Leadership Lessons from a Freedom Pioneer
CHARLES ISAAC CRECELIUS
March 10, 1921 – August 31, 2015
By Katherine A. Carroll, Associate Editor, NTP
The first time I saw him was October of 2011. A slight, yet commanding figure perched on the balcony scanning the street below; piercing blue eyes with hawk-like intensity searching…. Looking up from under the weight of the intense gaze, it was instantly apparent; this was the Charles Isaac Crecelius; the oldest living past National Health Federation President; the man who had succeeded founder Fred Hart in 1965. Charles was 90-years old when we first had the privilege of being on his schedule. And he still kept a busy schedule as President of the Rough and Ready Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Economic Resource Council. He led by example. This was the first of many lessons I would learn over the next four years from a veteran and a true pioneer in a budding health-freedom movement: Once an activist, always an activist. Once one’s foot was set upon a path of service, it would remain for life.
Never was there a more gallant, sincere, noble man driven to elevate and free humanity than Charles Crecelius. Charles was the touchstone, the fiber of which NHF was woven through trials by fire, a living history, an expert strategist, a trench-veteran. In his presence, the light of his passion ignited his eyes and the strong timbre of his voice inspired in me, a new NHF volunteer, much confidence and fed my passion for health freedom.
By a chance encounter through NHF President Scott Tips’ impeccable research and persuasive writing, I entered the ranks of health-freedom fighters. In an excellently written and compelling article on Ractopamine, a veterinary steroid in meat, my inner activist was unleashed. People were poisoned by meat labeled “all natural.” As it turned out, Scott Tips had personally waged war against this atrocity at Codex since 2009. Despite my graduation as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner in 2010, I had neither heard of Ractopamine nor Codex; this overt omission another atrocity from my perspective. In cumulative doses ingesting this doped meat potentially preceded symptoms mimicking panic and heart attack. Since veterinary drug residues do not show up on toxicology screens, healthcare practitioners treating affected patients would never know what they were treating. Ironically, racehorses incur disqualification if Ractopamine is detected in their bloodstream but humans could cumulate a powerful steroid-like drug despite a warning label that this vet drug was not for human consumption.
I was furious but grateful that NHF provided a platform to launch my own concerted effort to expose this outrageous violation of our health and health freedom. A sense of indebtedness and a deep respect for Scott’s front-line work in global policy-setting along with a fascination with the history of NHF’s now international health-freedom impact resulted. Little did I know that NHF had been consistently fighting behind the scenes for healthcare practitioners and business owners like me – nationally since 1955 before I was even born and internationally since 2009. Herein lies NHF’s uniqueness as no other health-freedom organization can even come close to making this claim that we consider fact and mission.
In a series of personal visits, phone calls, letters, and historical bulletins, Charles shared NHF’s genesis when Fred Hart was the President until 1965. Betty Lee Morales was an early founder of the Federation and in early 1960, Chiropractor Hugh Tuckie was the second founder. When Fred retired, Charles became President of NHF, serving 20 years in varying capacities. The seedbed of NHF channels the early founders of America like Jefferson who said to Dr. Benjamin Rush in 1800, “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” Fred Hart, when asked why he started NHF in 1955, held that he, “became deeply concerned with the loss of individual freedom in a country which guarantees it … loss of the right to choose the method of treatment for illness or disease, without government interference.”
President Tips, in the same vein today, leads NHF based upon libertarian principles of freedom of choice in a true free-market economy. These tenets are not guaranteed now in the “land of the free” as globalization, World Trade facilitation, managed (not free) trade, and harmonization crush our freedoms and threaten personal and national sovereignty. We are thrust backwards hundreds of years fighting for the freedom to control our own lives once again. The sovereignty of our nations are threatened by overarching trade agreements like TTP and CETA. Corporations such as Monsanto and Big Pharma invade the sacred territory of our bodies with poisons and chemicals to destroy the sanctity of the human terrain.
As I recently returned from a “Staff-Ride graduation tour” of the Yorktown and Petersburg battlefield sites in Virginia after receiving three years of leadership training with emphasis on military leaders and famous battles, it is clear that the war today NHF fights is for the last frontier,[i] the terrain of the human being; the soil not of a land in this war but of our gut and the impact the degradation of that soil has on our mind and body; the fight for the sovereign right to govern our own self.
