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Charles B. Voorhis (1870-1961)


Charles Brown Voorhis was born in Olathe, Kansas on March 13, 1870 and married Ella Ward Smith in 1895. He played semi-professional baseball in his youth, and went on to become a highly successful salesman and executive for the Kingman Plow Company. He entered the automobile business as a sales manager, joining Oakland Motor Car Company of Pontiac, Charles B. Voorhis (1870-1961)Michigan in 1914 and rose to become vice-president. In 1917, when the Nash Motor Company was organized, he became its first sales manager, a post at which he was extremely successful. He voluntarily retired from the company in 1924, retaining a substantial financial interest in the company. He moved his residence to Pasadena, California in 1925.

Following his active retirement from business, Charles Voorhis made the welfare of others his primary concern, donating a total of more than three million dollars to religious, educational, and charitable institutions of many types. He was the founder of the first boys' club of southern California, the All Nations Club, in addition to being active in a number of civic and church groups. In 1928 he founded the Voorhis School for Boys at San Dimas, California, an institution for homeless boys which he endowed and served as chairman of the board. In most instances, he completely subsidized the boys' tuition. In 1938 the property was donated to the state of California for educational purposes and became the southern campus of California Polytechnic State College at San Luis Obispo. Mr. and Mrs. Voorhis, affectionately referred to as "Uncle Charlie and Aunt Nell" continued their interest in the students attending what came to be called the Voorhis Unit.

The Voorhis Unit became very popular and after World War II the student body quickly outgrew the San Dimas facilities. Charles Voorhis died at Pasadena, California on September 16, 1961.


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