Chicago author and lawyer Charles J. Masters dead at 70

Author won an award for a book about former Illinois Gov. Henry Horner and wrote a World War II book that was a selection by two book clubs.

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Charles J. Masters authored of two books.

Charles J. Masters authored two books.

Thomas Frisbie/Sun-Times

When Chicago author and lawyer Charles J. Masters wrote a book, he didn’t allow anyone to have a peek at it until he was fully satisfied with the manuscript.

“It was important to him that the book was up to his standards before he would let anyone else see it,” said his son, Benjamin Masters. “He was his own worst critic.”

Mr. Masters, who died at age 70 on Jan. 25 of cancer, was an award-winning author who wrote “Glidermen of Neptune: The American D-Day Glider Attack,” which was a featured selection in both the Military Book Club and the Aviators’ Guild Book Club. He also wrote “Governor Henry Horner, Chicago Politics and the Great Depression,” which won an award in 2008 from the Illinois State Historical Society.

He also appeared on the History Channel’s World War II program “Silent Wing Warriors,” which was based on his D-Day book.

James Merriner, a former Sun-Times political editor and the author of five books about politics and history, said, “I worked with Chuck on his biography of Gov. Henry Horner. He was a real gentleman, a word not in vogue these days.”

Former Illinois Gov. James R. Thompson wrote in a blurb about the Horner book, “An exciting and intimate portrayal of one of the great governors of Illinois.”

Mr. Masters was born and raised in Chicago, graduating from James H. Bowen High School in 1967. He received his B.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago and J.D. from IIT-Chicago Kent College of Law. He provided pro bono representation for more than 10 years for the Menomonee Club for Boys and Girls, which provides services to a diverse group of children from over 100 schools.

“He was a voracious reader,” Benjamin Masters said. “He loved philosophy and read Marcus Aurelius’ ‘Meditations’ dozens of times, I have seen his copy. It was marked up every which way.”

Mr. Masters’ World War II book was partly inspired by his father, who flew a glider in the war, Benjamin Masters said. Mr. Masters also was a distant relative of Henry Horner and learned previously unpublished details about the former Illinois governor’s career from family stories, Benjamin Masters said.

“I always enjoyed speaking with him,” said author Craig Sautter, who was a fellow member with Mr. Masters of the Society of Midland Authors. “I read his fine book on Horner. And he was a good lawyer.”

Mr. Masters, whose law practice was devoted to property taxes, wrote numerous articles on commercial real estate matters. He was quoted at times in the news media and appeared on CNBC’s Nightly Business Report, and he was a speaker and lecturer at various legal forums in the United States and Canada.

He is also survived by his wife, Roselle Impe, and his sister, Susan Mastrofsky.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Sunday at Chicago Jewish Funerals, 8851 Skokie Blvd. (at Niles Center Road), Skokie. Interment will be private.

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