Charlie was born in 1940 near Vanceboro, NC the oldest of seven children. When his dad passed away his mother was overwhelmed with the responsibilities of trying to raise that may children alone. After she realized that she was unable to do so, she placed the children in Thompson Orphanage in Charlotte. Charlie found life difficult in the orphanage and after a year he ran away to return home and be with his mother. Fortunately for Charlie, Thompson had a no return policy for runaways so his Mother had to find another home for him. The local Masons told her about their Home in Oxford and Charlie was brought to Oxford Orphanage in 1950. He quickly fell in love with his new home and all it had to offer – the sports, the pool, the beautiful campus and the woods behind the farm that allowed a young boy the opportunity to explore.
He describes midget football as “the greatest” and he quickly fell in love with team sports as a way to compete and a challenge to outperform others. This competitive spirit carried over into other aspects of his life, including doing farm work and making good grades. Before he graduated in 1958 he was assigned to the School of Printing and felt like his time spent here was the period that instilled in him the work ethic that carried him into adulthood.
“Dealing with them from another state has not affected their service”
After graduating from Oxford Orphanage he attended NC State University, majored in engineering, joined ROTC, and competed on the track team. During his junior year of college he joined the Air Force/ROTC program that led to being an officer on a flight crew. After five years in the service he returned to college and eventually earned a Master’s Degree in Business. He soon married his wife Pat, had two sons and worked at Del Monte Foods for five years. When the offer of a new career in the automobile industry presented itself in 1974, he jumped at the opportunity and eventually became the owner of three dealerships in the Palo Alto, California area near Silicon Valley. His Carlsen Porsche dealership has been the top dealership in the Northern California Market since 1982.
Charlie still loves the Home that allowed him to have a positive start in life and helped him to become the productive citizen that he is today. He believes that you are never truly successful without giving back, so his dealerships have become the major sponsor of our annual Alumni Golf Tournament, Chip Shots for Children. He sees this as his “opportunity to give back to the Orphanage that taught me the lessons of responsibility, integrity, discipline, and a competitive work ethic”.
Charlie makes us proud every day with the way he has used what he learned at Oxford Orphanage and The School of Printing to not only make a better life for himself and his family, but also to continue tolook for ways to give back to the Home he loves.
“We have been very impressed the School of Graphic Arts. They have simplified the printing process for us by providing excellent service in an expeditious manner. We look forward to dealing with tem for many years to come. Dealing with them from another state has not affected their service to us or the timely manner in which our members receive their publications.”