Charles William Rambow, father, husband, and local historian, passed away on June 16, 2023, at the age of 87, at the Hospice House in Rapid City, SD, after a brief battle with cancer.
Charles was born on December 22, 1935, in Sturgis, SD, to Everett V. and Nettie M. (Caton) Rambow. In 1942, the family relocated to Rapid City, where Charles grew to adulthood. He was involved in baseball, Scouting, Civil Air Patrol, and a variety of other activities, before graduating from Rapid City High School in 1955. He attended Black Hills Teacher’s College in Spearfish, SD, earning a degree in education focusing on his passion, the study of History. Following graduation, he began teaching history briefly in Douglas, WY, before accepting a position at Sturgis High School in 1961, where he taught for the next 34 years, retiring in 1995. He taught American History and World History, but his true passion was Western & Local History.
During summers, Charles worked at Bear Butte State Park, as a Ranger, Historian and Naturalist, where he gained a keen understanding and respect for Native American culture and religion. His work directly with Native American religious leaders, primarily Lakota and Cheyenne, later led him to publish a book, titled “Bear Butte: Journeys to the Sacred Mountain” in 2004.
Following his retirement, Charles taught briefly at the University of Wisconsin in Green Bay, before returning to his beloved Black Hills, where he taught at Black Hills State University, before working as Director of Fort Meade Museum for 10 years. He has dedicated many volunteer hours at the Journey Museum in Rapid City, sharing his knowledge of local geology, history, and culture of the Native American.
Charles has many life highlights. Following High School, he visited Israel on an exchange program through the Civil Air Patrol. He was a founding member of the South Dakota Archeological Society and of the Fort Meade Museum, and the long-time “Sheriff” of the Black Hills Corral #8 of the Westerners.
While still in college, Charles met and married, Irene Kuntz of Newell. To the couple were born 6 children, two boys and four girls. Raising his family in Sturgis, he was also involved in a variety of community organizations and filled the role of local historian whenever needed. Charles later married for the second time, marrying SusanMary Cee in 2004. They lived in Rapid City until his recent passing.
He is survived by his wife, SusanMary; his children, David Rambow of Wisconsin Falls, WI, Colleen (Blaine) Anderson of Belle Fourche, SD, Charlene (Buddy) Bartholow of Rapid City, SD, Mark (Nancy) Rambow of Sturgis, SD, Anita (David) Brenneman of Summerset, SD, and Cheryl (Aaron) Jordan of Sturgis, SD; as well as 12 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. He also leaves behind generations of students, who learned a love of history and culture from him.
Charles was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters, Dorothy (Rambow) Hobbs, and Esther (Rambow) Parks.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to the Sturgis & Meade County Historical Society, PO Box 221, Sturgis, SD, 57785.