Scope and Contents
These papers include biographical information; correspondence, 1930-1948; and photographs. Most of this collection consists of correspondence from Schumacher's friends during the years he was in Civilian Public Service.
Charles Schumacher was born in Bluffton (Ohio) in 1919. His college degree was in chemical engineering; he later earned an M.S. in chemistry at the University of Akron (Ohio). He married Mary Koontz on January 28, 1950; they had five children.
Schumacher, a member of the General Conference Mennonite Church, chose conscientious objector status during WWII. He entered Civilian Public Service on January 24, 1944 and served at three different locations: at CPS Camp #28 in Medaryville (Inidiana) for about 6 months; at CPS Camp #103 in Missoula (Montana) where he worked as a smokejumper with the U.S. Forest Service for about 2 years; and at CPS Camp #141 in Gulfport (Mississippi). Most of his collection of papers is made up of correspondence from his men and women friends during the years he was in CPS.
While in the Smokejumpers unit, he met Helen Brunner, a graduate student in music at the University of Washington. Brunner, who was from West Linn (Oregon), became his fiancée and they were planning to marry on August 4, 1945, in spite of stiff resistance from her mother who hated Schumacher for being a conscientious objector. According to Schumacher, Brunner's mother faked a heart attack the day before the scheduled wedding, and because of her it was never rescheduled, in spite of pleas from Schumacher for several years. Brunner started teaching music in 1945; she never married and took care of her mother throughout her life. Brunner, born in 1919, died just five days after her mother, on April 10, 1986. After Schumacher's wife died, he found a packet of letters from Brunner in his attic and decided to institute a search for her, but she had already died as well.
Schumacher's first job after CPS was as a chemical engineer for Firestone in their synthetic rubber plant in Akron (OH). After his marriage, he moved to San Francisco (California) and worked for 35 years as a project engineer / manager on chemical and refinery projects for American Bechtel Co. This included several long stints in Australia, London (England), Saudi Arabia, and in Qatar. He currently resides in Snohomish (Washington).