Charles “Chuck” Joseph Rintalan was a kind man whose Christian faith was extremely important to him. Homeless for around 40 years of his life, he could often be found driving a VW bus that his older sister Ann Kieran says was akin to an “art object.”
Rintalan passed away June 2, at the age of 62, from a tumor wrapped around a pulmonary artery. He spent his final days living in the home of his sister, who brought him in during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rintalan was born March 11, 1959, in Van Nuys, California, to John Rintalan and Angeline Tulumello. In 1968, the family moved to Eugene. Kieran says Charles Rintalan loved to spend time outdoors, especially in the McKenzie River area.
Rintalan’s father passed away when Rintalan was a teenager, shortly after divorcing his mother. Rintalan struggled with bipolar disorder, and during this time, Kieran says, he “became kind of lost.” Ultimately, his untreated mental health problems resulted in a majority of his lifetime being spent homeless.
While he was unsheltered, Rintalan spent many years living out of the VW bus, which over time accumulated objects he felt shouldn’t go to waste. For about 15 years he found companionship in a golden retriever mix named Boo, whom he loved dearly. Boo passed away about four years ago.
Rintalan had many passions that included carpentry, furniture-making and working on bicycles. He was employed in jobs that involved food packing, lawn mower repair, metal recycling and gardening.
“He used to always volunteer to help people,” Kieran says. “He liked gardening, so he would help people with their gardens and things like that. He was a very kindhearted person.”
Rintalan is survived by his brothers, Alan, Patrick and Douglas Rintalan, and his sisters, Catherine Rintalan and Ann Kieran.
Rintalan moved into Kieran’s home at the end of his life. He was dealing with serious health issues, and when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Kieran wanted to keep him off of the street to reduce his risk of exposure. It was in her house that he passed away.
“He got to eat good meals, and sleep under a nice comforter. Especially during the pandemic, being able to play games and cards and puzzles and watch TV, and all that stuff that you and I might do all the time,” Kieran says. “It was just a really nice time. Great memories that I got to have with him before his death.”
Kieran says she feels “very fortunate” to have been able to provide a home for him during his final days.
Eugene Weekly seeks to run an obituary for every person who dies homeless in Lane County in 2021. This is the 10th we’ve published so far. If you know of someone who has died here while homeless this year, please let us know at Editor@EugeneWeekly.com.