Charles Schenck, who grew up in East Hampton and eventually settled in Wilmington, N.C., died at midnight on Sept. 27 of pancreatic cancer, following a short illness. He was 56 years old.
Mr. Schenck was born in Syracuse, on July 12, 1955, the oldest child of Robert and Barbara Kelly Schenck, but the family moved to East Hampton when he was still a boy. His grandparents on both sides were East Hampton residents — his father’s parents, Edwin and Esther Schenck, lived on Sherrill Road, and his maternal grandparents, Thomas A. Kelly and June Hess Kelly, lived at “Shore Quarters” on Jeffery’s Lane. Mr. Schenck and his parents were soon joined by his younger brother, Christopher, at “Blackberry,” the family’s home on Ocean Avenue.
Mr. Schenck was part of the first class at the John M. Marshall Elementary School, and went on to Most Holy Trinity School and the Hampton Day School before graduating from Wilton Academy in Connecticut. He was confirmed at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.
Mr. Schenck held various jobs in some interesting places during his life. He worked on a shrimp boat on the Mississippi River and an oil rig off Houma, La.; he catered as a Cajun chef in a number of locations.
“Charles was a free spirit,” said his mother, Barbara Johnson of Cross Highway, East Hampton. “He walked to a different drum.”
Mr. Schenck is survived by both his parents. Robert Schenck, his father, lives in Cary, N.C., with his stepmother, Roseanne. Three children from a former marriage to Theresa Vann survive as well, Matthew Schenck of Marietta, Ga., Whitney Schenck of Brunswick, Ga., and Tracey Schenck, also of Brunswick. He leaves two grandchildren.
Six brothers and sisters also survive. They are Christopher Schenck of Wake Forest, N.C., Kelly Kunzeman of Sag Harbor, Eric Johnson of Springs, Mary Klemp of Cary, and Peter Schenck and Andrew Schenck, who live in North Carolina.
His partner of 20 years, Cathy Pardue, will commit his ashes to the sea in a private ceremony, from a favorite pier in Wilmington.
“All of the places where he lived and worked were near or on the water,” said his mother. “Charles loved the ocean.”