Legends of Diving Articles


Charles "Chuck" Joseph Hepp
Charles "Chuck" Joseph Hepp died on Sunday, March 13, 2011 at his home in Klamath Falls in the loving care of close family and friends.

Chuck was born in Detroit, Mich., in 1926, and raised by his mother in Chicago, Ill., Chuck served in the U.S. Navy in Europe and North Africa. After the war, he returned to Chicago to an apprenticeship as a photo engraver. In 1955, Chuck left the Windy City with his wife Violletta and daughter Suzanne and headed for the sun in Florida.

In Fort Lauderdale, he worked for the Fort Lauderdale News, but the ocean was his first love. He learned to scuba dive and, in 1961, was one of the first to complete the new National Association of Underwater Instructors Course. In 1965, he and Suzanne moved to the Bahamas, where he was a founder member of the Underwater Explorers Society (UNEXSO) in Freeport, Grand Bahama. One of the pioneers of deep diving, Chuck was a safety diver when Jacques Mayol made his record free dive in 1968.

In 1971, Chuck married Lucinda, another NAUI instructor. A year later, he got the opportunity to work full time as an Aerospace Facilities Engineer for his second love - the space program. This work and their diving activities took Chuck and Lucinda all over the world, making lifelong friends wherever they went. In 2001, they moved west to join Suzanne in Klamath Falls.

Chuck loved the outdoor life, especially walking their two beloved dogs and downhill skiing again after nearly 50 years. Always a firm favorite with children and a natural teacher, Chuck read for SMART, the children's literacy program, for several years.

A big man with a big heart, Chuck will be sorely missed by his wife and daughter and many, many friends. A celebration of his life will be held in Klamath Falls in May (details to be arranged).

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