Charles Schenck Jr., 1938–2018

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Former Lensic Ambassador Leaves His Legacy

Charles Schenck Jr. worked hard to support his community and the things that most enriched his life: education, the arts, and his faith. When he passed away in December 2018, his family was touched to learn that his estate plans included gifts not only to his nieces and nephews, but to the schools, churches, and arts nonprofits that mattered to him—including The Lensic.

“My uncle was a very private person,” says his nephew, Thomas Cooper IV. “But he was always quietly giving his time to help others. Even after he died, he wanted to support the organizations he loved.”

Charlie, as he was known, grew up in New Jersey  and enjoyed a long career as director of admissions at SUNY Ulster, in Stone Ridge, New York. When he retired to Santa Fe in 2003, he immediately began volunteering at The Lensic. Charlie was passionate about classical music and all things related to opera.

“He was the very best kind of volunteer,” says Connie Schaekel, The Lensic’s director of community relations. “You could always count on him to help out as needed. He was very easy to talk to.”

Charlie left The Lensic in 2011, when he moved to Sarasota for health reasons and to be closer to his sister. “He missed The Lensic and the Santa Fe Opera,” says Cooper. “But it turns out Joseph Volpe, who managed the Metropolitan Opera for years, was his neighbor in Florida. He liked that!”

We will remember Charlie fondly at The Lensic, and his legacy will live on through his generous bequest, which helps support The Lensic and its programs for future generations.

“I wish he was still with us, of course,” says Cooper. “But it’s wonderful that he had the forethought to leave us in a better place.”

If you would like support The Lensic with a legacy gift, please contact Melanie Corcoran at or 505-988-7050, ext. 1203.