INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, December 7 — Brother Charles Ray Rightnowar, former General Chairman of the BLET’s Union Pacific-Central Region General Committee of Adjustment, passed away on December 5, 2022. He was 73 years old.
Brother Rightnowar proudly served his country in the United States Army during the Vietnam Era. In 1974, he hired out on the Missouri Pacific (MoPac)/C&EI Railroad, which later merged with the Union Pacific. He held continuous membership in the BLET for more than 48 years, having joined the Brotherhood as a member of Division 724 in Salem, Illinois, on July 1, 1974.
Brother Rightnowar became Local Chairman of BLET Division 724 in 1994. He held this position until November 1998, when he was elected General Chairman of the BLET’s former UP-Eastern Region GCA, which later became known as the UP-Central Region GCA. He held this position until he retired in October 2011.
Brother Rightnowar represented his members well when he served as Local Chairman and General Chairman. He fought and won many battles for his members against the Union Pacific Railroad.
Brother Rightnowar was born September 22, 1949, in Mount Vernon, Illinois, to the late James and Sarah “Lucille” (Petersen) Rightnowar. Charles married Paula (Flerlage) Rightnowar on May 28, 2009. In addition to his beloved wife of 13 years, Brother Rightnowar is survived by his daughters, Rian Stewart and husband, Matt of Nashville, Tennessee, Savannah Greatting and husband, Joel of Columbia, Illinois, Jessica Kabat and husband, Levi of Scheller, Illinois; grandchildren, Shelby, Finnley, Raelynn, Breanna Stewart, Forrest Greatting, Charleston Kabat; sisters-in-law, Carol Rightnowar, Colleen Rightnowar, Mae Spangler, Phyllis Rightnowar; mother-in-law, Elsie Flerlage; special friends, Debbie and Dennis Penning, Ronnie Rhodes, Kyle Bagby, and Mark Waldamer; brother and sisters-in-law, Monica and Dave Laurent, Renee and Mark Fuller, Sophie and Travarr Rudd, Benny and Ginette Flerlage.
In addition to his parents, Charles was preceded in death by his sister, Millie Lynn; brothers, James, Larry, Gary, and Tom Rightnowar; father-in-law, Ben Flerlage; and beloved dog, Cletus.
Brother Rightnowar’s family said he enjoyed telling bad jokes, never met a stranger, and loved his dogs and children. He was a loving husband, father, and grandfather. And he will be greatly missed.
A visitation will be held Friday, December 9, 2022, from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Hughey Funeral Home, 1314 Main Street, Mount Vernon, Illinois 62864 (phone: 618-242-3348). A Funeral Service will be held Saturday, December 10, 2022, at 10:00 am at Hughey Funeral Home in Mount Vernon, Illinois. Interment will follow at South Hickory Hill Cemetery in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. Memorials may be made in Charles’s honor to Angels on Assignment.
“Brother Charlie Rightnowar was an excellent union officer who was highly regarded throughout our Brotherhood, especially by the members he represented,” BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce said. “His dedication made our Brotherhood a stronger and better union. On behalf of all members of the BLET, I extend deepest condolences to the family and friends of Brother Rightnowar.”