Charles Merle Tischler died in his sleep at home on Thursday, January 25, 2018. Merle was a man of many parts, a fine athlete as a young man, a good husband and father in his middle years, a patriot with strong conservative views as he grew older, a lifelong learner who studied economic and political philosophy from his youth to his old age, and always a dedicated Christian.
His father, Claude Tischler, who named Merle after a baseball player from Scranton, a local hero at the time, fostered his early love of the sport. His father took him to his first professional sports event at Yankee Stadium in the 1930's, where he stood between his father's knees to watch Lou Gehhrig, Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth play. To the end of his long life, he could recite the line-up of the teams. He treasured an early hope of becoming a professional baseball player. Although he was scouted by the Brooklyn Dodgers, his mother, Edith Woolever Tischler, won the argument over his future, insisting that he should go to college rather than become a professional athlete.
In high school he proved proficient in other sports as well, lettering all four years in baseball as well as wrestling, tennis, basketball, and football. He also found time to become an Eagle Scout. His final years at Scranton High, he was captain of the football team. He then spent a year at Wyoming Seminary, a prep school in Wilkes Barre, where a remarkable coach, Ray Sparks, was the coach of the wrestling team. In his first year of varsity wrestling, Merle won the national championship for prep-school wrestlers, joining a list of champions on a team whose records have never been surpassed.
Although he was offered football scholarships, Merle chose to enroll in Columbia College, where he was a varsity wrestler for five years, while earning a BA from the college and a Master's in Business Administration from Columbia Graduate School.
Putting his business education in action, Merle then moved to Akron, where he became an administrator for Firestone, while serving as a wrestling official for local teams. In his quest for a more rewarding career, he determined that law school would open a few doors. He soon became a student at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C, earning a J.D.
A small Presbyterian church in the middle of campus became his new place of worship. It was there that he met, and later married, a new English instructor, Nancy Patterson, who celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with Merle last Thanksgiving. The young couple moved to Virginia, where Merle followed his father's interest in real estate (while passing the Virginia bar exam). He first joined a real estate firm as a salesman and then took the Virginia brokers exam, forming his own firm, Citadel Realty. When his father died the following year, Merle and Nancy left Virginia to help Merle's brother, Warren, with his growing business in Northumberland, Pennsylvania, serving as vice-president of Resilite, which has since become the largest wrestling mat company in the country.
In the meantime, Nancy taught English at Susquehanna University and encouraged Merle to teach some classes in Business Law. As Merle prepared to take the Pennsylvania bar exam, which he subsequently passed, an insurance broker in the Harrisburg region offered him a position as an estate planner. In estate planning, he soon found a satisfying use for his legal skills, working as a trust officer in different banks in Lancaster and York until his retirement.
The family lived in Elizabethtown, where they added two sons to their home. Nancy continued her teaching at the newly founded Capitol Campus for some years, until she was offered the position of Summer Session Director at University Park. In State College, Merle continued his work in real estate, building and selling town homes. His firm developed Westminster Court and Remington Ridge.
Both of their sons joined the military after high school. Eric joined the Marines at the time of the Beirut bombing, and still sees himself as a marine. He currently owns a "forest friendly firewood company" in the State College region. Grant, who joined the Navy, retired to Spring Mills after 20 years of service. He married Sherry Patton Tischler and has three daughters (Christina, Stacie, and Katie)and three grandsons (Gage, Mason, and Aiden) all of whom survive. Grant, also known as Dale, is a prison guard at Rockview and a proud member of the Spring Mills Volunteer Fire Department, currently serving as Assistant Chief.
Merle enjoyed the worship and fellowship at Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church on Airport Road in State College. He loved to fill his pockets with sugarless candies, which he distributed to children who flocked around the "candy man" for treats after the worship service.
The former pastor, David Hanson, will preside over the funeral, to be held Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at Koch Funeral Home, 2401 South Atherton Street, State College. The family will host a time of visitation from 10-11 a.m., the ceremony will begin at 11. At noon, the church family will provide a luncheon at the Tischlers' home for those who wish to join them.
In lieu of flowers, please donate funds to one of the following charities to honor Merle's memory: The Crisis Pregnancy Clinic, 423 S. Pugh St., State College, PA 16801, The U.S.O., Po Box 96860 Washington, DC 20077-7677, The Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, http://semperfifund.org/donate, The Ronald McDonald House, rmdhc-centralpa.org/donate or to The Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church, 370 Airport Road, State College, PA 16801.
Arrangements are under the care of Koch Funeral Home, State College. Online condolences and signing of the guest book may be entered at www.kochfuneeralhome.com.