest colleagues with whom 
I loved discussing issues of the day. And there were many in those days on the local, 
national, and international fronts. But often we had the most fun discussing 
the local front -- the college community. Alan was so insightful with his analysis 
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, who taught 
philosophy, often frowned at Alan's and my remarks, but he did it only as a 
demonstration of his engagement in thought over our comments. And he always had a 
witty response. These impromptu sessions lasted no more than 30-40 minutes every 
other day in George's office where the door always remained closed to muffle 
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 friend. 
Upon his closing and choking back tears, Alan said that he missed lunch with 
George that day, but he reassuered everyone in the room, and especially George, 
that he would join him for lunch soon. It's been 30 years since George died, and now 
he and Alan are having that lunch together. God bless you, Alan Tichenor, 
and God bless you, George 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 lives.

Tony Manias

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.



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Revised: May 03, 2008 .