BAXTER SPRINGS - Charles Gordon Leverich died Jan. 11, 2012 at his home in Baxter Springs. Born June 4, 1937, he was 74.
An active member of the community, Leverich was a past editor of the Baxter Springs News as well as a business owner.
Leverich was active in both the Baxter Springs Chamber of Commerce and the Baxter Springs Lions Club.
Baxter Springs Mayor Jenifer Bingham said she was saddened by the loss.
"He's going to be greatly missed," she said. "In the passing of Chuck Leverich we lost an immensely important member of the community. He was such a great person it makes me very sad."
He is survived by his wife, Maggie, of the home, sons Charles Leverich III and wife Tammy, Jeff Leverich and wife Stephanie, all of Valparaiso, Ill., and Christopher Leverich and wife Sandy of New York. Daughters Laura Burgmeister and husband John of New York and Patty Crueger and husband Fred of Florida; one step daughter Carrie Corlos and husband Bruce of Long Praire, Minn., and two stepsons; Brett Wold of Sauckcentere, Minn., and Chad Wold and wife Gretchen of Brainerd, Minn., as well as 26 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Among his accomplishments were years in radio as a disk jockey at several radio stations, including WGN in Chicago.
Upon returning to Baxter Springs, Maggie Leverich said he set out to transform Baxter Springs into a tourist destination.
"He really believed Baxter could be a Branson, (Mo.) someday," she said. "He had a lot of ideas but they were always shot down by the big guys in town. That was very frustrating for him."
Despite occasional resistance, Maggie Leverich said, he continued to forge ahead, organizing the Music in the Park series which was sponsored by the Cherokee County News Advocate, the Baxter Springs Chamber of Commerce and the City of Baxter Springs.
A concert series which Bingham says will continue.
"The Music in the Park series which continued last year was all him," she said. "We hope to continue with it in his name and in his honor."
Maggie Leverich said he was well known in town as a character.
"He had a wonderful sense of humor," she said. "Halloween he would dress up in a gorilla suit and run around the neighborhood. He was just a sweet man."
Leverich is also survived by brothers Gerald Leverich and wife Marilyn of Baxter Springs, David Leverich and wife Bobbie of Wisconsin; and Gary Leverich and wife Louise of South Carolina.
Services were 4 p.m. Jan. 14, Pastor Jeff D. Martin officiating.