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Charles B. Nairn

May 8, 1938 July 5, 2021
Charles B. Nairn
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Obituary for Charles B. Nairn

Charles B. Nairn, age 83, passed away on July 5, 2021. He was born May 8, 1938, in Detroit, Michigan, the oldest child of Charles and Clara Nairn. One of the often-told stories from his early childhood was his request to have his mother read Popular Mechanics to her precocious 2nd grader when he was not allowed to read because of having measles. He later went on to become an Eagle Scout and a National Merit Scholar finalist.

Charles attended Wayne State University where he studied Electrical Engineering and Economics. Additionally he was an active member of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and through InterVarsity he met his future wife, Sue. After completing his undergraduate degrees he entered a Master’s program in Economics at Wayne, but his studies were interrupted when, thanks to a clerical error at the draft board, he was drafted into the United States Army at the age of 24.

In December 1962, after completing boot camp, he married Sue von Steinen, and they moved to Atlanta, GA where he was stationed at Ft. McPherson working in Army intelligence for two years. After his honorable discharge from the Army, he returned to Detroit and worked at Henry Ford Hospital filming surgeries and other surgical procedures. Next, he worked at Wayne State as an Engineer at WDET and also in Wayne’s Communications Department. During this time he created programs for NPR and recorded several nationally renowned performers such as James Levine and Lynn Harrel, and was requested by Levine to be his engineer on multiple projects.

In 1972, with a loan from his father, he started Communication Technology, Inc. where he produced film sound tracks. ComTec was his primary employment until, with the general decline of the film industry, ComTec finally closed in 1993. In addition to audio, his other primary professional interest was photography. He was an award-winning photographer shooting national advertising campaigns for Chevrolet, A&W, Bank of America, Ski-doo, and numerous other companies with his good friend, art director, Tony Smith. He was the photographer for two significant photographic folk art books, one featuring canes and the other face jugs, both private collections of a friend. He also worked at Southfield Christian School and continued his audio work providing acoustical consultation for venues ranging from upscale home theaters to concert halls.

In 2005, he returned to the Communications department at Wayne State University as an adjunct faculty member teaching Audio Production, which brought him great joy until his retirement in 2016.

He was a longtime member of Ebenezer Baptist/Grace Community Church where he taught Sunday School and served as a deacon and elder. Later he moved to Cornerstone Church and taught Sunday School and was an elder as well. After he and Sue relocated to Novi in 2017, their new church home became Lakes Bible Church.

In addition to his professional pursuits, his non-academic life included a love of ice cream, sharing jokes and puns, all things Scottish, becoming a subject matter expert on a substantial variety of subjects ranging from adhesives to vacuum seals, getting together with his Audio Friends, and spending time with his family. His family takes great comfort that his faith in Jesus was central to his life, and while feeling the sadness of not seeing him now, they look forward to seeing him again in heaven.
He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Sue; His three children Ray (Heather) Nairn of Chesapeake, VA, Mary (Mark) Sinclair of Windsor, ON, and Catherine (Larry) Moore of Otsego, MI; 7 grandchildren; Kelly, Kyle, Josh, David, Olivia, Anna, and Kara. Also surviving are his sister Barb (Michael) Bogolea, and brother-in-law, Earle von Steinen.

A Memorial Service will be held on Friday, July 9th, 2021 at 1 pm at Lakes Bible Church, 309 Decker Rd, Walled Lake, MI.

Previous Events

Memorial Service




1:00 PM 7/9/2021 1:00:00 PM
Lakes Bible Church

309 Decker Rd
Walled Lake, MI 48390

Lakes Bible Church
309 Decker Rd Walled Lake 48390 MI
United States

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