Charles Gilbert Wolfenden was a prominent politician and businessman in Indiana County in the mid-20th century.
A veteran of World War I, Wolfenden enlisted in the field artillery of the 37th Division in 1917 and was discharged an adjutant at the end of the war. He went on to earn two degrees from the University of Pittsburgh.
He began work for the George T. Buchanan Co. in 1920 for his father-in-law and 12 years later became CEO of the company, a position he would hold for 32 years. He served as president and chairman of the board for the Savings & Trust Company of Pennsylvania, where he was a member of the board from 1931 to 1974. He was also president of the former FairView Supermarket in Indiana.
Until 1965 Wolfenden was president of the board of directors of Indiana Hospital, serving on the board for more than 35 years. He also served as president of S&T Bank from 1968 to 1972 and as chairman of the board at S&T between 1972 and 1976.
Wolfenden also maintained a political career while still excelling in business. He was elected to the state Senate and served from 1936 to 1940, a lifelong Republican and protégé of Pennsylvania Gov. John Fischer.
He was one of the originators of the Indiana Community Chest, which was the precursor of the United Way. He was also the first chairman of the Industrial Development Committee of the chamber of commerce and was voted the Chamber’s Man of the Year and was the recipient of the Indiana Junior Chamber of Commerce’s Distinguished Service Award in 1951, 1954 and 1966, respectively. He was also a member of the White Township Municipal Authority.
His organizational memberships included Ingleside, Ben Franklin F.& A.M. Royal Arch Chapter, Coudersport Consistory, Jaffa Temple Shrine, American Legion, Kiwanis Club of Indiana (where he served as president), Indiana County Grange, United Commercial Travelers, Indiana Country Club, Presbyterian Men, and Republican Men.
Wolfenden was a member of Calvary Presbyterian Church of Indiana for more than 55 years, serving as an elder and on many church boards and in administrative capacities. He and wife Edith Buchanan were married for 68 years and had three sons, Gilbert, George and Richard, all of whom worked in the family business. Wolfenden passed away on July 24, 1988, at age 94 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.