By Paul Garrod
LAWRENCE – A lifelong resident of Lawrence and an active community member received a big surprise for his 90th birthday last Friday, Feb. 17, in between the Lawrence High School varsity boys’ and girls’ basketball games.
Charles Moden was honored for his four decades plus supporting Tiger athletics. In a complete surprise to Moden that night, Lawrence Public Schools named its high school gym the Charles O. Moden gymnasium, before a homecoming game against the Decatur Raiders. Tributes came from LPS Superintendent Gretchen Gendron and John Guillean, LPS Director of Athletics and Youth Recreation and varsity boys basketball coach.
A banner was unveiled in between the games. It reads, “Charles O. Moden Gymnasium Dedicated in appreciation for over 40 years of loyal, outstanding and dedicated service to the athletic programs, students and community of Lawrence. Dedicated Feb. 17, 2023. Lettering is planned for the gym’s floor.
Moden graduated from Lawrence High School in 1951, where he played baseball and basketball. He remains active within the school district, serving as president of the Lawrence Alumni Association since 2005. Moden volunteered as bookkeeper of boys’ and girls’ basketball games for 41 and 35 years, respectively. He also was bookkeeper for Lawrence football for 35 years.
Moden is a former Village of Lawrence council member, serving parts of two decades during the 1970s and 80s for a total of 12 years.
Moden also serves as the current commander of the American Legion Hess Eastman Post 174, a position he has held since 2005. He previously held the position in 1962 and 1963, as well as 1972 and 1973.
He and his wife, Judy, have been married for 58 years. They have two grown children, Wendy (Dale) Murney and Shellie (Rocky) Johnson; and three grandchildren.
Moden said during an interview last year with The Courier-Leader, “This town has been good to me, very, very good to me. “I’ve been so darn lucky in my life. I should never be caught complaining.”
He is also known unofficially as the town’s historian, to which he says, “I’m not an historian, but a collector. Moden has a collection of Lawrence memorabilia, including postcards and other items.
“I just enjoy doing that stuff,” said Moden.