July 26, 1932 – June 15, 2018
Charles M. Hassell, Jr., M.D. died peacefully at Well Spring Retirement Community on June 15 following complications from chronic illness. A memorial service and celebration of life will be held at First Presbyterian Church, 617 N. Elm St., Greensboro, NC at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday June 20, with visitation to follow in the Virginia Gilmer Room.
Charlie was born in Charlotte, NC on July 26, 1932, as the younger child of Charles M. Hassell, Sr. and Florine Rawlins Hassell. Growing up during the Great Depression and World War II in Dilworth and Myers Park, he obtained the rank of Eagle Scout, attended Old Central High School, and matriculated to Davidson College, where he graduated in 1954. He continued his pursuit and passion for the sciences and health care and received his M.D. From the University of Pennsylvania four years later. It was there in Philadelphia where he met a young orthopedic nurse, Jeanne Maxwell, whom he would marry in 1959.
After pursuing and completing a five-year medical residency program in pathology in Cleveland, OH, Charlie was recruited by his mentor and friend Dr. Herb Lund to the growing pathology practice at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital. But before permanently settling back in his home state, Charlie was called to serve in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during the Vietnam War era, where he was stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC and Ft. Polk, LA. He was honorably discharged as a Lt. Colonel in 1969, when he and Jeanne returned to stay with their four young children to make their lives in Greensboro.
He rose through the professional ranks as he became board-certified in the emerging field of the study of skin diseases, or Dermatopathology; Charlie would eventually serve as Chief Pathologist and Director of Laboratories, as well as President of the Greensboro Medical Society and Chair of the N.C. Professional Standards Review Organization (PSRO) while remaining active in the local medical journal club and regional medical organizations, as well as the AMA and the American College of Physicians.
The son of an accomplished music educator, Charlie made the most of his considerable musical talent. Having played cornet and piano and sung in collegiate and liturgical choral groups in his youth, he performed for nearly half a decade with conductor Robert Shaw and the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra Chorus and continued in his adopted home of Greensboro through opportunities with First Presbyterian Church choir, EMF Chorus, and as an award-winning stage actor with Greensboro Lyric and Community Theatre of Greensboro, the Livestock Players, 5 by O. Henry, and Greensboro Opera. His additional civic service included leadership and board positions with the Community Blood Bank, Moses Cone Hospital, CTG, and as a Paul Harris Fellow with Greensboro Rotary Club; as a champion and benefactor for Greensboro Symphony, Greensboro Opera, and the United Arts Council (now ArtsGreensboro); as co-chair of UNCG’s School of Music component of its Capital Campaign; and as a participant in Seniors Leadership Greensboro. He also enjoyed pursuits as an avid golfer, photographer, gourmet cook, and model train enthusiast. Charlie and Jeanne dearly loved traveling the world with each other, eventually sharing adventures and seeing the sights on six continents.
Charlie was predeceased by his parents, his sister, Laura Alice Hassell Shoemaker, and just last June by Jeanne, his wife and companion of 58 years. He is survived by his four children (and spouses) Judge Robby Hassell (Eloise) of Greensboro, Laura Hassell (Carla E. Jimenez) of Portland, OR, Harry Hassell (Anne-Marie Tranchida) of New York, NY, and Rebecca Hassell of Greensboro, and by his beloved grandchildren, Lt. Molly Hassell, USAF, and Bayly M. Hassell of Washington, D.C.
Charlie’s family is grateful for the love of his friends and for the care extended by his health providers at the end of his full and extraordinary life. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, Cone Health Foundation, the Arc of Greensboro, or to the charity of one’s choice.
Arrangements are provided by Hanes Lineberry North Elm Chapel.