Gymnastics instructor Charlie Schumpp loved to teach, give back to community

Charlie Schumpp with granddaughter Amanda Bingham.

Charlie Schumpp had personality plus. An outgoing elementary and pre-school students gymnastics instructor, Schumpp routinely arrived for work with a song in his heart.

About Charlie

Age: 63

Occupation: Mobile gymnastics instructor.

Community: West Ashley.

People will remember: His funny stories and giving spirit.

Affiliations: Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and the American Legion.

Survivors: Wife, Karen Schumpp; daughters, Katie Ard (Richard), Alicia Bingham (Phillip); and granddaughter, Amanda Bingham.

Schumpp, a mobile instructor and independent contractor, made learning gymnastics fun for children, says his wife, Karen Schumpp.

It was so much fun that children often did not realize they were learning.

“He related to the children at their level,” she says. Many of the things Schumpp said to the children, would rhyme. He enjoyed saying things such as “Wiggle your toes, not your nose,” during warm-ups.”

The rhymes, even the nonsensical ones, were just “Mr. Charlie’s” way of doing things, she says.

“He loved everybody,” Karen Schumpp says. “He saw the best in everybody. He was not negative.”

Schumpp, who was born Oct. 5, 1949 and died Aug. 4, was known for his elaborate Christmas decorations, too.

“Every part of the yard was decorated,” Karen Schumpp says. “He used to say that his goal was to be gaudy. It was never that, but it caused a lot of people to stop and look.” Some people would stop to see his decorations first, then go to see the ones at James Island County Park, she says.

“He made all of the wooden figures he put in the yard,” Schumpp says. “First he made a few figures. Then, he made the gingerbread village. He made the manger. He got these huge blow ups that would play music – a tree with lights that would flash and that had polar bears on each side.”

The Rev. Timothy Sandeno, who was Schumpp’s pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in West Ashley, says the Christmas decorating was one of the many things he did, not for himself, but for others.

When Sandeno met Schumpp eight years ago, it was easy to see he lived his Christian values, the minister says.

He was using his connections in the community to help fund charitable giving. Each Christmas, Schumpp collected toys for families with children who would not otherwise receive gifts.

In addition, Schumpp thought about those beyond the local community, Sandeno says.

His concerns extended to the troops at war. He collected a truck full of Kool Aid for them and worked with the Air Force to package and ship it.

“He knew and trusted in what Jesus had done for him. So, he was able to love people without any expectations and that’s what he did. I am sure he met people he didn’t like or care for, but he didn’t see it as a license to think ill of them. As he lived his life in faith, he died in Christ as well.”

Reach Wevonneda Minis at 937-5705.

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