Charles S Stauffer

Date of Birth

June 24, 1955

Date of Death

April 8, 2020

City of Death

Santa Barbara, CA

Charles S. Stauffer, of Solvang, CA., died April 8 of complications from vascular surgery after having lived a full and accomplished life devoted to his family, friends, and community. He was 64 years old.

Charlie’s kindness and generosity, his love of nature, learning, music and laughter, touched and inspired the many who knew and admired him.

He was born June 24, 1955 in Topeka, Kansas, and spent his early years there before graduating from Fountain Valley School in Colorado Springs, CO. He went on to earn a degree in American Studies from UC Santa Cruz in 1977 and, enamored of California, decided to stay. He worked in a variety of broadcasting positions and in 1984, became general manager of KCOY-TV in Santa Maria. It was an especially fortuitous opportunity: it was at KCOY where he met Cheryl Klein, the woman who would become his wife of 36 years.

Charlie was a gifted jazz pianist who played original compositions both solo and in ensembles in the Santa Ynez, Calif. area. He was an avid naturalist and horticulturist, and was particularly interested in plants native to coastal California. A voracious, lifelong reader, his intellectual interests and breadth of knowledge were expansive, ranging from the novels of Melville and Faulkner, to biographies of jazz luminaries, to contemporary progressive politics and beyond. He served on numerous non-profit boards, as well as the Grand Jury of Santa Barbara County.

In addition to his wife, Charlie is survived by his daughter, Caiti Stauffer, son Chase Stauffer (Anja) and grandson Miles Stauffer, all of Los Angeles. He leaves three brothers, Peter Stauffer (Anne), Topeka, KS, Clay Stauffer (Barbara), Holland, MI, Grant Stauffer (Shanna), Columbia, Mo, a sister, Elizabeth Leonard (Brian), Vancouver, WA, 11 nieces and nephews, and his beloved dog, Ollie.

A celebration of life will be held in the fall.


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