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June 2, 1925 – April 6, 2024
Waggoner obit 01
Waggoner obit 02

Charlotte was born to Irvin and Esther (Willson) Burchell in Merced, California. She and her two siblings loved growing up near orchards. During the depression, Charlotte attended 16 schools and graduated from Modesto High. At the University of California, Berkeley she majored in Home Economics and was active in the Wesley Foundation, YWCA, and Home Ec Club where she served as president.

While organizing Sunday dinners for service men during WWII with the Wesley Foundation at UC Berkeley, she met her future husband. After the war, Ernie returned to the University of Illinois and they exchanged letters for two years while they each finished college. They were married on February 22, 1948 at Centenary Methodist Church in Modesto. Their first home was in Lafayette, when Ernie was employed as a chemical engineer for Shell Oil. After five years, Charlotte’s father Irvin Burchell asked Ernie to join the Burchell Nursery and they moved to Modesto in 1953. In 1963, the family moved from Modesto to Oakdale. Charlotte was an accomplished seamstress and enjoyed making outfits for herself and her children. From her big vegetable garden and the fruit trees on the ranch, she prepared delicious meals and provided wonderful hospitality over the years to family and many friends. After 26 years, Ernie had planted enough trees for a commercial walnut and almond ranch, and it became his full-time job with support from Charlotte. In 1960, the family started the Waggoner Christmas Tree Farm so the kids could earn college money. The Christmas tree farm continued for 40 years, and Charlotte’s grandkids had fun pitching in. She enjoyed greeting the families who came to choose and cut a tree as part of their holiday tradition.

Charlotte was active in the First United Methodist Church in Modesto and then the Oakdale Community United Methodist Church where she helped plan and plant the landscaping for the new property. She was a 4-H leader and participated in AAUW, bridge groups, and hosted preschool classes to share the ranch with children. California poppies were a favorite of Charlotte’s and she planted poppies wherever she could. She enjoyed working in her flower garden and arranged splendid bouquets for home and church. Charlotte loved and enjoyed her grandkids, extended family, and friends. Vacations included time on the Mendocino coast and travel to Canada, Alaska, New Zealand, Great Britain, Sweden, and Switzerland. What a wonderful life she lived!

Charlotte is survived by her sister Maryly (Moore) Reinertson, brother Bill Burchell (Edith), daughter-in-law Elaine Wedegaertner, children Stanley Waggoner (Carolyn), Janet Waggoner Johnson (Clark) and Ellen Waggoner Kunz (Michael). She also is survived by nine grandchildren: Kevin Waggoner (Jessica), Scotty (Molly), Matthew, and Brittlynn Waggoner, Krista Torseth (Erik), Brianne Pham (An), Tricia Johnson (Martin), Richard Kunz (Vanessa), Katie Benitez (Orlando), and eight great-grandchildren. She will be missed by many nieces and nephews as well. She was predeceased by her husband of 67 years, Ernest Edward Waggoner, and her son Gerald (Jerry) Edward Waggoner. Charlotte will be laid to rest in the Plainsburg Cemetery in Merced, CA alongside her pioneer Burchell ancestors. A Celebration of Life will be held at the Oakdale United Methodist Church on Saturday May 11, 2024 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, please consider contributions to the Oakdale Community United Methodist Church or a charity of your choice.

The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader

The Riverbank (Calif.) News

April 17, 2024