Charles A. Landis, 85, entered heaven’s gates unexpectedly January 22, 2021 at his residence, The Groves for Senior Living. Charles was born September 24, 1935 in Lititz, Pennsylvania, the son of Charles A. and Dorothy (Rutter) Landis.
He was an integral part of the Tolleson community, Tolleson Union High School and surrounding communities. He led his life with an unwavering faith and sincere belief in every individual’s potential to succeed and had a unique ability to unite people to do good in the world. He extended kindness, compassion, and generosity to everyone who entered his path.
Landis graduated from high school Class of ‘53. He was an outstanding athlete and was known as “Lanky Landis” at 6’2”. His post-secondary educational career started at The Hill Prep School; Pottstown, Pennsylvania, followed by Gettysburg College and receiving his B.S. from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1959; his M.A. from Syracuse University in 1962; and his Doctorate in Educational Administration from Penn State in 1967.
In 1961, he married Carole Ann Dye and had two children, Kimberly and Theodore and remained married for 20 years. In 1981, he married Joan L. Hudec and remained married until her passing in 2012.
Landis had extensive experience in administration. He served as Principal of Catskill Junior High School, Catskill, New York; Principal of James Buchanan High School, Mecersburg, Pennsylvania; Assistant Superintendent for Construction, Mount Pleasant Area School District, Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania and Superintendent of Windber Area High School, Windber Pennsylvania. In 1978, he moved to Arizona and the West Valley to serve as the Superintendent of Tolleson Union High School (TUHS) for 15 years. During his time at TUHS, he merged DeAnza and Tolleson high schools, building new classrooms, a new library, weight room and renovating the swimming pool and athletic courts and fields. He founded the Wolverine-Knight Foundation for student scholarships which remains active today. He finished his career serving two years as Superintendent of Gila Bend High School and one year as Principal of P.H. Gonzales in the Tolleson Elementary School District where he retired in 1996.
Landis was an avid golfer, competing successfully in his early years and sharing his love for the sport with others throughout his life. He also enjoyed football and followed Penn State and the Pittsburgh Steelers without fail.
In his retirement years, Charles continued to serve the community of Tolleson as a Community Liaison serving as counsel to the administration, organizing multiple fundraising events and supporting The Charles A. Landis Thanksgiving Dinner which he founded in 1982 (renamed in 2018 adding Mickie Diaz to the title).
In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his wife, Joan, half-brother Pete, brother William and sister Virginia (died at birth).
Surviving is his daughter Kimberly A. Franz (son-in-law, Jason); son, Ted C. Landis (daughter-in-law, Gale); stepchildren Mark, Jennifer, Brian and Darren Hudec; and grandchildren: Nicole Diaz, Alexas Landis, Zachary Diaz and Olivia Landis. The family would like to acknowledge, Helen Little, a dear friend to him in his latest years.
The family is holding a private service of remembrance given the current situation. Memorial donations may be made in memory of Charles A. Landis to: Wolverine-Knight Foundation, P.O. Box 611, Tolleson, AZ 85353.
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