Charles I. Wabner M.D. - 83

8/26/1934 - 9/5/2017

Springfield, Illinois

Charles I. Wabner, 83, of Springfield died at 8:03 pm on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at OSF Saint Anthony Hospital in Rockford, IL.           

Charles was born on August 26, 1934 in Louisville, KY, the son of Morris and Rachel Wabner.  He married his junior high school sweetheart and love of his life Bonnie J. Cohen on December 26, 1957 in Louisville, KY.

Charles received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Lousiville in Kentucky and then Ohio State University and in the military.  He ventured to Springfield, IL and joined the Springfield Clinic in 1966.  He was the first physician in Springfield who had subspecialty training in the treatment of cancer.  He practiced oncology along with his other area of emphasis, hematology.  He continued his practice for over 40 years, the entire duration accompanied with the same 4 or 5 nurses. 

Charles worked closely with the Memorial Medical Center and was a key player in the development of the Oncology Unit.  He was chairman of the department of medicine, president of the medical staff, and he was the Medical Director of Memorial Medical Center.  He was the founding Medical Director of the Ethics Committee, and the founding Medical Director of Memorial Hospital Hospice Program.  Charles also contributed to medical students’ education with his expertise in teaching and “bedside manner” given to lucky students at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.  In 2014, Charles was honored by the Springfield Clinic Cancer Center for being a key figure and the “heart” of its existence.

An active member in the community, Charles was generous with his time and energy as a volunteer.  In 1971, he became one of the founding members of the board of the Central Illinois Community Blood Center.  He served as president of its board of directors from 1989-1997. 

He was an active supporter of the arts.  He enjoyed classical music and the symphony.  His love for dance helped found, along with his beloved wife, Bonnie, the Springfield Ballet Company in 1975.

Charles lived life to the fullest and enjoyed reading, history, traveling, and above all, his family! He was a quiet, reserved, and very selfless man.  His passion and mission was always giving back to people in any capacity.

He moved to Rockford, IL in late 2014 where he lived out the remainder of his life.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brother, Isadore, and his beloved wife, Bonnie.

He is survived by one son, Douglas (wife, Cindy) Wabner of Dallas, TX; one daughter, Andrea (husband, Mitchell) Busch of Rockford, IL and two granddaughters: Brittany and Devin Busch of Rockford, IL.

A celebration of Charles’ life will be held at a later date.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Memorial Home Services Hospice, 701 North 1st Street, Springfield, IL  62781  

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