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American Society of Safety Engineers Reflect On Recent Death of Past Society President Charles Dancer of South Carolina

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

DES PLAINES, IL — The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) is saddened by the loss of ASSE Past President Charles Robert “Bob” Dancer, P.E., CSP, of Hilton Head Island, SC, who dedicated his life to occupational safety and health. Even after retiring with 40 years in the occupational safety, health and environmental business he remained an active and dedicated member of ASSE.

Dancer, 74, passed away at his home on January 4 after an extended illness.

“Charles Dancer was a mentor to many young safety professionals over the years,” ASSE President Warren K. Brown, CSP, ARM, CSHM, said. “We are very sad to lose Charles who gave so much of his time to the Society and to help others. His efforts to help others will always be remembered. He will be greatly missed.”

Dancer, an emeritus professional member of ASSE since 1969, was an active member of both the ASSE New Jersey and Savannah Chapters. While a part of the New Jersey Chapter he served as chapter vice-president, president-elect and president. At the Society level, Dancer served as regional vice president 1978-1980, ASSE vice-president of finance 1981-1982, and ASSE president in 1987-1988; serving on the ASSE Board of Directors for 12 years. He was also the second person in ASSE history to be awarded the Edgar Monsanto Queeny Safety Professional of the Year award in 1981. He also received the highest ASSE honor by becoming an ASSE Fellow in 1987.

“After serving as president at ASSE, Charlie became a director on the Board of Certified Safety Professionals where he served for six years,” said ASSE Past President, 1986-1987, William T. Nebraska, P.E., CSP. “There he spearheaded the revamping of their financial practices and played a key role in developing the Continuance of Certification Program, which still exists today.”

During his years in safety Dancer served in the US Army reserves artillery division, retiring as a highly decorated Colonel after 29 years of service. From 1973 until his retirement in 1998, he worked for the Allied Corporation (now Honeywell) in Morristown, NJ, where he rose to the position of senior vice president. Prior to his career with Allied, Dancer began his safety career with the Glidden Company and later held safety positions with Tenneco Chemical and M & T Chemical in New Jersey. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial technology from University of New Jersey at Trenton.

“He encouraged many safety practitioners in his company to become Certified Safety Professionals, CSPs, noting the incentives that come with the designation, such as higher salary positions, bonuses and promotions,” said Nebraska. “He also encouraged employees to join ASSE and become active. One of his employees later became a Society President, Jerry Ray.”

According to ASSE Past President, 1997-1998, Jerry P. Ray, CSP, “When Dancer became a safety director; his company was experiencing high injury rates, including fatalities. He reorganized the safety and health department and reduced the injury rate 30 percent the first year and the company never experienced another fatality while he was the director.

“Charlie's mentoring skills were very subtle and low key,” Ray added. “To his employees and associates in the profession he would provide guidance without being obvious and over bearing. He was regarded as a teacher.”

“He stood out because of his unquestioned dedication to the profession and ASSE,” said Nebraska. “Over 25 years of active service at the chapter and society level reveals the person of commitment and dedication.”

On a personal note, Nebraska also noted, “During most of his life he was an avid runner, completing five miles on most days. After Charlie retired he developed a keen interest in golf, never mastering it, but achieving the dream most golfers have, that elusive hole-in-one. However, his ultimate passion was gardening. Wherever he lived, Charlie was the friend or neighbor to turn to if you needed ‘green thumb’ advice. He was second to none.”

A memorial service was held on Thursday, January 8, 2009, at St. Francis By-The-Sea Catholic Church in Hilton Head Island, SC.

Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the largest and oldest professional safety organization and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its more than 32,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members lead, manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor, health care and education. For more information please go to

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