Charles Christopher Rael, 50, U.S. Navy retired Chief Petty Officer (E7), passed into eternal life Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, in Pueblo, Colo. Born Oct. 29, 1962, in Pueblo, Colorado, to Martha and Seferino Rael Jr. Survived by his parents; sisters, Sylvia Rael and Anita Rael McGann; brother-in-law, Daniel John McGann; niece, Maria McGann; and nephew, Grant McGann. He will be dearly missed by his many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends who were very special to him. He served 22 years, five months, 21 days from Feb. 9, 1987, to July 31, 2009. Missions included: Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Deep Freeze. Awards included: Meritorious Service Medal (OLC2), Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal (OLC5), Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation (OLC2), Meritorious Unit Commendation, Navy 'E' Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal (OLC6), Fleet Marine Fort Service (OLC2), National Defense Service Medal (OLC2), Antarctica Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (OLC3), Navy Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon, Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia), Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait), Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist, Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. Served on the USS Carl Vinson and USS Rushmore. Cremation, Montgomery & Steward Crematorium. Memorial Service, 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30, Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, 414 W. 11th St. Online condolences,

View current weather.

Memories Timeline

View the Timeline


  1. I was a co-worker of Chris’ during his time at Naval Hospital Sigonella in Sicily, Italy, and I considered him a good friend.

    The last time I saw him was in 2004, when he drove all the way from San Antonio to Houston just to attend my college graduation reception. I lost contact with him some time after that but looked for him extensively over the years to re-connect, including recently, only to find out today that he passed in 2013. My heart is very heavy today.

    I have so many great memories of Chris from our travels all over Europe and the Middle East; too many wonderful memories to recount all of them here, but I could tell he grew so much as a person through his experiences of his/our journeys throughout the world.

    He was a very good friend to me, providing great comfort to me during the time I was coping with the untimely death of a loved one while stationed overseas with him alone. The kindness and support he showed me during that difficult time is perhaps the most profound thing about him I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.

    I also remember how much he loved and was close to his parents and his sisters and spoke often about them. He in particular admired his father Seferino and told many wonderful stories about him. I hope his family knows just how much of a heart he had for them and how it showed oceans away.

    In life, there are people who make a mark on you through the force of their spirit and never leave you the same. Chris was one of those people, as the many other tributes here attest to. I deeply regret his passing and not being able to see him one more, but I trust God’s will and His plan and hope to see my friend soon in the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Eternal rest, and may God comfort those who love and miss Chris and grant them the peace that surpasses all understanding.

    With Love,
    Bereket (“Biz”)

  2. I’m so sorry to hear about Chris passing away. He was a great PT and friend in NAS Sigonella. As part of the Ortho team we interacted every day and it was always fun…we joked around quite a bit and had a lot of good laughs often at each others expense. He did embody the Navy Core Values of Honor, Courage and Commitment.
    It was an honor to serve with him and call him a friend.
    See you on the other side my friend.

    CDR Jeff Johnson

  3. Uncle Chris, I wish I could have had an opportunity to hang out again. I really gonna miss you. I got the news when i got back from my mission here in AFG, and I’ll tell you what, it was pretty hard to take that in. I know my dad had a Rough time too and really misses you too.. But Who knew we’d all be in each others lives this long? For me, you’ve been my uncle since kindergarten in ’89, and my dads brother for even longer.. Hey, my dad gave me your rosary to take with me. Thank you for that. You’ll always be in our prayers. Well uncle Chris, as you know, the best thing about a military family is that we can pick up right where we left off, no matter how long we’ve been apart… So when the time comes, you, me and my dad will pick it right back up where we left off and hang out like old times. Even if it is 50 or 60 years from now. I love you tio.

    To the Rael family, Uncle Chris is a true blessing. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    -Ruben James

  4. Dear Mr. and Mrs. Rael, Sylvia and Anita,

    I’m very sorry for your loss. I’ll always remember Charlie as full of fun and life back in the old Pride City days. Your son and brother was such a role model for so many of us at that young age. Please accept our family’s deepest condolences.

