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Ridgefield Letter to the Editor: Remembering Charlie Pankenier

In Memory of Charlie Pankenier

Charlie was a brilliant wordsmith who left his indelible mark on every aspect of Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center. He first signed up us as a docent for public tours, but soon joined the board of directors, where he eventually served in the capacity of marketing chair for many years. His IBM career in marketing communications made him the ideal candidate to tackle everything from our logo to our annual reports. His eloquence, sharp mind, and love of history produced an extensive library of written materials, including monographs on the town’s Civil War experience and renowned architect Cass Gilbert – his alter ego.

For years he wrote a bi-weekly column for the Ridgefield Press called Keeler Notes highlighting the lessons of history exemplified by the stories of our site’s past residents and their relevance for contemporary life. Another one of his favorite roles was that of a quiz master for our annual History Trivia Contest, where he took pleasure in stumping the audience with some obscure historical facts on a wide range of subjects. His quest for a deeper understanding of how history frames our national identity permeated everything he did for KTM&HC.

Many can remember the speech he delivered on being honored at the 2017 gala where he pointedly recalled Benjamin Franklin’s answer to being asked about what type of government the Founding Fathers were giving us, “a Republic – if you can keep it!” We mourn the loss of a great man and send Judi and the extended family our deepest condolences.

Hildegard Grob

Executive Director

Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center

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