Charles Gustav Vahlkamp

Published 1:58 pm Thursday, March 28, 2024

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July 28, 1935 – March 23, 2024

DANVILLE, KY – Charles Gustav Vahlkamp died on March 23, 2024, at home in Danville, KY. He was born on July 28, 1935, in Paducah, KY to Alfred Edwin Emil Vahlkamp Sr. and Marie Lowry Vahlkamp.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Sarah McLaurin Vahlkamp; daughter, Jane Vahlkamp Andrus; son Charles Gustav “Gus” Vahlkamp Jr., and grandsons, Mark Robert Boswell (Lindsay Henges), Jonathan Charles Boswell, and Daniel Richard Andrus. He is also survived by nieces and nephew, Gretchen Vahlkamp Danly, Ingrid Vahlkamp Stassi, and Alfred Edwin Emil “Win” Vahlkamp, and their spouses and children; as well as first cousins, Charles Lowry and Sara Lowry Page and their families; sister-in-law, Mary McLaurin, sister-in-law, Merle Vahlkamp, and a host of other cousins and relatives.

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He was predeceased by his parents; brother, Alfred Edwin Emil Vahlkamp Jr., and brother-in-law, Michael Arnold.

Charles graduated from Tilghman High School in Paducah and played in the 1953 state championship basketball game. He was awarded a basketball scholarship to Western Kentucky University, but transferred to Vanderbilt University in 1954 and graduated in 1957 with a degree in business. In 1964, he and Sarah made their first trip to France as administrators of Vanderbilt in France, an education abroad program for college students. He earned his Ph.D. in French literature in 1970. In 1967, Charles started teaching at Centre College in Danville, KY, where he spent his entire academic career, and taught both French and film studies until he retired as the Hazelrigg Professor of Humanities in 2001. He introduced hundreds of students to the culture and history of France. In 2005, the film theatre in Centre’s Doherty Library was renamed the Charles G. Vahlkamp Theatre in his honor.

Charles was active in the Danville community and served as an Elder and a Deacon in The Presbyterian Church of Danville. He was a longtime member and past president of the Danville Rotary Club, was active in the Friends of the Boyle County Library, and ran a popular film series at the library for many years.

The family would like to thank Dr. Brian Ellis and the staff of Danville Family Physicians, Dr. Jeremy Tarter, Dr. Zain Guduru and the University of Kentucky Neurological Institute, the staff at Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center, and Heritage Hospice.

A Celebration of Life ceremony will be held on Thursday, April 4, 2024, at 11 a.m. at The Presbyterian Church of Danville. Visitation to follow in the Fellowship Hall at the church.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Charles’ memory can be made to: the Centre College Voltaire Fund, which provides scholarships for students to study in France (Centre Development and Alumni Office, 600 W. Walnut St., Danville, KY 40422, 859.238.5500,; Friends of the Boyle County Library (307 W. Broadway, Danville, KY 40422,; or the Deacon’s Aid Fund at The Presbyterian Church of Danville (500 West Main St., Danville, KY 40422,

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