Cover photo for Charles Vance Solbrig's Obituary
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Charles Vance Solbrig

Charles (Charlie) Vance Solbrig, 88, of Ellwood City, PA passed away on March 5, 2017 at his home in Harrisburg, PA where he has been living with his wife, Rita Joyce Solbrig since becoming ill several years ago..

Born December 7th, 1928 in South Bend, IN, he was the son of Hardin Elsby and Maude Elizabeth Solbrig, and the brother of Betty (Solbrig) Spaid. He graduated from Washington Clay HS in South Bend, IN in 1946, then attended Indiana University in Bloomington, IN, where, in 1951, he earned a B.S. degree in Geology. In college he served in the Air Force reserves. After college, he worked for a short time before joining the U.S. Navy where he trained as a pilot. From 1952 to 1953, Charlie was stationed in Pensacola, FL. He honorably discharged from the Navy in 1959. He met his wife Rita Joyce Polasik in 1952 and they later married on June 6th, 1954 in Chicago, IL.

Over the years, Charlie worked in a variety of industries all over the United States primarily as an industrial chemist. He held positions at: The U.S. Geological Survey, Ford Motor Company, Petroleum Engineering Associates, Central Pharmaceutical Company, Marquette Cement Co., and upon moving to Ellwood City: Medusa Cement Co., Ellwood City School District, Remacor Metals, The U.S. Internal Revenue Service, and Century 21 Real Estate.

In his youth, Charlie enjoyed the outdoors, especially flying airplanes which he learned through his time in the Navy rekindling this passion by renewing his pilot’s license in his 70’s. He also enjoyed sailing, which he learned to love in his teens at summer camp, and competed in sailing regattas while living in WI. Music played a large role in his life. He was fond of listening to and playing music; he played coronet in his youth, and often relaxed by banging out tunes, ranging from Ragtime to Mozart, on his Steinway piano throughout his life. Other hobbies included, electronics/computers, investing, and photography. After retirement, Charlie spent time playing pickle ball and cards with the guys at the Ellwood City Area Family Center, and enjoyed lifetime learning by researching various topics at the Ellwood City Library.

Charles and Rita eventually settled down in Ellwood City in 1970 where all their three children attended Lincoln HS, and they lived until 2014. In addition to his wife Rita, Charles is survived by his sister Elizabeth Elsby Spaid and her husband Richard Spaid of Ann Arbor, MI, his children Camille Solbrig and her husband Michael Weiner of Guilford, CT, Carolyn Sinisi and her husband David Sinisi of Harrisburg, PA, Charles E. Solbrig and his wife Gail Monds of Ypsilanti, MI, and six his grandchildren, Evan, Samantha, Alan, David, Eliot, and Emily.

Funeral services will be held at the Marshall Funeral Home, 200 Fountain Ave. Ellwood City. Visiting hours will be on Thursday March 9th from 4 pm to 6 pm, Friday March 10th from 2 pm to 4 pm and from 7 pm to 9 pm. The funeral will be on Saturday March 11th starting at 10 am at Marshalls funeral home with Rev. Tod Custer officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Ellwood City Library or the Ellwood City Area Family Center (311 College St.).  Online condolences may be sent to

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