Charlyne Warren

Mother, teacher, Southern gem

Charlyne Warren, a proud member of the Claremont community for almost 50 years, died on September 19, 2013 at home in her sleep. She was 81.

Mrs. Warren was born on December 14, 1931 in Mississippi to Mattie Dromgoole Higdon and W.A. Higdon. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina and a master’s degree in education from Cal State, Los Angeles.

“The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom,” said Henry Ward Beecher. “Mrs. Warren,” as many of her former students still call her, was the mother’s heart to many.  And she, herself, never lost her child’s heart. 

Beginning in 1967, Mrs. Warren was a longtime teacher in Claremont, retiring from Chaparral Elementary School in 1996 and continuing to substitute in the district through 2000. In 1991, she received a Los Angeles Music Center “Bravo Award” for her exemplary work with teaching arts education. But then again, she was often the recipient of a “Bravo Award” from her loved ones, especially during her last years of illness, family noted.  

Mrs. Warren, whose many nicknames included Char, Chuck and Chick as well as Champagne Charley, was a Southern belle, albeit on the saucy side. She loved telling jokes—even in the hospital coming out of anesthesia, she nailed the punch-lines. As to those jokes, many of them are unprintable.

Among other hobbies, Mrs. Warren was fond of singing, reading, dancing, crossword puzzles, walking her dog and exercise, especially running and other forms of working out. As often as possible, she would head to the local Laemmle’s theater to take in a movie or to the Candlelight Pavilion for a show.

Mrs. Warren was a former member of the P.E.O. Sisterhood of Pomona and a chorister of the Claremont Chorale. Indeed, a group from the chorale will be singing at her celebration of life next week.

Mrs. Warren will be greatly missed by her friends, former students and family, who said she was dynamic and vibrant, enthusiastic and generous, nurturing and warm—simply a gem of joy to all who knew her.

“Throughout, and during her earlier years in Vicksburg, Mississippi, South Carolina and Carlsbad, California with her former husband, Gene Warren, she made a difference—be it as a wife, a teacher, a colleague or a friend,” family shared, “and most certainly as a mom, ChaMa or surrogate Mum.”

Mrs. Warren was preceded in death by her 5 brothers and sisters and by her longtime companion, Arthur Linder. She is survived by her brother Paul, by her daughter and son Deborah and David and their spouses Phil and Cheryl, and by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

She is also survived by longtime supporters Alana Kelly and Don Moe, and by dear friends and family stretching from Mississippi, Utah and England to Texas, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Mrs. Warren’s daughter and son-in-law Debbie and Phil have taken their mom’s beloved dog Chancellor into their home, renaming him Chancellor Charley.

A life celebration for Charlyne Warren will be held on Saturday, October 12 between 2 and 4:30 p.m. Please contact David Warren through Facebook for details.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made in Charlyne Warren’s name to the Claremont Chorale, 310 N. Indian Hill Blvd, Suite 101, Claremont, CA 91711-4611 (online at


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