Strategic leadership to carry out the policies of NHF with cogent tactics and operations with global impact will defend health and health freedom. We are in a siege with attacks on all fronts. Never in NHF’s history or even the history of mankind has the attempt to destroy our health been so stealthily advanced yet so overt. Who has studied the effects of vaccine and drug overload coupled with GMO-ridden “food” replete with additives, chemicals, contaminants and their un-researched interactions coalesced with nutrient depleted soils, increasing electromagnetic exposure, wearable tech, geoengineering, and trade agreements that strip away our sovereignty? The battle has changed, even during President Tips’ eight years of leadership.
Lessons of the past are enduring and so I asked Charles, “What triggered your passion for NHF?” We had been enjoying lunch on a crisp, Fall afternoon in Grass Valley. Charles pushed his now empty plate back – he always exhibited an excellent appetite – and leaning in with his elbows on the table said he’d accompanied Fred and his wife Dorothy Hart to a meeting where they were showing Laetrile films. The suppression of valid cancer therapies by the Food and Drug Administration as well as the fluoridation of water was the shot heard around the World for soon-to-be President Charles Crecelius.
Charles’ father Isaac had been an evangelist in Mifflin, Wisconsin when Charles was born March 10, 1921. Later, his mother Irma noted Charles came home from elementary school with straight A’s and was his high school’s valedictorian. Committed to education, he attended Platteville State; received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin Teachers College, and a Master’s Degree from the University of Southern California.
The International Ministerial Federation, Inc. ordained Charles in 1943 but he went into public-school education and Amway. Now a dedicated, passionate health-evangelist crusading for health freedom after service as an Army Air Corps sharp shooter during World War II, Charles had been based in Chabua, India from 1941-1945, receiving five medals. After this tour, Charles was an elementary-school teacher and later, Principal. He always occupied leadership roles. In the early years, Charles went to Australia a total of nine times, “I was going like a whirlwind. I noticed that during these trips to Australia the government tried to take supplements away in Australia and America too.”
Charles was entrenched on the front lines in a new health-freedom, weaponless warfare for the better part of 35 years. In James J. Schneider’s riveting book, T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt, the traits of great leaders are defined as “extraordinary energy, personal courage, profound curiosity, keen powers of observation, and an aptitude for novelty and innovation.” It was clear that both Charles Crecelius and Scott Tips were cut from the same mold as described Lawrence of Arabia and I imagined Fred Hart was too. In his 90s, Charles was still a powerful visionary, analytical, forceful, and exhibiting the strength and savvy necessary to lead. His insight and wise counsel freely shared with NHF proved it.
In the 1990s, Charles and his wife Jeanette moved to Penn Valley, California. He lost her in the 53rd year of their marriage. Charles then lost himself in NHF, humbly stating, “NHF is a unique organization, having maintained its purpose and intensity over the years since its founding. This would not be possible without the full support and cooperation of our members. Because of our members’ and supporters’ efforts through the years, we can look with pride on our accomplishments.”
Meeting Charles was the pinnacle of my initiation into NHF culture; unforgettable. And also interacting with powerful thought-leaders and NHF history-makers like Scott Tips who joined NHF in 1986 as a member, serving on the Board of Governors nearly continuously since 1989, and becoming President in 2007 after Maureen Salaman Kennedy’s death. The professionalism and longevity of the majority of the loyal NHF Board of Governors and Advisory Board still strikes me, reflecting strong pride, belief, and enduring commitment to holding our freedom in relevant and practical ways. In these mentoring hours with Charles, a rare privilege, my own commitment to NHF grew and knowledge of the history I would come to record as NHF historian among other duties. My loving respect for this gentle, powerful man of steel and integrity Charles Crecelius grew as well. The last time I saw him early in 2015, I quietly wept knowing instinctively I would never see him again on Earth. He died August 31st.
Health freedom is increasingly intricate and litigious. With trade agreements like TTP and CETA, activists are in danger of being labeled terrorists and jailed or worse. Today, we have what may be a lifetime campaign ahead of us with each of these assaults a war in its own right; far more complex and with higher personal casualties such as vaccine-damaged people than in Charles’ day when he focused on fluoride or laetrile singularly.
Whether for the right to choose, the right to clean food and water, the right to use nutritional supplements with therapeutic values; NHF fights largely alone on the global stage of political power with no other health-freedom organization by its side at Codex. Four years and many Codex meetings later, I am still stunned at the profound impact that NHF’s food activism has had on the seven billion individuals who benefit by these efforts. I am honored to participate dynamically as an NHF activist championing health and health freedom alongside other truly committed activists. The investments that Charles Crecelius made over the years bore much fruit. He effectively passed his mantle to President Tips and to other key NHF leaders and so his legacy continues.
