Sky Scene 07

Charles Till

June 14, 1934 ~ March 22, 2024 (age 89) 89 Years Old

Charles Till Obituary



Charles Edgar Till was the luckiest man that any of us ever knew.

His mother, Margery, had tried for 10 years to become pregnant.  It was an extremely joyful event for his mother and father when Charles was born in rural Saskatchewan, Canada, in 1934.  But this was before penicillin had become in use, so when Margery caught an infection in the hospital, it was to prove fatal.  Just before she passed away two months after giving birth to Charles, she wanted to hold her baby and mercifully, she was able to.

Margery's mother insisted that it was out of the question that Charles should be adopted, and so Margery's younger sister, Frances, looked after the baby.  And his mum, Frances, always loved him every bit as her own.  Later Frances married Charles' father, and his sister, Eleanor, was born: their family was now complete.

A year after finishing high school, his dad told him that farming had gone well that year, and the family could either buy a new tractor or he could go to college.  Charles chose college and specifically, engineering school, at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.  It was there that he finally put to use his photographic memory, other than in winning provincial bridge championships.  While in college, he also met the nursing student who would become the mother of his three children, Dorothy, at a rural barn dance.

After college, Charles completed a master's degree at the University of Saskatchewan.  It was then that a mentor recommended him for the Athlone Fellowship to England, which he went on to win.  He studied at Imperial College, University of London, from 1959 to 1961, earning a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering in an extraordinarily short amount of time, under two years.  Before WWI, his dad had emigrated from England to Canada to homestead, and so while in England studying, Charles made lifelong friendships with his English relatives, spending Christmas with them in Monmouthshire.

Upon his return to Canada, he became responsible for starting up (very carefully) Canada's first nuclear reactor: at that time, he was still only in his 20s. He then moved to Chicago so he could take on a research position at Argonne National Laboratory where he would work until his retirement in 1998.  During the peak of his responsibilities at Argonne, two thousand people reported to him on the Integral Fast Reactor project, spanning Argonne's Illinois and Idaho sites.  The significance of this work was covered in a book co-authored with Dr. Yoon Chang, entitled, "Plentiful Energy," and also in the award-winning documentary, "Pandora's Promise."

Charles met his soul mate and best friend, Ida Kay (Engstrom) in the 1980s when he moved from suburban Chicago to Idaho Falls.  They married in 1990, after which they traveled the world together ceaselessly.  During the last several years of his life, Kay entirely devoted herself to caring for Charles, and she never once considered anything but at-home care.

Charles Till passed away peacefully at home on March 22, 2024 with his wife, Kay, holding his hand.  He was 89 years old.

He was predeceased by his mother, Margery; his mum, Frances; his father, Charles James; his brother-in-law, Vernon Rourke; and by Dorothy.

He is survived by his wife, Kay; his sister, Eleanor; his three children: Gopal (Charley), Hilary, and Chris and their respective spouses; and by his grandchildren: Malcolm & Ada Till, Eleanor & Margaret Colligan, and Aluk Till.  He is also survived by Kay's daughters, Megan Andersen, and Salinda Gokey, and their respective spouses; and grandchildren: Jeron and Erin, Marshall, and Graysn as well as by great grandson, Wally Andersen.

Margery and Frances, your son, Charles, is coming home.

Funeral services will be held at 1:00 pm Saturday, March 30, 2024, at Wood Funeral Home East Side, 963 South Ammon Road. The family will visit with friends Saturday from 12:00 to 12:45 p.m. prior at the funeral home.

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March 30, 2024

12:00 PM to 12:45 PM
Wood Funeral Home East Side
963 South Ammon Road
Ammon, ID 83406

Funeral Service
March 30, 2024

1:00 PM
Wood Funeral Home East Side
963 South Ammon Road
Ammon, ID 83406


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