Charlene Marie Smalley, age 83, of Bemidji, MN, passed away peacefully in her home on September 20, 2020.
Charlene was born on September 18, 1937 in Halstad, MN. At the age of two, she moved with her parents, Ira and Milda Herman, to a farm outside of Gardner, ND where she grew up. After graduating from Oak Grove High School in Fargo, ND she attended Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. She obtained her bachelor's degree in English and Speech Education. She later earned her master's degree from Bemidji State College. On May 20, 1978 Charlene married Jim Smalley of Bemidji, MN.
Charlene always knew she wanted to be a teacher. She began her teaching career at New York Mills Schools. She then came to Bemidji where she worked for most of her career. She taught Speech, Drama and English at Bemidji Area Schools. Charlene had a passion for helping students find their gifts on stage and in the classroom. She was also the Bemidji High School Hockey Cheerleader advisor. Charlene retired from teaching in 1990. In the years following their retirement, Charlene and Jim loved to travel. They made their way across the United States, Canada and most of Europe. They enjoyed taking the backroads, discovering the local flavors wherever they went. Charlene loved music and theatre. For many years she was active in community theatre at the Paul Bunyan Playhouse in Bemidji. Charlene was an avid reader and enjoyed writing poetry. She had a love of cats and was a supporter of the local animal rescue.
Charlene was preceded in death by her husband of 42 years, Jim, in May, 2020, her parents, and brother-in-law, Michael Smalley.
She is survived by her stepdaughter, Jill (Ronald) Grand of St Cloud, MN, and stepson, Jim (Kristi) Smalley of Naples, FL. She was the proud grandmother to three grandsons: Michael (Bre) Grand, Steven (Hayley) Grand, and Carter Smalley; and one granddaughter, Marcell (Steve) Szymanski. She is also survived by her sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Colleen and Hunter Beaumont of Munich, Germany, brother-in-law, Robert Smalley of Duluth, MN and sister-in-law, Susan Smalley of Moose Lake, MN.
In keeping with Charlene's wishes there will be a private family ceremony at Greenwood Cemetery in Bemidji, MN.
Memorials are preferred to Great River Rescue or any other charity of the donor's choosing.
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