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07/19/10 - NNHS Newsletter - Charles Lee Tench

Charles Lee Tench, Jr.
(29 Apr 1922 - 16 July 2010)

Newport News High School Class of June 1942

Dear Friends and Schoolmates,   
   We have more sad news today. 
   Charles Lee Tench, Class of June 1942, passed away in Newport News on Friday, July 16, 2010 at the age of 88. He was the father of Pete Tench ('65) of VA (and father-in-law of    Becky Crank Tench - '65 - of VA) and of Rob Tench ('71).


   In another of life's amazing "coincidences", I had just scanned in his image from his senior yearbook as a member of the Beacon staff the morning after he died - though I had no knowledge of it at the time.  That's him on the front row, second from the left.

June 1942 Anchor, p. 34

                 Charles Lee Tench, Jr.



NEWPORT NEWS - Charles Lee Tench Jr., a lifetime resident of Newport News, passed away Friday, July 16, 2010, at the age of 88.

Mr. Tench was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 47 years, Heide; infant son, Dirk Dieter; and a brother, Robert Henry Tench.

He is survived by his two sons, the Honorable Charles Peter Tench and his wife, Becky, Frederick Robert Tench and his wife, Kara, five grandchildren, Emily Bowman and her husband, Andy, Charles Patrick Tench and his wife, Kyle, Zachary Charles Lee, Alec Keifer and Noah Conner; one great-grandchild, Charles Lucas Bowman, and four sisters, Marguerite Grim, twin sister, Agnes Gatling (Sis), Mary B. (Aquilla) Smith, and Geradine Green.


Charles Lee Tench



He was a graduate of Newport News High School, Christopher Newport University, the FBI Advance Latent Fingerprint School, the FBI Law Enforcement and Police Administration School, the Institute of Applied Science in Scientific Crime Detection, and the Bolan Academy. He also had a Bachelor of Law degree from Blackstone School of Law in Chicago, Ill.

Following graduation from high school, Charles Lee joined the United States Army and served as a combat infantry man in Europe during WWII. He was awarded the Expert Infantry Man's Badge, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, and the Bronze Star for Valor. Upon receiving his honorable discharge from the Army in 1951, he joined what then was the Warwick County Police Force, as a patrolman, but soon began working primarily in fingerprints and criminal investigations. In 1972, he was promoted to Captain of the Central Records Bureau and Criminal Investigations. He was nationally recognized for his expertise in fingerprinting and provided crucial expert testimony in numerous high profile cases throughout the state. He taught in the city's police academy for 20 years.

Upon retirement from the City of Newport News, Captain Tench began a second career at the Hampton Social Services Department, working in child protective services investigating child abuse and neglect. After a year, he transferred into the agency's adult services division, where he spent the remainder of his 10 year tenure.

After his second retirement, Captain Tench pursued his lifelong interest in writing - he became a 'human interest writer' and his stories were frequently featured in the Daily Press. He received several Writers Digest awards for his outstanding accomplishment. His interest in writing culminated with the publication of his book, April Mist.

His hobbies include raising and racing homing pigeons, winning many trophies and high profile races. He also enjoyed carpentry and gardening. He loved roses most of all and took great pride in cultivating his spectacular rose gardens.

He was a true gentleman - slow to speak, quick to listen, steadfast in his values, and compassionate to all. His life was one of dignity, kindness, and service to others. He will be missed by all of the many people he touched, most especially his family, who he adored, provided for, and protected always. Farewell.

Funeral and burial, by the Rev. Peter Sousa, Pastor of St. Joseph and St. Mary by the Sea Catholic Churches, will be private.

Memorials may be sent to the Boys and Girls Club of the Virginia Peninsula, 429 Thorncliffe Drive, Newport News, VA 23603.

Please leave online condolences at

Arrangements by W. J. Smith & Son Funeral Home. View and post condolences on our online guestbook at

Published in the Daily Press from July 19 to July 20, 2010.

July 19, 2010
To Judge Tench and family: I was so sorry to hear the news about your father. Capt. Tench was my very first supervisor in the "working world" and became a friend and mentor. He was one of a kind and will truly be missed by all who knew him. Your family will be in my thoughts and prayers during these difficult days.

