Charles William Thiele Sr.

November 25th, 1941July 17th, 2022

Charles “Chuck” William Thiele Sr., 80, passed away Sunday July 17th, 2022. He was born to John William Thiele (father) and Olive Gladys Greeneltch (mother) in Chicago, Illinois on November 25, 1941. 

Chuck is survived by his wife Nancy, his son Charles Jr. and his daughter Tracey. He was preceded in death by his son, Brian; brother, John; and his parents.

Loving husband, dedicated father, Plastics Pioneer, avid fly-fisherman, artist, storyteller, chef de cuisine, southside Chicagoan, inventor, wannabe-cowboy, coach, world-traveler, CEO, fun-loving friend, dance partner and mentor are just a few of the many ways Chuck will be remembered by friends, family and industry colleagues. 

After graduating from Morgan Park High School, Chuck joined the U.S. Air Force and was eventually stationed in Germany. There he connected with relatives who were involved with manufacturing pneumatic conveying and blending equipment for the plastics and chemicals industries. After his enlistment was complete, he stayed in Germany and joined Gebrüder Grün where he found his passion for the Plastics Industry. He brought his knowledge back to the U.S., and in 1973, joined Whitlock Inc. as a national sales manager. Soon after, Chuck and his wife Nancy started their own rep company. He then expanded his career from sales to inventing products and technology and starting Kenvey Systems, which manufactured  pneumatic conveying systems. 


In 1986, he was awarded his first of six U.S. patents, one of which was just granted in 2022. This first patent, the filterless vacuum receiver, later became known as the “Silver Bullet” and opened doors for him around the world. He eventually joined forces with German-based Motan Holdings, forging a life-long partnership with its then CEO, Walter Kramer and starting the US division of Motan. His proudest career moments are those he built alongside the Motan team - developing new products, opening up new markets for the company and mentoring future industry leaders. After “retirement” Chuck continued to be exhilarated by ideas and inspiration and invented more products to solve problems and minimize wear in material conveying lines. He launched companies (Getecha and Vactec) and continued to consult with numerous organizations like Novatec, Conair, Piovan, Matsui and Ampacet. Chuck was a long-serving board member with Beckum America and he and Nancy were very active members of the Plastics Pioneers Association.   

His work allowed him to achieve his ultimate goal - to take care of his family and live life to the fullest. In partnership with his wife Nancy, they put their kids through college, relished in family vacations near and far and created a loving, open home where friends young and old would enjoy a meal, a drink, a song, a story and perhaps a funny lookin’ hat (sometimes all five if you were lucky). Chuck’s passion to create manifested outside of work most often in the kitchen. He loved cooking — experimenting with new flavors, exotic ingredients and sharing that love of food with friends and family. His curiosity began when spending time with his father and grandfather, Charles “Carl” William Thiele, at Thiele & Thiele Butcher Shop learning how to carve different cuts of meat. The southside Chicago shop was in the Thiele family from 1895-1960.


An adventurer at heart, he forged many a river with fly rod in hand and friends by his side. The thrill of netting the illusive catch, the art of the precision cast and the rush of the water at his feet brought him great joy and peace. Perhaps second to that was the chance to mount a horse and ride into the Western skies and terrain with Nancy as well as exploring a  Caribbean beach or new corner of Europe together.


When Chuck’s son Brian passed, he and Nancy partnered with The Kalamazoo Community Foundation to start the Brian Thiele Memorial Scholarship. The fund awards scholarships to graduating seniors in the Kalamazoo area who exemplify Brian’s love of soccer and his characteristics that made him so special. Thirty-three deserving students have earned this honor over the years and 2022 marks the 25th anniversary of the fund. 


For those who would like to, the family is welcoming donations to the Brian Thiele Memorial Scholarship to continue to keep both Chuck and Brian’s spirit alive. More information here:  and you can donate here.  


Chuck’s family will host a celebration of life at Noon - 4 PM on Saturday, October 22, 2022 at O’Duffy’s, 804 W. Vine St., Kalamazoo, MI. All are invited to join to share a story, a song or simply raise a glass.