The quintessential leader, Charles would undoubtedly concur,
Photo of Scott Tips sharing a moment with Charles
Photo credit: Katherine A. Carroll
Charles spoke several times of the inevitable persecution, familiar in the Christian faith he cherished, which accompanied those working in health freedom. King Henry VIII of England burned 300 at the stake each year for dissenting. Infiltration and “plants” work by these same principles through a process Charles called “trial by publicity,” working to destroy the lives and reputations of honest, sincere, and dedicated health-freedom champions.
Many NHF pioneers and contemporaries endure the same “trial by publicity” persecution and prosecution. NHF Board of Governors member Dr. Richard Kunin stresses the absolute need for NHF to protect practitioners. Attacked five times by the medical authorities as a healer, he has both defended and counter-attacked hard and won each time. President Tips, having succeeded in breaching global territory by his skilled introduction of NHF to the Codex process even before his tenure as President, has citizens of countries like South Africa petitioning for NHF’s help as they encounter challenges to continued herb and supplement use. NHF fills a unique and vital role in the World; more so with each passing day and the exponentially increasing threats to transnational health freedoms.
Charles told us he always opened the Board of Governors meetings with prayer as Fred Hart had done. A deeply religious man, the inner light never dimmed throughout his life. He spoke from his heart sharing that he never stressed; that was evident in his little-lined face. Many years ago he found himself in a property dispute requiring arbitration. That was the fulcrum. Thereafter, he gave up worrying. That decision very likely accounts for his successful longevity coupled with a largely vegetarian diet and nutritional supplementation.
Charles never had health insurance. Enjoying good health until nearly the end, he complained only of a few minor “aches and pains.” The last visit just months before he died, compelled by a mental picture of my father enjoying the last ice cream cone of his life in the shadow of Mt. Rainier, it seemed fitting to get a malt for dear Charles. For a man who had practiced extreme self-care much of his life, this slightly naughty departure was more than rewarded with the zeal with which he attacked that malt, and it was indeed his last.
Curious about the locations of the NHF offices, I asked Charles about them. He shared, “I moved to the San Francisco office two years after I became President. I stayed there two years before suggesting that NHF use my personal offices in Monrovia. We remodeled that building and it was ready to serve as the new headquarters. Back then, in the 1970s, NHF had about 25,000 members.” NHF was hosting successful conventions in Pasadena and Chicago during that time. Large facilities were secured to hold all of the members interested in health freedom.
Clinton Miller was NHF’s second lobbyist at that time and Charles described him as a ‘tenacious bulldog.’ When he latched on to an issue, the lobbyist never released his death grip. “If Clinton got a ‘no,’ he’d be back again the next day; the man simply wouldn’t give up or take no for an answer but I guess it paid off when Clinton won the fluoridation issue at that time,” Charles said.
I asked Charles if he had any words of advice for President Tips and without a moment’s hesitation he declared, “Scott is in control and is doing well.” Today the distinguished and loyal members of the NHF Board of Governors and NHF staff and volunteers carry on honoring Charles’ life of service and the pioneers before him. Hardworking, true activists, and eminent thought-leaders making history, President Tips and Board of Governors members such as Dr. Richard Kunin who founded the Orthomolecular Society with Linus Pauling, Dr. Murray Susser, Dr. Hans Kugler – all personally knew and worked alongside former NHF President Maureen Salaman Kennedy. Dr. Dan Kenner and then later GreenMedInfo founder Sayer Ji joined this renowned group to carry on the NHF legacy. Their illustrious names will ring throughout history as championing health and health freedom, laying down their lives on the path of service along with our faithful volunteers, staff, members, and supporters.
“It was our early founder’s belief that those who followed would dedicate themselves to the cause of health freedom as effectively as they had. They passed on to us a sacred trust, with no promise that the road would be easier. And for many it hasn’t been! Stand they did, and stand we must!” —Charles I. Crecelius
In 2011, I wrote that Charles Crecelius will be in the game as long as he has breath. And he was. If you’d have asked him over his 20-year term with NHF if it was hard, he surely would have said, “Don’t ask me if it’s hard. Ask me if it’s worth it in three to five years.” And so it was; and so it is.