Charles “Chuck” Joseph Lahr, 73, of Manchester, Iowa, passed away on Saturday, December 26, 2020, at the Sisters of Mercy Hospice House in Hiawatha of military service-related cancer. He was born on February 9, 1947, the son of Peter and Irene (Braun) Lahr at the family farm north of Manchester during a blizzard. Chuck was the 3rd son and 8th child of ten children. He attended St. Mary School in Manchester and Manchester High School. In 1966 he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Chuck was with the 101st Airborne Division “Screaming Eagles” and was a paratrooper. He was a Vietnam Veteran spending a year in Vietnam and was honorably discharged in May, 1968. Chuck then attended Kirkwood Community College and graduated with his Associates Degree in Arts and Sciences in 1972.
On April 7, 1973, Chuck was united in marriage to Nancy K. Robinson at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Cedar Rapids. Chuck and Nancy moved to Idaho and he attended the University of Idaho where he received his Bachelors of Science Degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Management in 1976. He worked for several U.S. Government Bureaus including Bureau of Land Management in Idaho and Nevada, Department of Agriculture with U.S. Forest Service in Salmon, Idaho and Rolla, Missouri, and the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho throughout his career. Chuck received many performance and monetary awards during his career. He retired in 2009 and he and Nancy moved back to Manchester.
Chuck’s early years were spent working on the family farm, spending time down at the river, and riding his pony “Champ” near Manchester. Chuck and Nan spent many years backpacking and hiking on the Continental Divide, Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, floating the Salmon River, and hunting and fishing around Salmon River Valley before Kathy was born. He was also a part of many bands and performed in his spare time. In later years he loved working on his small acreage in Nevada while riding his horse, Jake in the back country and wilderness areas of the west. Retirement found him taking up writing and singing in the Midwest performing his own blue grass music which he has received many awards. Chuck and Nancy traveled after retirement spending time in Florida, southern Nevada and surrounding states. His favorite hobby was performing with his daughter when she was younger, and then teaching songs to his granddaughter, Gracie.
Chuck was a very patriotic, pro-life, religious man with strong convictions of character, faith, and honest integrity. His soft-spoken spirit and strength in loyalty and love for his wife and family will be cherished by them forever. Chuck loved writing music, singing, and playing guitar whether it be with his daughter or in one of his bands throughout the years, or by himself at home. He was a true friend to many and always listened and treated others with respect. Chuck was a member of National Rifle Association, national Traditional Country Music Association, many bluegrass associations, including SEMBA, BBMA, WEBMAI, and NTCMA, and Iowa Right to Life.
Chuck and The Purdy River Bank were recipients of several awards at the 2017 and 2018 Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America’s annual “Midwest” awards convention held in Jefferson City, Missouri. Chuck was awarded “Songwriter of the Year” and “Male Vocalist of the Year” in 2017 and again in 2018. He was awarded “Entertainer in Bluegrass Music” in 2017. Also, the Purdy River Band was awarded “2018 Bluegrass Band of the Year.” Chuck released a full-length CD of original songs titled “Midnight Run”, which was awarded the “2015 Vintage Blue Grass CD of the Year” by the Rural Roots Music Commission.
Survivors include his wife of 47 years, Nancy Lahr of Manchester; his daughter, Kathleen (Danny) Rider of Clinton; his granddaughter Grace Belle Rider of Clinton; his faithful little dog companion, Max; his siblings, Donald Lahr, Maryann (Donald) Digmann, Lavern (Mary Weber) Lahr, and Joan Heyer; his brothers-in-law, Leroy Schnieders, Merle Pierce, and R.W. McDowell; many nieces, nephews, great and great-great nieces and nephews.
Charles was preceded in death by his two unborn children; his parents; sisters, Valene Schnieders, Betty Lahr, Patricia Pierce, Theresa Lahr, and Linda I. McDowell.
Nancy, Kathy, and family would like to say a special thank you to those who were with him or praying for him, sent him cards, letters, texts, emails, and called during these past few months or helped in any way they could. To his relatives, friends, bluegrass community, past coworkers, army buddies, and neighbors, please know he appreciated the prayers and everything you did for him. He loved you all. In the end, God chose to take this wonderful man from us, but like he told Nancy, “I’ll be waiting to see you all on the other side.” Paul and Janice Hildebrand, Becky Robinson, Linda and Greg Lahr, Tuff, Mary, Joan and Jess for your love, help, and support during the past few months. Also, Megan Kunnart from Above and Beyond Hospice, Sisters of Mercy Hospice, and nurses Casey Stelken and Joel from Sisters of Mercy.
Memorials may be directed to the family, Delaware County American Legion or St. Mary Catholic School.
Because of COVID-19, masks are required at the funeral home.
Online condolences may be sent to www.leonard-mullerfh.com.
Private Family Funeral Service: 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, December 30, 2020, Leonard-Muller Funeral Home in Manchester, with Reverend John Kremer officiating
Public Visitation: 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 29, 2020, at Leonard-Muller Funeral Home in Manchester.
Interment with Military Rites: Forestville Cemetery-Dundee, Iowa
Private family services will be held on Wednesday.