Star-studded athlete, star-studded patriot.
Charles Mack will be inducted into the 2017 St. Paul High School Hall of Fame class, which will take place on Sunday. The Hall of Fame is sponsored by RKS Power Solutions. The others being inducted are Tom Bellamy, Mary Carabin, John G. Rospert and Mark Schaffer.
After a star-studded athletic career at St. Paul that saw him earn 11 varsity letters, Mack also went on to a decorated military career after graduation from SPH in 1933.
Mack set track records in the 100- and 200-yard dashes, the high jump, shot put, discus throw and four-man relay team. He was a standout fullback on the football team and the starting center for the Flyers in boys’ basketball.
After graduation Mack tried out for professional baseball and was selected by St. Louis to join its minor league team in Kansas City. He made only a small stipend and disliked Missouri and the extreme heat that came with it.
Mack then hitchhiked his way to Chicago and joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1936. He was sent to San Diego, where from there he saw active duty in China and the Philippines in the South China Sea. While aboard the U.S.S. Augusta Navy cruiser, he was selected as the personal assistant to Admiral Yarnell, as he was the only recruit who could type.
Mack served on the Augusta for three years.
He retired from the Marines in 1941, only to re-enlist the day after the surprise Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor in December that sent the U.S. into World War II. Mack went on to serve for another 12 years.
After that, he joined the Army as an officer in the Cleveland area, spending 20 years there through 1968. After retirement, First Sergeant Mack was elected Commandant of the Marine Corps Veterans organization in the Cleveland district, as well as Commandant for the Department of Ohio Veterans.
Regarded as one of the best recruiters in the military, Mack helped design Marine recruiting procedures and was selected to a five-man committee to represent Marine recruiting for the U.S. in a two-month Canadian tour in 1942.
His responsibilities centered on the recruiting of 10,000 Americans from the Canadian Army, Navy and Marine Corps.
During his time in the military, Mack was a veteran of World War II and the Korean War — and received 47 medals of service and commendation.
Mack’s 32-year military career had led to bouts of malaria and multiple spinal surgeries, so he and his wife, Gladys ‘Carole’ Mack, who he married in 1943, moved to Cape Coral, Fla. in July of 1969 with their daughter, Karen.
He died in 2002 at the age of 89, and his wife passed in January 2008. They were married for 59 years. Daughter Karen Mack Dickens has been married to her husband, David, for 38 years.
The Fort Myers, Fla. residents have two children, Travis and Andrea. Travis is married with one son, and Andrea is married with two boys and a girl.