Charles Eugene Gagnon was born on February 24, 1934, to Eugene and Inez Gagnon in Minneapolis, MN. From an early age, Chuck expressed a love for art, often drawing and carving soap, wood, clay, and even potatoes. When he wasn't experimenting with art, Chuck competitively played golf, baseball, and speed skated. After Chuck reached high school age, the Gagnon family strictly kept their tradition that all their boys go to De La Salle High School. Chuck created his own job - diving into golf course ponds to retrieve golf balls - to help pay for his education. After graduating high school in 1952, Chuck joined the Navy and later earned his Master’s (1960) degree from the University of Minnesota. In 1957 through 1958, he was one of ten US students chosen to teach in military-dependent schools in Germany.