Obituary of Charles Joseph Reynolds
Charles Joseph (Joe) Reynolds will be remembered as a devoted and beloved husband, father, son, brother, uncle, and community member whose life was cut short by senseless gun violence when he returned to the car following a family celebration on December 21, 2022.
Joe was born in Selma, Alabama, in December 1960 to William Weems Reynolds, an Air Force pilot, and Peggy McAliley Reynolds, a teacher. The family moved several times during Joe’s childhood, living in Germany, Albuquerque, Tampa, and Sumter, SC, where Joe graduated from Sumter High School in 1978. Joe then joined his older brother Bob at Auburn University and interned with the U.S. Government through an Auburn co-op program. During these years he formed lifelong friendships, including with Andre de Souza, an Auburn student who became an honorary “Reynolds,” and Peter Hastings, one of Joe’s roommates in his co-op apartment.
After graduating from Auburn with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1983, Joe moved to the D.C. area to continue his government work. He first met Peter’s sister, Karis Hastings, in Ohiopyle, PA in 1981. Over time Joe and Karis fell in love and weathered the trials of a long-distance relationship while Karis attended Duke Law School and Joe worked and earned a master’s degree in medical engineering from the George Washington University. Joe and Karis were married in a service officiated by Karis’s father in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, on September 3, 1988. Together Joe and Karis raised three amazing daughters, Lucy, Alison, and Hope. Joe loved his wife and daughters beyond measure, supporting their passions and interests and delighting in all their accomplishments.
Joe was active throughout his life – he played on Sumter High’s state championship soccer team, learned racquetball from his father and brothers, and later shifted his energies to disc-related sports, taking up ultimate (as a lefty, his signature move was to fake out defenders by holding the disc in his right hand before making a quick throw with his left) and disc golf. He also enjoyed hiking, biking, camping, pickle ball, and, especially, making other people’s lives easier and better.
Joe had a lengthy government career and after retiring in 2016 took a job at MIT Lincoln Laboratory to continue advancing national security efforts, including contributing to the mission of U.S. Cyber Command. Colleagues praised his work for its technical complexity and emphasized Joe’s creative problem-solving and, most importantly, his willingness to mentor others.
Joe was (as his oldest daughter put it at the age of 4) “a fixer.” His many skills in technology, home maintenance, and auto repair, as well as the ample generosity with which he shared them, made him indispensable to his local Hillandale community, his church (Takoma Park Presbyterian), and his extended family and friends. Joe offered his time and talents without needing to be asked or expecting anything in return. He was instrumental in connecting his church to its members via Zoom during the pandemic and set up and repaired computer systems for a local nonprofit organization, Community Health and Empowerment through Education and Research (CHEER). He also ran errands for Montgomery Blair High School’s stage crew program (even after his children had graduated), mowed lawns, fixed furnaces, shoveled neighbors’ driveways, and painted pool walls. He is and always will be sorely missed by all who loved him.
Joe is mourned by his wife, Karis Hastings, their children Lucy (Cory Hutson), Alison, and Hope, his mother Peggy, brothers Bill (Yvonne), Bob (Betsy), John (Christina Padgett), and Andre de Souza (Maria) and their children and grandchildren: Zack, Grace (Dale Smith), Arlo, Oscar, and Emmett; Mary Kate (Ryan Walker), Kimberlee, Eric (Erin Bassett), and Isabel de Souza; as well as by his mother-in-law Phyllis Hastings, siblings-in-law Peter Hastings, Julie Hastings and Oren Kosansky, and Mary Beth Hastings and Howard Wilkins, along with their children Jesse Wiemer-Hastings, Mica and Tali Hastings, and Sydney and Pine Hastings-Wilkins. Joe was preceded in death by his father William Sr. and father-in-law Bob Hastings. Donations in Joe’s memory can be directed to CHEER (https://www.communitycheer.org/) or to Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence (https://mdpgv.org/#home-page).
Joe’s life will be celebrated in a memorial service at Takoma Park Presbyterian Church, 310 Tulip Avenue, Takoma Park, MD at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 18, 2023.
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