  5. Rael Family:

    I’m sorry for your loss. I recently had the pleasure of having Charles as a student. I want to you to know how important he was in the classroom beyond the average capacity of student. He modeled respect, thoughtfulness, and integrity for the mostly college-age students in the room. He was an effortless instructor. I was grateful to know him, even for a short time.

  6. Dear Mr. and Mrs. Rael, Anita, Sylvia and Family:
    I am so very sorry for your loss. Charlie was a good guy and you all are a wonderful family of very nice people. I am glad I was able to come to the funeral and sorry I needed to leave so soon afterward. Your grandchildren did their Uncle Charlie proud with their command and presence. Seeing Anita and Sylvia, even briefly, brought joy, despite my sorrow of not seeing Charlie. He looked very regal in his photo. Please know you are all in my prayers in the days ahead. The days on Ruppel at once seem so long ago, and yet, still a clear, joyful picture in my mind’s eye.

  7. We are very sorry for your loss, our prayer are with your family and we pray that the Lord will give you comfort in these sad time, with Love..

  8. I served with Charles on the Carl Vinson and I am proud to call this man a friend. My heart goes out to his family and friends. Charles was a man with a seemingly endless amount of energy and a positive attitude. Those qualities go a long way in shipboard life. Tears are swelling up as I can only imagine the loss you must be feeling. Charles has left behind a little bit of himself in each of those he served with and he will be missed. It is men like him that make me proud to put on my uniform every day. It is men like him that have kept morale up in dire times and who’s motivation has served as inspiration to many. It is men like Charles that have kept this country strong. You will be missed brother.
    A Sailor

  9. Dear Rael Family and Friends ~

    I would like to extend my most sincere condolences, and prayers for your strength and grace as you face the days ahead. I was blessed to work side by side with “Chief” while we were stationed together in San Antonio. He was an absolute JOY to work with. Always so passionate about raising the next generation of Sailor and committed to leaving the Navy and the people whose lives he touched better than he found us. Compassionate, firm, fair, and a fantastic leader, teacher and friend. We worked hard together, but he always found time to laugh and find joy in everything. One of the things I will always treasure were the times that he talked about family and how important you were to him. He loved sharing stories from the family pilgrimages. He was such a special person. From the bottom of my heart ~ Thank you for sharing him with us. I know he is safe in the arms of our Lord and together they will watch over us.

    Peace be with you ~

  10. Dear Rael Family,

    I am so deeply sorry for your loss.
    Loosing a son and brother is never easy, it will be a great loss to you all. The void of loosing someone close and dear to your heart will never be filled you only seem to adapt to the loss.
    May God give you comfort in the memories that you will share with one another and peace knowing that your loved one will always be in our hearts for ever.
    Your son and brother will always be with you watching out for you helping you along life’s highway.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  11. Dear Rael Family,

    My deepest condolences on the loss of your son and brother. I met Chris way back in 1998 while working at the hospital in Sigonella, Italy. We instantly became friends and he would later become my workout encourager. Chris was a wonderful person who always smiled and had lots of great things to say about people and all the places he had visited. I feel extremely blessed to have met and worked with such a wonderful man. May God be with your family during this very sad time giving strength and understanding. Rest in Peace My Friend. Joyce Mitchem

  12. Dear Mr. and Mrs Rael,
    I knew Charlie from the old Pride City days. Charlie was a great leader and mentor even back then. Although I only knew him briefly, the impact he had on my time in Pride City and my life since has been more than I can explain.

