Cover photo for Charles T. Harkins's Obituary
Charles T. Harkins Profile Photo
1944 Charles 2024

Charles T. Harkins

December 15, 1944 — February 23, 2024

Charles T. Harkins, known to his friends and family as “Charlie", passed away peacefully on February 23, 2024 at the age of 79. Charlie was born on December 15, 1944 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Charles E. Harkins and Ann (nee Oruska) Harkins. He graduated from Northeast Catholic High School in 1962 and continued his education at a number of colleges and universities earning a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from LaSalle College in 1967, a Teaching Certification in Education of the Deaf from Penn State in 1967, a Masters of Education Degree in Special Education in 1968, and a Post-Masters Specialist Diploma in Special Education and Rehabilitation from the University of Pittsburgh in 1970. Three of Charlie’s proudest moments in his life were his marriage to Patricia (nee Klimashko), the birth of his son, Charles (Chuck) W. Harkins and being “Pop Pop” to his two grand children, Amelia and Charles D. Harkins. Charlie then dedicated his career to the education of Deaf students, first at the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, where he became Principal of the High School in 1970. He then went on to become Principal of the Middle School at the Mystic Oral School for the Deaf in Connecticut, followed by a stint as Principal of the High School at the New York State School for the Deaf in Rome, New York and completing his career as Principal and CEO of the Newfoundland School for the Deaf (NSD) in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada from 1978 until his retirement in 2001. While there, Charlie developed the NSD into an internationally recognized school for the Deaf. During the 1980s, 90% of the graduates from the NSD went on to post secondary schools, including Gallaudet University in Washington, DC and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, New York. Finally, he oversaw the development and construction of a state of the art school building for the NSD in the heart of St. John's. Throughout his career, Charlie was known for his dedication to the teaching of Deaf children as well as his efforts to empower the Deaf Community of Newfoundland. He did this through the development and teaching of courses at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, and the establishment of the Coordination Council on Deafness, and supporting the Canadian Educators of the Hearing Impaired. However, his volunteerism was not restricted to the Deaf community as evidenced his activities with the Oak Creek Plantation HOA, and developing web sites for a variety of organizations, and served as web master for the Northeast Catholic High School Class of 1962. After his retirement and move to Spartanburg, SC, he taught as an Adjunct Professor at the University of South Carolina Upstate and Converse College. Charlie’s legacy of excellence in teaching and dedication to helping others will continue to inspire and touch the lives of many. Charlie is survived by Patricia (nee Klimashko) his wife of over 50 years, their son Charles W. Harkins of Mount Pleasant, SC and his beloved grandchildren Amelia and Charles D. Harkins. He is also survived by his brother John Wagner and sister Joann Abrahamsen, both of New Jersey. He is predeceased by his parents Charles E. Harkins and Ann Wagner, and his younger brother Robert E. (Bob) Harkins of Sydney, Australia. A funeral service to celebrate Charlie’s life will be held 10:00am on Saturday, March 16, 2024 in the Historic St. Paul The Apostle Catholic Church in Spartanburg, SC. Interment will follow the ceremony in the church columbarium. A second memorial celebration will be held 1:00pm on Saturday, July 20, 2024 at the Wagner family shore home in Stone Harbor, New Jersey for close family and friends. In honor of Charlie, memorial contributions may be made to Spartanburg Regional Hospice House, The American Cancer Society, or St. Paul The Apostle Catholic Church.
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church

290 East Main Street, Spartanburg, SC 29302

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