~ Pinky Weatherford Dennis

July 19, 2010
I am so sorry to hear of your father's passing. You and your family are in my prayers. Ruth
~ Unsigned

July 19, 2010



July 19, 2010
  Rob and Family,

I am sorry to hear of the loss of your Dad. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.
Terry Cooper, Newport News, Virginia

July 19, 2010
I am so sorry to learn about the death of your father-in-law. Your family will be in my prayers during these difficult days. Barbra Bowen
~ Barbra Bowen, Newport News, Virginia

July 19, 2010
  Rob, Judge Tench and family, you have my deepest sympathies in the loss of your father. He was a great man and raised a wonderful family anyone would be proud of. I am sure he will be missed by all in he came into contact. You are all in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

July 19, 2010
"Rob, I am so sorry to hear about your father. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers."
~ Susan Irwin

July 19, 2010
Dear Pete and Becky,
Barry and I were so sorry to hear about the lost of your dad. It sounds like he lead an interesting and fulfilling life. I know he will be greatly missed. We want you to know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.
Lynn and Barry Brothers
~ Lynn Brothers, Newport News, Virginia

July 19, 2010
  Dear Pete, Becky, and Rob,
Please accept my most sincere and heartfelt sympathy at your loss. You will be comforted by wonderful memories of your dad in the days ahead. And I know you have tremendous pride in the man he was and the legacy he leaves.
Joe Wingo

July 19, 2010
Judge Tench and family, Brendan and I are thinking of you during this difficult time. Your father was a great man. The knowledge he shared with others will be remembered.
~ Molly & Brendan Bartley, Newport News, Virginia 

July 19, 2010
Pete, Becky and family,
So sorry to hear of your father's passing. He was such a nice man and will be missed by many. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

July 19, 2010
To the entire Tench Family...I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Capt. Charles Tench. My wife worked for him at the Police Dept. many years ago. I have admired him for so many years...It is so strange, he has been on my mind for the last month...My wife, Patty, and I both said that we need to go and see him. I have been rereading portions of his book, April Mist, every Friday while I was on Reception at the Peninsula Funeral Home. I told those there about this great book and what a real man he is. He autographed one of his books to me and it was undoubtedly the nicest autograph I have ever had. He once planted a tree for us in our yard, a flowering plumb beautiful in the spring. Heaven is even a better place now that Capt. Tench is there. He loved his family and was so proud of each of you. My love and prayers are with you.

July 19, 2010
Pete & Robbie & families.
My heart was broken when I saw your wonderful father's obituary in the paper today. I worked for him in the late 60's in the ID bureau of the NN Police Department. I knew your sweet mother, too and had a meal in their home on Briarfield & Chestnut. Your dad was one of the finest men I have ever known in my life, very much like my own precious dad who died in 1972 at the age of 57.
Fred and I talked about your dad recently and intended to locate him and go visit. We should never put off what our spirit tells us to do. He made a tremendous impact on my life and he was a great example of how we are to treat others, with kindness and encouragement.
May God bless each of you and strengthen you as you deal with this tremendous loss. You will be in my prayers.

July 19, 2010
To son's Pete and Robert and all the family of Captain Tench, I send sincere condolences. I am truly sorry for your loss. Captain Tench was one of the finest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I had the honor of working with him, and for him, for several years, he was my boss but he was also my friend. He was a wonderful person.

~ Clay Hester, Newport News, Virginia 

July 19, 2010
To the family members of Charles Lee Tench, my friend for more than sixty years, my sincere condolences.
Calvin F. Richards
~ Calvin F. Richards

July 20, 2010



   Our sincerest sympathies are extended to the Tench family and their many friends at this difficult time.

  Y'all take good care of each other!  TYPHOONS FOREVER! We'll Always Have Buckroe!

                          Love to all, Carol





Carol Buckley Harty

Amazing Grace

Words by John Newton, 1779
(24 July 1725 21 Dec 1807)

 Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That sav'd a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev'd;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ'd!

Thro' many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promis'd good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call'd me here below,
Will be forever mine.

Bagpipes Version of "Amazing Grace" midi courtesy of - 05/25/08
at the suggestion of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 05/21/08
Thanks, Dave!

"Amazing Grace" lyrics courtesy of - 03/15/05

Greg Olsen Paintings courtesy of 01/27/05

Animated Army Flag clip art courtesy of - 06/18/03

Newport News Police Department Patch courtesy of - 04/26/10

Blackwork Flowers Divider Line clip art courtesy of - 08/12/04

Back to NNHS Newsletters - 2010

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