After a long career of leadership in the natural gas industry and service to the community, Charles Edward Zeigler Sr. passed away Tuesday.
Family members said Zeigler, 87, chief executive officer of PSNC Energy from 1973 to 1991, dedicated his life to helping those in need.
Zeigler was born Sept. 28, 1925, in Bogota, N.J. His family later moved to Charlotte, where he graduated from Charlotte Central High School. After a year at N.C. State University, Zeigler joined the Army, serving in World War II and the Korean War.
Zeigler married his wife, Virginia, at the age 20, and they had three children: Charles Zeigler Jr., Virginia Zeigler and Nancy Ruane.
Zeigler worked in the marketing side of his father’s natural gas company, the Public Service Co. of North Carolina Inc., helping guide customer growth to triple the national average.
Zeigler took over as CEO in 1973 and helped extend natural gas service across the state. Annual revenues for PSNC exceeded $100 million for the first time in 1979 under Zeigler’s leadership. PSNC Energy provided natural gas to more than 60 percent of the existing homes and businesses in its territory.
Zeigler made community service a part of his life and work.
Ruane said Zeigler made sure that everyone in his company got involved in the 26 communities that it served. “If there was ever an identified need, he was all about being behind it,” Ruane said. “He really believed in North Carolina.”
Zeigler served on the national advisory board of the Salvation Army and worked in other community organizations including the Gastonia Chamber of Commerce, Gaston County Community Foundation and Gaston County YMCA. He also served as an elder and deacon for the First Presbyterian Church of Gastonia.
Though he did not graduate from college, Zeigler supported education, serving on boards at Belmont Abbey College, UNC Charlotte, Gaston College, Johnson C. Smith University and the N.C. State University Foundation.
His son, Charles Zeigler Jr., who served as CEO of PSNC Energy from 1991 until 2001, said Zeigler taught his company to make decisions based on good personal values.
Zeigler is remembered by former employees as a warm and generous man who “allowed you to do the job you were hired to do,” said Eric Boomhower, spokesman for Scana Corp, which bought PSNC Energy in 2001.
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