Great teacher, tennis coach touched many young lives at Austin schools PDF Print E-mail

Charles “Chuck” Gabbard, a longtime teacher for Scott School District 1 as well as a heck of a tennis coach, died on Friday, January 23, at the age of 77 at the Hampton Oaks Health Campus in Scottsburg.


Many former Austin students recall Chuck because of his dual career in the classroom and on the court. He enjoyed teaching history, keeping at that career for 27 years, and he loved the competition of tennis, having helped many young athletes prepare for tough matches and represent their school with pride.

Gabbard was born March 19, 1937, in Connersville, the son of the late Charles Gabbard Sr. and Margaret Argent Gabbard. He graduated from that community’s high school in 1955. Enlisting in the U.S. Navy in 1958, he served through 1962 when he received a honorable discharge. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Memphis State University and got his master’s degree in education from Indiana University.

He and his wife, the former Shirley Ann Howard, were married on December 23, 1966, in Cullman, Al.

Gabbard taught history to hundreds of students during his time as an instructor. After retiring, he was elected to the board of school trustees for District 1, serving there from 1996 until 2004. In his retirement, he was very active in the Retired Teachers Association, and he served as a deacon at Austin Christian Church for many years.

To the last of his life, Gabbard was a reader and a die-hard fan of the television show “Jeopardy.”

Survivors besides his wife included two sons, Donald Clifton Wesson of Jeffersonville and Charles Richard Gabbard of Austin; four grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.

He was preceded in death by a son, James Matthew “Matt” Wesson.

A Celebration of Life gathering is planned from 4 to 8 p.m. at Austin Christian Church today (Wednesday). Staff of Adams Family Funeral Homes and Crematory is in charge of arrangements.

A graveside service will be conducted with Pastor David Huey officiating at Austin Cemetery on Thursday, January 29, at 11 a.m. Military rites will be performed by members of Crothersville Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1083.

Memorial gifts may be arranged with the staff of the funeral home to benefit Austin Christian Church. Online condolences may be expressed to the family by visiting