He died at his home in Johnson City, Tennessee, after a two-month illness.
Taber was born in Paris, France, of American parents, Floyd and Ada Taber, where he lived until he was nine years old. He then moved to the Central African Republic where his parents served as a missionary doctor and as a teacher.
He left Africa when he was 17 years old and moved to Allentown, PA, to finish the last two years of high school. Charles graduated from Bryan College and attended Grace Seminary before returning to the Central African Republic with his wife, Betty, to serve as a missionary from 1953-1961.
He pastored a church and was principal of the church school for two years in Winona Lake, Indiana, before moving to Hartford, CT, where he earned a Ph.D. in Linguistics and Anthropology at the Kennedy School of Missions.
Dr. Taber was then employed by the American Bible Society first as a researcher and then as a translations consultant in West Africa for five years. Charles co-wrote the translation textbook, TAPOT, with Dr. Eugene Nida that is still used today in the training of Bible translators. He edited a popular missions magazine, Practical Anthropology, and later another, The Gospel in Context. He has written several books and many articles on missions related topics.
Dr. Taber taught at Milligan College for four years, then at Emmanuel School of Religion for 18 years as the professor of World Mission. He has been retired for a decade. He continued to teach, write, and lecture internationally as health permitted.
Charles is survived by his wife of 56 years, Betty and five children, Christine Taber, Diana Abbott & her husband, Bob, Kathleen Moisan, Charles Taber & his wife, Sue, and Patricia Taber & her husband, Dan Brewer; seven grandchildren, Jared Abbott, Rebekah Abbott, Charles Abbott, Lukas Moisan, David Moisan, Jamie Taber, and Tony Taber; a sister, Lois Baker & her husband, Dwight; a brother, Allan Taber & his wife, Linda; a sister-in-law, Patricia Buck; a niece, Elaine Spearman; three nephews, Karl Baker, Douglas Baker, and Victor Spearman; and several nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a sister, Marguerite Spearman, and a nephew, Jonathan Spearman.
Charles was a member of Grandview Christian Church where he served for many years as an elder, Sunday school teacher, and on the Missions Team. His goal in life has always been to glorify his Lord, Jesus Christ. Betty & Charles took Psalms 48:14 as the verse in scripture they would live by: This God is our God, forever and forever. He will be our guide, even unto death.
A Celebration of Life Memorial service was held at Grandview Christian Church on October 29, with Mr. Aaron Wymer, Minister, officiating.
A blogpost tribute to Dr. Taber by one of his former students may be seen at http://aaronwymer.blogspot.com/2007/11/tribute-to-dr-charles-taber.html