Known by many different titles—teacher, preacher, counselor, husband, brother, and father--George Charles Dart enjoyed life and all of the experiences that it offered. Born on July 8, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia to teachers Archa and Dorothy Dart, the family lived in Georgia, then Tennessee, where a younger sister, Virginia, joined the family. Later, the Darts settled in the Washington D.C. area.
Charles nurtured many interests from a young age, not the least of which was his love of animals. At an early age his parents allowed him to foster this love with his pet dog, Bruno, a pet goat, and even Harriet, a pet chicken. Other favorite activities he took part in throughout his life included traveling, camping, going to the ocean, and later in life, attending the Rose Parade. To relax he loved to garden, play word games, eat ice cream, and read. His greatest joy, though, seemed to come from his interactions with the many people with whom he came in contact.
For high school, Charles attended Shenandoah Valley Academy and Takoma Academy and showed early signs of leadership including serving as senior class president while simultaneously finishing high school in three years. While attending Washington Missionary College, he was the editor the college newspaper, The Sligonian, he sang with the college choir, and was elected president of his senior class. Charles majored in theology with minors in history and music. Throughout his life he evidenced his love for music, education, and the ministry in the many positions he held.
One of the most important moments during his college experience occurred when he met a quiet, shy classmate, Naomi Vartenuk. Charles and Noni were married August 21, 1949. Charles started his ministry in Sandusky, Ohio where he was a singing evangelist. He later became pastor of the Mansfield SDA church. While in Mansfield, he and Noni’s first child, George Charles Dart Jr. (Chuck) was born on January 13, 1954. From there, the family moved to Mt. Vernon, Ohio where Charles taught Bible for five years at Mt. Vernon Academy.
At the age of twenty-nine, Charles accepted a call to become principal at Blue Mountain Academy. The family lived at Blue Mountain for five years and in 1962 Charles and Noni welcomed their second child Cheryl Annette Dart (Cheri) on January 31st of that year.
In 1964 Charles was called to be pastor in Texas at the Keene Seventh-day Adventist Church. He ministered at the church for two years before becoming President of the Texas Conference in 1966. While in Texas, the family continued to expand with the birth of James Edward Dart (Jed) on July 29, 1965 and then Jolene Elizabeth Dart on May 19, 1969. The family enjoyed living in Texas for more than 10 years before moving to Oregon.
In 1975 Charles was called to be principal of Milo Adventist Academy in southern Oregon where the family spent the next six years before moving to Portland where Elder Dart served as Educational Superintendent of the Oregon Conference of SDA schools.
In 1986 Charles accepted a call to be President of the Southern California Conference. There he worked for seven years before retiring in 1993, after having served in the SDA system for more than forty years. This retirement was short-lived as he accepted a call to once again principal at Milo Adventist Academy. He stayed at Milo for two years before moving to Ozark Adventist Academy and serving as principal in 1996.
It was while at Ozark that Charles and his children lost their mother, and his wife of forty-nine years, to cancer. He continued to serve as principal, for a few more years, and later married a former classmate from college, Connie Stewart. When he finally retired, for good in 2002, he and Connie moved to her hometown of Parkersburg, West Virginia. There he enjoyed his retirement by walking, reading, and working on puzzles, while also volunteering his time to the Parkersburg SDA church.
In 2005, he moved back to California to continue his retirement at Linda Valley Villa where he relished the camaraderie of fellow retirees and the social opportunities that the Villa offers. While at the Villa, he was able to get reacquainted with many people from his past, and served as one of the head song leaders for the worship services.
In 2011, due to mobility issues he relocated to Ryan’s Home Care where he received exceptional care until his passing on March 3, 2012.
Throughout his life he flourished in both careers as a pastor and educator. Wherever he lived he brought joy, patience, kindness, understanding and love to those around him. He touched countless lives with these qualities and will be greatly missed on this earth. We do have the blessed hope of seeing him again. He relished the thought of gathering with all of his dear students, friends, colleagues and family in that great reunion in heaven.
The family has requested in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a special Charles Dart Scholarship fund that will benefit students from a number of schools. Ozark Adventist Academy has agreed to receive the donations in either cash, credit cards or PayPal and the Dart family will advise with the distribution of the funds.
Naomi Marie Vartenuk Dart
1929–1999 (m. 1949)
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