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Charles Lewis Dickens, 79, originally from Roanoke Rapids but who lived many years in Portsmouth, Virginia, passed away Thursday, December 22 at Rich Square Villa. 

Mr. Dickens was the son of the late Lucille Rook and Thomas Howard Dickens, and a widower, having lost his wife Linda. 

Charles graduated from Roanoke Rapids High School and studied business at Chowan College. He was active in First United Methodist Church in Roanoke Rapids and had 13 years of perfect attendance as a child and teen.

He last attended Rheasville Baptist Church in Rheasville before he became too disabled to go. Charles retired from the railroad as yard master and went on to own his own pawn shop. 

His love of cars led him to be a member of the Stray Cats Car Club locally and to lead the BMW Car Club in Tidewater, Virginia. 

He led several group tours to Germany to visit the BMW manufacturing facility. 

He was a drag strip race car driver. 

He was an informal technical advisor for racing teams on techniques for improving the performance of their cars based on his extensive technical reading on the topic. 

His pride and joy was a 1963 Plymouth Valiant restored to above mint condition. 

He was a cat whisperer, with deep appreciation for and love reciprocated by his cats. 

His verbal skills were legendary, and he was a keen observer of southern life. 

Survivors include two sons: Thomas Dickens and partner Kristen, and Christopher Dickens and his partner Nicole, his two grandchildren, Claire and Finley and his sister, Angie Merritt. 

A memorial service will be planned at a later date.