Stanley Charren, 97


DEDHAM, MASS. – Stanley Charren, of Dedham, died Dec. 31, 2021, of COVID-19. Stanley was born on June 5, 1924, in Providence, to Harry and Gertrude (Katz) Charren.

After high school, Stanley enrolled at Brown University, graduating in 1945 with a degree in mechanical engineering and completing an M.S., in 1946, in mechanical engineering at Harvard University.

While a first lieutenant in the Air Force Reserve, Stanley was assigned as an engineer by Fairchild Corporation for a project to build an expendable jet engine for wartime use. Having done significant work on developing the engine, Stanley was sent to Chincoteague Air Force Base for engine tests. The engine, mounted on the wing of a slow PB4Y aircraft, was repeatedly flown to high altitudes and put in a dive with Stanley in the machine gun turret on the side of the aircraft. When enough speed was reached, Stanley would press a button to allow fuel to pour out of the engine, which would ignite in flames so Stanley could examine the burn pattern.

On vacation from Fairchild, Stanley met Peggy Walzer, the love of his life. They married in 1951 and moved to Newton, Massachusetts, where they raised two daughters, Deborah (Debbie) and Claudia (Sandi).

In 1958, Stanley co-founded Bytrex Corporation, which merged with Kulite. Kulite-Bytrex became the first company in the world to make a commercially marketed semiconductor strain gauge with an output almost 100 times larger than conventional gauges.

Stanley next co-founded Pandel-Bradford in Lowell to manufacture synthetic leathers and suedes for shoe uppers, including the white Go-Go boot material worn by Goldie Hawn on “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.” Pandel-Bradford also developed a vinyl-backed carpet tile for commercial offices, selected by architect I.M. Pei for installation in the first office building in the U.S. to use carpet tiles, which Pei designed.

From early in his life, Stanley struggled with back issues. Swimming helped but getting to a pool was time consuming. Stanley’s desire for a small pool led him to start another company, SwimEx, with two partners, to produce spa pools; personal-sized pools allowing a person to swim in place, similar to a treadmill. SwimEx innovated spa pools by making theirs move a lot of water at a low pressure, allowing the water from the top to the bottom of the pool to move at the same speed.

During the 1970s energy crisis, Stanley became interested in wind energy and played a key role in the development of the modern wind power industry. In 1974, Stanley and partner, Russell Wolfe, started U.S. Windpower, which became the first major U.S. wind turbine manufacturer, and the largest wind energy firm in the world. U.S. Windpower’s innovation was to build groups of intermediate-sized windmills and link them into a single power plant tied to the grid. U.S. Windpower built the world’s first ‘wind farm,’ a term Stanley coined, in 1978.

From the moment they met, Peggy and Stanley were soul mates supporting each other in all pursuits. Stanley was a liberated husband, making dinners, performing housework, and was always behind Peggy as she became a renowned activist and founder of Action for Children’s Television.

Stanley’s favorite place to spend time was at his home on Quitsa Pond in Chilmark on Martha’s Vineyard. There, he enjoyed morning swims in the buff off his dock, long afternoons on the beach with friends, playing tennis and grilling fresh swordfish harpooned by his neighbors, the Pooles.

Debbie and Sandi remember a father who laughed and taught them to swim, play tennis and, on a game board inlaid into a table made by his father, taught them chess. On Sundays, there were trips to the bakery and deli for bagels, lox, cream cheese, black and white cookies and newspapers, and afternoon bike rides along a secret trail ending at a doughnut shop. Leaving their bikes, they would negotiate the traffic across route 9 emerging with a baker’s dozen to hang on their handlebars for the trip home.

Stanley was predeceased by his wife, Peggy, and brother, Burton Charren. He is survived by daughters Deborah Charren (Timothy Diehl) of Northampton, Massachusetts, and Sandi Moquin (Kyle Moquin) of Feeding Hills, Massachusetts; sister-in-law Barbara Korstvedt of California; grandchildren Hannah (David Pakman) and Zachary Charren-Diehl, Corey (Amanda) and Veronica (Keven Brown) Moquin, Matthew (Amy Quinn) Diehl, and Andrew (Michelle) Diehl; eight great-grandchildren, two great-great grandchildren, four nieces and a nephew.

The ability to use his mind to find solutions to problems mattered deeply to Stanley. Although this gift, and much more, was taken from him by Alzheimer’s during the last 16 years of his life, he kept his charm and was enjoyed by the many people who cared for him. The family is grateful for excellent care to the wonderful staff of NewBridge on the Charles in Dedham, Hebrew Senior Life Hospice, Brooke P. Martindale and Always Here Home Care in Boston, Emily Saltz, Anna Pollard, Harlee Nason and Life Care Associates in Newton, extraordinary caregivers Phoebe, Jackie, Arthur and Martha, and for 12 years of outstanding nursing support from Katelyn McNeil of Hotel and Home Recovery in Needham.