Charles Albert Wunder, a lifelong Baltimorean and avid supporter of the city's arts institutions, died Dec. 20 of complications from metastatic melanoma at Gilchrist Hospice in Towson. The retired life-insurance salesman was 77.
Mr. Wunder was born in Baltimore and grew up in a West Baltimore rowhome on Grantley Street with his family, which included two sisters.
As a teen, he hitchhiked across town to attend Loyola Blakefield High School in Towson, and was among the members of the first ROTC class to graduate from Loyola College in 1955. Upon graduating from Loyola College, he went on to serve as a first lieutenant in the Army from 1955 to 1957.
Mr. Wunder started working in life insurance in the mid-1960s and spent the next five decades in the business. In 1971, after watching one of his widowed sisters struggle to support three children on a limited income, he concentrated on selling low-cost life insurance. He considered the sale of low-cost, efficient life insurance protection among his most important contributions to the American family's financial security, his family said.
He started his own practice, Charles A. Wunder and Associates, which allowed him to take care of his family and support his many passions including traveling, politics, the symphony, and the arts.
Mr. Wunder's enthusiasm for the arts landed him a position as a governing member of the board for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He was also an avid supporter of the Walters Art Museum, which he considered one of Baltimore's crown jewels, his family said.
He also hosted an annual Ground Hog Day Music Party that was a favorite among friends and family who gathered to share songs and enjoy one another's musical talents.
Mr. Wunder's love for the arts also brought him romance later in life, when he married Shirley Apple Jenkins, a watercolorist, in 2007.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Jan. 8 at the Church of The Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St., Baltimore.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by three sons, Steven J. Wunder of Alexandria, Va., and Michael C. Wunder and David A. Wunder, both of Baltimore; two daughters, Susan E. Wunder of Baltimore and Jennifer A. Childress of Midlothian, Va.; two stepdaughters, Kristin Fan and Michele Guyton, both of Baltimore; a stepson, Scott Jenkins of Destin, Fla.; and 13 grandchildren. Two earlier marriages ended in divorce.