SAH News

Obituary: Charles F. Hummel (1925-2016)

by Family of Charles F. Hummel | Feb 10, 2017
Charles Frederick Hummel died at the Valley View Retirement Center in Boise on Saturday, October 22, 2016. He was 91 years old. Charles was dedicated to his family, his Catholic faith, and the Boise and Idaho communities. 

Charles was born June 21, 1925 in Boise to Mary McAndrews Hummel and Frederick Charles "Fritz" Hummel. His was a family of architects. His grandfather and namesake, Charles Frederick Hummel, co-founded the Tourtellotte and Hummel firm in 1896. The senior Hummel's sons, Fritz and Frank, later became partners in the firm. When Charles joined in 1953, the firm, which today is known simply as Hummel, spanned three Hummel generations. The firm's design legacy includes the Idaho Statehouse, St. John's Cathedral, Egyptian Theater, churches, multiple buildings on the campuses of all three state universities, and many other buildings and homes throughout the northwest.

Charles attended St. Joseph's Academy and in 1943 graduated high school from St. Theresa's Academy, where he met his future wife, Calista "Lissa" Frances Ward.
Charles enlisted in the Army during World War II and became a rifleman in the 398th Infantry that fought its way across Europe. He was wounded and hospitalized in December 1944, but returned to his unit and experienced several more weeks of fighting until war's end. Charles then fulfilled various post-war assignments in occupied Germany and in Paris, Reims, London, and Belfast, finally returning to Boise (carrying the Bronze Star and Purple Heart Medals) in April 1946. Responding to his children's request, in 2007 he chronicled his World War II service in a personal memoir, "I Company," ending that work with these words: "I survived through the grace of God and I know that the war was harder on my mother and father than it was on me." Called up during the Korean War, Charles served as a lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers.
Charles attended Boise Junior College before his enlistment, but after the war switched to Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., from which he earned a bachelor of arts in architecture. After a hiatus for the Korean conflict, Charles received a Masters in Architecture from Columbia University in New York City.

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In addition, his daughter Kay wrote to SAH, "He loved your journal and often passed it on to me. He was more or less the dean of architectural historians in this state and provided leadership in this area to scholars, builders, planners and preservation causes. He took us to New York City and Chicago in 1965—huge introduction to buildings beyond Idaho!"

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Chicago, Illinois 60610