Remembering Charles Poekel Sr.
On Wednesday, Nov. 7th, 2012, Charles Axel Poëkel Sr. of Essex Fells passed away peacefully surrounded by his family and in the presence of his loyal assistant Phil Catague at his home in Essex Fells, where he had resided for the past 48 years. He recently celebrated his 97th birthday
In 1943, while working at the Propeller Division of Curtiss-Wright Aeronautics, Mr. Poëkel invented an anti-icing means for Aircraft Propellers, for which he received a patent. The invention became the industry standard means for de-icing aircraft propellers.
Mr. Poëkel, the son of Irving Brown and Anna Poekel, was born in Dorchester, Mass., on Nov. 2, 1915. At the age of 11, following his mother’s death, he was raised by his maternal grandparents, Anna Poekel and Thorvald S. (T.S.) Poekel, the Danish boat designer.
Mr. Poëkel was a graduate of Gainesville High School in Florida. He graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in 1937 and a master’s degree in 1938 from the College of Engineering at the University of Florida.
For his master’s thesis Mr. Poëkel designed a lighting system which led to the first lighting of Florida Field, home of The Gators.
In 2010, Mr. Poëkel was honored as the Alumni of the Year by the College of Engineering, and was present at “The Swamp,” where all of the lights were illuminated in tribute to him.
Besides working at Curtiss-Wright, Mr. Poëkel pursued his engineering at Gould and Eberhardt in Hoboken and designed equipment that was used in the development of the first hydrogen bomb.
On July 3, 1941, Mr. Poëkel married Mary Alice Lester from Jacksonville, Fla., who he had met at a dance at the University of Florida. The couple were married for 63 years until his wife’s passing in 2006.
For over 60 years, he was president of C.A. Poëkel & Company, a real estate brokerage and holding firm in Verona, as well as the owner of Poëkel Electric and Poëkel Travel Bureau.
Mr. Poëkel was a family man, an avid world traveler, and renowned joke-teller. His work ethic and determination were second to none.
Mr. Poëkel is survived by a daughter, Anne Lester Poekel McCauley of Chatham, and a son, Charles Axel Poekel Jr., Esq. also of Essex Fells.
He is also survived by five grandchildren: Elizabeth Collard of Plandome, N.Y.; Susan McCauley of San Francisco, Calif.; Charles Poekel III of Brooklyn, N.Y.; William Poekel of Chicago, Ill.; and Patricia Poekel of New York, N.Y.; three great-grandchildren: Katie, Thomas and Julianne Collard; and a brother, Carl Poekel, of Revere, Massachusetts,
Mr. Poëkel was a Distinguished Service Award recipient and member of Kane Lodge No. 454 in New York City, the Salaam Temple in Livingston, New Jersey and the Essex Fells Country Club.
A memorial service has been scheduled for 10 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 271 Roseland Ave., Essex Fells.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the “U.F. Foundation” to support the Charles A. Poekel Sr. Endowed Scholarship Fund, c/o College of Engineering Development Office, P.O. Box 116575, Gainesville, Fla. 32611.