Charles Schiesser

Col. Charles William Schiesser (retired), better known as Charlie, passed away on November 14, 2021, his indomitable fighting spirit and brilliant mind virtually intact almost to the very end.

Charlie was born in Fergus Falls, amidst bucolic farms, the youngest of nine children to Thomas and Maggie (nee Anderson) Schiesser. Growing up during the Great Depression and WWII shaped Charlie's character and his work ethic, sense of social justice, and service to country. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a doctor of jurisprudence in 1958. From then he went on to join the U.S. Army as a career legal officer. Through sheer ambition and intellectual curiosity about the broader world, he graduated with a masters' degree in law from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. In D.C., he met Francis Elizabeth Duff. They were married in 1962 and had two boys, until her sudden and untimely passing in 1997.

After a long and distinguished military career, and tours of duty in Germany, Hawaii, and Vietnam, Col. Schiesser retired in 1978 as a judge advocate in the U.S. Army. Settling in Austin, Texas, in 1979, he held a number of positions, first as attorney in private practice and then chief of staff and deputy commissioner of the Texas Rehabilitation Commission. In 2001, he married Shubh Bala whom he met at the commission. Col. Schiesser's service to the nation and community didn't end after his second retirement. He started the nonprofit Veterans for Change and worked pro bono as a lawyer, advocating for the rights of veterans and fighting to secure disability benefits on their behalf. He also served as legal advisor for the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners.

Charlie was a man of diverse interests and talents. He was a member of the Minnesota and Texas bars and licensed to practice in the District of Columbia and understood nuances of legal doctrine like few others. He enjoyed a spirited political debate, sharing fine wine and food with loved ones, travel and movie marathons. An avid reader, he lit up discussing the subtleties of domestic and international politics and military history and was known to read the New York Times cover to cover. His compassionate spirit, mischievous sense of humor, along with his sharp intellect and progressive and inclusive worldview was appreciated by the many people he came across throughout his life.

Col. Schiesser is survived by his beloved wife, Shubh Schiesser, and his four children, Charles and Dwight Schiesser of Austin, Texas, and Era and Amitabh Dabla of Washington, D.C., and four grandchildren, Katelyn, Russell, Rory and Lily. He is survived by his sister, Ardys Fronning of Fergus Falls, sister-in-law, Margaret D. Sheely of Houston, Texas, cousin, Keith Toso of Austin, Texas, and other nephews and nieces. The family would like to thank Melissa's Home and the hospice nurses for their care.

Funeral services will be held on Monday, November 22 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Harrell Funeral Home, 4435 Frontier Trail, Austin, Texas.

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