Charles Gilbert Spellman, 81, of Bowie, Maryland, passed on Thursday, January 7, 2021, in the Crofton Care and Rehabilitation Center.
Charles was born July 6, 1939 in Trenton, New Jersey, the son of Alfred and Launia Spellman. Survivors include Sharon A. Jones, his much cherished companion and “rock” of 19 years; his close and deeply loved sisters May Frances Guy and Vivian E. Blaize; his nephew Donald Bruce Walton with whom he had an especially warm relationship; his three very dear and much loved sons Daryl Paul Spellman of Durham, North Carolina, Brian K. Thomas of Trenton, New Jersey, and Charles Christopher Forte of Charlotte, North Carolina; his sons in love Christopher Ellis Jones of Emmaus, Pennsylvania and Ramon Elliot Jones of Brandywine, Maryland; his cousin Rena Moaning with whom he shared a treasured friendship; his dear and much loved band of brothers since his college days Alexander Currin, Stephen McCray, and Malvin E. Moore III; his wonderful grandchildren by his sons and Sharon’s sons; and his many loved and appreciated nieces, nephews, cousins, colleagues, and friends. Charles served in the United States Marine Corps as a combat engineer, member of the “All-Marine Judo Team” and “Marine Choir.” After being honorably discharged from the Marines in 1962, he received his A.B. degree in English and French from Shaw University in 1966, his M.A. degree from the University of Iowa in 1972 and completed requirements for the Ph.D. at the University of Iowa in 1985 or there abouts. He began his teaching career at Arts High School in Newark, New Jersey while simultaneously working for the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) in New York City. He resigned from CBS to enter Law School at the University of Iowa. After completing one year of law school, he entered the University of Iowa School of Journalism where he completed a master’s degree and course work for the Ph.D. After Leaving the University of Iowa he went to Shaw University to teach and to manage radio station WSHA-FM. While there, he was selected for a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to study political communication at the University of North Carolina (UNC), School of Journalism at Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Upon completion of his Fellowship at UNC Chapel Hill, he accepted a teaching position at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in New Brunswick, New Jersey where he remained for four years. Charles went on to teach at a series of Historically Black Colleges and Universities including, Morgan State, Howard, Dillard, North Carolina Central, Johnson C. Smith University, and University of the District of Columbia. During his teaching career, Charles taught English, Journalism, Communication Research, Editorial Writing, Broadcast Law, Federal Regulations, Broadcast Management, Broadcast Performance, Radio and Television Production, Propaganda and Public Opinion, News and Public Affairs, and Administrative Communication.
As a journalism practitioner, Charles produced and hosted talk radio programs on WSMB Radio in New Orleans, Louisiana, WOL- AM 1350, in Washington, DC, and Sheridan Broadcasting Radio Network in Arlington, Virginia. He also was a newscaster, host, air personality, and announcer for numerous radio stations in Iowa, New Jersey, North Carolina. He interviewed diplomats, scholars, politicians, and ordinary citizens.
Under Charles’ guidance as General Manager, the young radio station WJCS at Johnson C. Smith University won the coveted Black College Radio “Station of the Year Award” in 1966.
Charles served on the 50th Anniversary of the World War II Commemoration Committee. His outstanding work won him the Sentinel Newspaper “Tribute to America & Her Veterans Award” with the 50th Anniversary of World War II Celebration, County of Los Angeles, California. Charles received an award from the Tuskegee Airmen Association of Kansas City, Missouri for his research about African Americans in World War II. He also received accommodations and letters of achievement from the Department of the Army for his work with the World War II Commemoration Committee.
He completed several summer tours at the Pentagon as a Historically Black Colleges and Universities Faculty Fellow. Charles was one of the unfortunate people working in the Pentagon when it was attacked on 9/11/2001. This was a very upsetting experience that haunted Charles.
Charles was a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and held memberships in several organizations including, the National Association of Broadcasters, National Association of Radio and Television Artists, Broadcast Education Association, Board of Directors of the National Educational Radio Member, Executive Board Association for Education in Journalism, National Association of Educational Broadcasters, and International Communications Associations.
During the summers he enjoyed providing guided tours for high school students from across the country. The students were so impressed with Charles’ manner and the information he imparted that they tried to emulate him by wearing hats like his and walking with a cane.
Charles enjoyed collecting books and stamps, traveling, music, and browsing antique stores. He was a devoted fan of the Washington football team. Charles’ favorite poem was “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes. His most quoted verse was “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
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