    My condolences to you both, and to Anita and Sylvia,
    God bless you all,
    Mike Bernal

  13. Dear Rael Family-

    I first met Chris when he transferred to Naval Medical Center San Diego from Camp Pendleton as a new PT Tech. I believe he had encountered some trouble at Pendleton and when he came to San Diego he had a “cloud” over his head. Well, Chris came out from under that cloud and became a wonderful PT Tech and was a joy to work with. I followed his career and watched him advance into a caring professional and an inspired leader. Along the way he always had a terrific sense of humor. I hope that these good memories of Chris help you find some comfort during this sad time.
    Patti Ireland, CAPT, USN (ret)

  14. Dear Mr and Mrs Rael,
    Chris and I were on the USS Carl Vinson together. He was a true professional and great guy. He was well-mannered and well-liked. I remember going to the gym with him once and witnessed his routine and was amazed at his stamina and boxing ability. My first thought was I how well rounded he was physically and mentallly. I’m glad I had the honor of knowing him. Our deepest condolences from the Ruiz famly. Vaya con Dios amigo!!!
    Jim Ruiz, HMC (ret)

  15. To the Rael Family we would like to extend our deepest sympathies for the loss of your son and brother, Chris.

    We had the privilege of meeting Rael (as he was known to all in the community) while stationed in Sigonella Sicily in the late 90’s. He was both friend and caregiver to us and our twin daughters. Chris had a special way of making you laugh while working through the pain of therapy. He would break out in song, with an infectious grin on his face or tell stories of his travels and his family back home; his love of life, his family, and humanity came through in all that he did. He was a great role model for the kids, always at the sidelines of football games to lend a hand to the injured or to give an encouraging talk and he kept in touch
    for many years after we left Sicily.

    We will remember Chris kindly and always with a smile for we are better people today for having known him. May your transition be easy and your rest be peaceful Rael for you are blessed for having given so much to so many while you were here and we are blessed to have known you.

    With our Sincerest Condolences,

    Lois and Leo Morin, USN (Ret)

  16. Dear Mr and Mrs Rael,

    I was lucky enough to have your son in my Genetics class as well as his first academic advisor. He was extremely bright, personable, and easy for a laugh. He always addressed me as sir and I would respond that really I should be addressing him as sir since he earned it with all of his years of service. He was always quick with a smile when passing in the halls or walkways at school. Last I saw him was last semester in front of the Psych building and had a few minutes to chat. I’m saddened that I will not see his smile and his quick wit in my classes in the future. Just wanted to let you know that he has made an impact on me. I’m saddened by his loss but thankful that I was able to know him during his time with us at CSU Pueblo. All the best in this time of difficulty but know your son was a very special individual.

    Daniel Caprioglio, Ph.D.
    Biology CSU Pueblo

  17. Dear Mr. and Mrs. Rael,

    I am very sorry to hear of your loss. Chief was a great leader and an incredible person. We shared an office for several months during our time at Fort Sam Houston; Chief was full of energy and always did the right thing for our Sailors and Soldiers. He will be greatly missed by many of us.

    Joe Molloy, Colonel, U.S. Army

  18. My first memory of Chris was as I was entering the Inpatient Area at NMCSD to check into the Command. I heard a voice behind a partition singing the Song.. Mustang Sally at the top of his lungs……as I made my way around the Partiton I found it was Chris singing to his patient while he was helping a patient get throught the pain of bending his knee after a Total knee replacement. As the years passed and we became friends.. I learned that it was always in his heart to help others…It shined through in the life he lived. I am blessed to say that I knew him and Even more Blessed in this lifetime to have been his friend. Rest In Peace Brother.


  20. Dear Mr & Mrs Rael,
    Your loss is great. I had the pleasure of Charles’ company in my statistics class at CSU-Pueblo, several years ago (when you had the skunk invasion at your home). His compassion, generosity and good-humor were evident.
    With my deepest sympathy,
    Karen Lundberg

  21. Dear Martha, Sef, and Family,

    I am stunned and saddened to learn of your son’s passing. It seems like yesterday we met at Starbucks and I watched the three of you work a crossword puzzle. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to meet Charles. He was a gracious and handsome man.

