Charles S. von Stade

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Charles Steele von Stade
Born November 24, 1919
Westbrook, South Africa
Died April 10, 1945
Cause of death Killed in Action, WWII
Resting place Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial,
Eijsden-Margraten, Netherlands
Residence New York & New Jersey, USA
Nationality American
Occupation Polo player
Spouse(s) Sara Worthington Clucas
Children Charles Steele von Stade jr.:Frederica von Stade
Parent(s) Francis Skiddy von Stade, Sr.
Kathryn Nevitt Steele

Charles Steele von Stade (1919–1945) was an American polo champion.


Personal life[edit]

Charles Steele von Stade was born in Westbrook (Westville), Kwazulu Natal, South Africa on November 24, 1919 to Francis Skiddy von Stade, Sr. (1884–1967) and Kathryn Nevitt Steele (1896–1981). He was raised in Saratoga Springs, New York, and trained as an architect.[1] He married Sara Worthington Clucas (1918–1983) in Gladstone, New Jersey on January 24, 1942.


In 1941, together with his John H. H. Phipps, Michael Grace Phipps and Alan L. Corey, Jr., he won the U.S. Open Polo Championship at the Meadow Brook Polo Club against the Westbury team (Gerald Dempsey, Earle Hopping, Stewart Iglehart and Windsor Holden White).[2]

Military service[edit]

Von Stade enlisted in the United States Army in March 1942, achieving rank of First Lieutenant.[1] While fighting to liberate Europe from the Nazi regime in the Second World War, he was killed in action in Germany on April 10, 1945 when his Jeep ran over a land mine.[3] He is buried at the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial in Eijsden-Margraten, Netherlands.[4]


During his time in service, Charles von Stade wrote several heart-felt letters to his wife, who was pregnant with their only child.[5] Their daughter, Frederica von Stade, was born after he was killed in World War II, and grew to become an internationally renowned opera singer.[3] She had long wished to turn some of the letters by her father into a song cycle. Eventually some of his words and expressions were fashioned into poems by Kim Vaeth and in 1997, Richard Danielpour completed composition of the music.[5] The resulting work, entitled Elegies, was a cycle of songs for mezzo-soprano, baritone, and chamber orchestra,[6] which was performed at Carnegie Hall.[3] According to Classics Today, "The five songs form a sort of a conversation across the gulf of time between father and daughter. The text alludes to their separation, longing for each other, and their eventual reconciliation on the spiritual plane."[5]

Elegies has been recorded by Sony Masterworks, with Frederica von Stade, Thomas Hampson, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Perspectives Ensemble conducted by Roger Nierenberg.[6]


  1. ^ a b National Archives and Records Administration. U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946. College Park, Maryland: National Archives at College Park. pp. ARC: 1263923. World War II Army Enlistment Records, Record Group 64, published at Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Horace A. Laffaye, Polo in the United States: A History, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2011, pp. 98
  3. ^ a b c Horace A. Laffaye, Polo in the United States: A History, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2011, p. 355
  4. ^ United States Army Quartermaster General’s Office. U.S. Rosters of World War II Dead, 1939-1945. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Army. pp. published at Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Carr Jr., Victor. "Danielpour’s Elegies". Classics Today. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  6. ^ a b R.D. "DANIELPOUR: Elegies (1997)". Classical CD Review. Retrieved 10 January 2014.