On Tuesday, February 26, 2019, Corinne Tennis Charlson, loving mother and “Nana”, passed away at the age of 89 years. Corinne was born on April 24, 1929 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Her parents, Cornell Charlson and Josephine Arnstad, were both lifelong residents of Eau Claire.
Corinne’s grandparents emigrated from Norway in the 1800s. Her grandfather, Charles Charlson, worked at Eau Claire’s paper mill until Cornell, along with his brothers, established the Charlson Manufacturing Co. with Charles at the helm. Corinne’s grandfather, Ole Arnstad, worked with E.M. Fish helping to design and build homes in Eau Claire’s Third Ward — many of which still exist today.
Corinne attended Eau Claire High School, graduating in 1947. She spent one year of study at UWEC before attending & graduating in 1951 from Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois. Corinne then moved to Chicago where she shared an apartment with college friends and worked at Chicago Title and Trust. After one year, she returned to her beloved Eau Claire to work as Secretary to the Hospital Administrator at Luther Hospital. She worked there until she left to become a wife and mother.
Corinne married Paul “Skip” Newman and together they had three daughters – Paula, Nancy and Barbara Newman. Sadly, Paula died at 4 months from spina bifida, and Nancy died at 7 years from leukemia. Corinne & Skip divorced, and she later married Jack Jorgensen. They had one child together, Kari Jorgensen.
Corinne was a housewife while she raised her daughters and eventually rejoined the workforce full time in her 50s. She enjoyed working at the Girl Scouts of America as well as her 25+ years at UWEC, working in the Foundation department, the Chancellor’s Office, & finally in the Communication Sciences and Disorders department. Corinne retired from the University at the age of 84 years. Throughout her career, she immensely enjoyed her students, her coworkers, her supervisors (Lee, Carole & Kris) and the work itself.
Corinne was a loyal and true friend. Over the years, Corinne enjoyed coffee and get-togethers with the “Gourmet Group” – a close-knit group of friends, who met in the 1950s and were there for each other through thick and thin. She also enjoyed hosting summer slumber parties for her high school girlfriends. These friendships – and coffee dates – lasted throughout her lifetime and were dear to her heart.
Corinne was always very active in the community. She was a member of PEO’s Chapter AP for over 50 years, as well as a member of TTT. After the Red Cross helped find blood for her daughter, Nancy, Corinne became an on-call volunteer for many years. She was proud of her Norwegian heritage and attended many Syttende Mai celebrations and Norden Folk meetings. She was the family historian, who to her great delight, traveled to Norway and was able to spend cherished time with relatives there.
Corinne cared for Eau Claire and was extremely devoted to maintaining its heritage. She was an active member of Eau Claire’s Historical Society and was a docent on home tours for many years including her 89th year.
Corinne was deeply tied to her family & friends. She had many wonderfully close and caring relationships. She cherished every visit, email, and phone call. Corinne loved abundantly and shared “oodles of love” easily and often.
Corinne is survived by her two daughters, Barbara Newman Reilly (Thomas) and Kari Jorgensen (Roger Davidson), her two adored grandsons, Alexander and Samuel Reilly, her nieces Turi Stolen Walker and Debra Stolen Hasbrook, her nephew Alvin T. “Kit” Stolen and many beloved cousins. She is preceded in death by her children, Paula & Nancy Newman, her parents and her sister, Mary Jo Stolen.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 17, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1314 E Lexington Blvd, in Eau Claire. A reception at the church will follow. Memorials can be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.