    Grace and Blessings,
    Julie Falletta

  22. I hated hearing about this. Chris was one of my best friends for so long in the Navy. He and I spent many times together. He taught me so many things about my job and life. He was my friend and a mentor… and just my buddy. The world lost something by losing him.

    Just hearing this reminds me of how fragile life is.

    Go easy, Chris. You are missed.

  23. Dear Rael Family,
    My deepest condolences for your loss. A real great guy to have known and friend to have many years ago in high school.
    Paul Gomez
    Carlsbad, NM

  24. Dear Mr. Mrs Rael, Anita and Sylvia
    Some of the best times of my life were spent with Charlie. He taught me to never quit never give up. Rest in peace my brother, my friend. I will always remember all the good times we had when you were Chalie Tuna and I was Cid the Squid.

  25. Dear Rael Family;
    My deepest condolences. The time he and I tried to take a bike touring trip in the snow in Idaho, many years ago, turned out to be an excellent adventure I still think about often. He was like another brother. What a great guy.
    Pat Arnott

  26. To the family and special friends of Charlie Rael,

    Although I did not know Charlie as well as I would have wanted, I found him to be such a sincere and caring soul. He not only took his duties and responsibilities to his students seriously, but also shared his deep concern for others by volunteering his time to assist those in need, like the victims of Katrina. As a former member of the U.S. Army I found his dedication to duty, honor, and country inspirational!

    I know the loss of your son, brother and special friend has created an empty place in your heart, but I pray you will find comfort in the knowledge that our heavenly Father is caring for him now, as tenderly and lovingly as Charlie always cared for you.

    My deepest condolences,

    Barbara J. Walker, CSM (RET), U.S. Army

  27. Chief Rael,
    We met only briefly, but long enough to realize your qualities. I wish you “Fair Winds and Following Seas”.
    Very Respectfully,
    Rex Terry, AVCM, USNR-Ret

  28. Charlie,

    I will miss our steak dinner’s brother. I think it was your
    turn to pay;-)
    Fair winds and following seas. We all loved you man. See
    you in heaven.


  29. Mr. and Mrs Rael, Anita and Sylvia,
    My heart and prayers go out to all of you at the passing of Charlie. I pray that God grants you an abundance of His grace, strength and comfort to face the days ahead, knowing the Charlie is at peace in his eternal home. Charlie loved the Navy and his country, but there was nothing was more important to him than the love and family bonds within the Rael family. Words simply cannot capture the respect and admiration I have for Charlie. The 3 years we spent together in the Physical Therapist Specialty program were the best years of my career and cultivated a friendship that I will carry with me forever.

    God Bless you all!
    Mike Walker
    LTC, USA (Ret)

  30. Dear Mr and Ms Rael, Silvia, Anita: I had the privilege to have served with Charlie in the Navy and considered each other as friends and brothers. We worked together as instructors here at Fort Sam Houston, TX and he truly was a Chief’s Chief. His genuine care for our Sailor’s welfare was evident in his daily interactions. While many others used the hard-nose approach, Charlie used kindness and respect to accomplish the job that many of us could not. His unassuming demeanor and professionalism always brought in focus the important thing in life: God, Family and Country. I thank the lord for allowing me the privilege and the fortune to have shared the journey with such an amazing human being. May god give you the strength to accept his early departure from this life and the peace in your heart to celebrate his life and legacy on this earth.

    Jorge A. Franco
    HMC, USN (Ret)

  31. Dear Rael Family,

    I am at loss for words by the passing of Charlie Rael. His selfless leadership made everyone he’s ever met to become better sailors, leaders, and person. He will be greatly missed. I give you my prayers and most sincere condolences, and God Bless.

    HM2 Terry Gritts, Jr.

  32. HMC Rael was my instructor in PT school. He became a mentor, a motivator and an inspiration! His smile was contagious and I truly feel blessed to have known him. I am deeply saddened for your loss and I hope you find comfort in knowing all of the lives he has touched. My condolences to the Rael family! Danielle (Woodell) Strutton

  33. I had the pleasure of knowing Chief Petty Officer Rael in PT school and then in San Diego, CA, where we were stationed together. He was always uplifting and real to those who served around him. He helped me study hard and make HM2. I loved him dearly and offer my condolences to the family at this difficult time. I will continue to pray for you all.

  34. I’m so sorry for your loss. Our prayers are with you. I had the privilage of serving with Cris early on in our Navy career. We served together in San Diego, CA.. Cris was a good man and will be truly missed.

  35. Jr & Martha and Family,

    We are so heartbroken to hear about Charlie.
    Our memories of him will always be a person full of life.
    What a awesome person he was. He was a fighter.
    Charlie is now out of his pain, the pain he fought for so many years.

    Wishing you peace to bring comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your hearts.

    Chris and Pie Gallegos

  36. Dear Rael Family,

    I am deeply saddened by the passing of Charlie Rael. He was an inspiration to everyone that he met. He was a great man, and an outstanding Sailor. So many people in this world are better for knowing him. I will never forget him. My prayers and deepest condolences.

    HMC Randall Connolly

  37. Dear Rael Family,

    I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Charles. I knew Chief Rael as an instructor, mentor, and a leader. He provided invaluable guidance that has changed me as a person and a Sailor. I will cherish the things that he has given me forever. I wish you peace during your time of loss and send my deepest condolences.

    HM1 Shane Mitchell

  38. Dear Mr and Mrs Rael,
    I had the distinct honor and privilege of serving with your son at Naval Medical Center San Diego in the Physical Therapy Dept. I watched a young man grow and move up the ranks as a junior Petty Officer to a Chief Petty Officer. Your son was a true professional and very caring person who left the Navy a better place as the result of his tireless dedication to the people, patients and the country he served.
    I am saddened at your tremendous loss and humbled to have known such a wonderful person. I wish you God’s grace and perseverance through these difficult times.
    Very Respectfully,
    CDR Frank Pearson

  39. Chris, I can’t believe you are gone but I’m glad you are at peace now. You fought so hard but now you can rest. You will truly be missed and I am thankful that I had the honor of calling you friend. It feels that we just talked about how you were gonna come out for a visit. Time really does slip away to fast. Rest in Peace sweetie and I hope to see you again on the other side. To your family, I knew Chris in San Diego in the early 90’s. I had the pleasure of running into him here and there at different duty stations but eventually lost touch. Through another friend I was able to touch bases with him again when he was in Texas and we talked often. I was amazed upon hearing the struggles he had gone through with his health. He couldn’t wait to retire and go back home to CO. I just want you to know that Chris touched a lot of lives and I am a better person just for knowing him. He tried to act hard but I could always get a smile out of him. I am very sorry for your loss. Fair winds and following seas my friend!!

  40. Chris,
    My most heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to your family. And to you my old friend, rest easy on calm seas, you’ll be truly missed.

  41. You were a cool best friend to us and you will be missed!! Thanks for all the great memories and your friendship.
    Condolances to your family.

  42. I had the great honor of serving with Chris in Physical Therapy at Naval Medical Center San Diego. If ever there was a Sailor that embodied the Navy core values of Honor, Courage, and Committment, it was him. Fair winds and following seas Shipmate. Navy Chief, Navy pride! HMCS (SW/AW) Todd Curtis

  43. My heartfelt condolences go out to the family. I remember that he was very close to his parents and moved back to Colorado after he retired to help his father with the farm. I met Chris the very day he checked into NMC San Diego after graduating from PT school around 1992-1993. I remember him as a little crazy but also very sweet and charming. I Will miss him greatly!

  44. Worked with Chris in Sigonella every day for three years , we had a great time and a great team but i also remember patients used to say that we acted like an “old married couple” because we used to argue/joke a lot …. this always make me smile when i talk about that time and its one the many memories i have of that period..
    it was my pleasure to have met him and he will always be in my heart
    Rest in Peace my friend

Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle

Sign the Guestbook