ST. LOUIS - Charlee Soffer, a former St. Louis resident locally known as the “St. Louis Superman,” is embarking on a new journey halfway across the country as he and his wife Colleen begin their lives together after spending years in a long-distance relationship. They are asking the public for donations to their GoFundMe fundraiser to help cover moving expenses as they start the next chapter of their story, which has so far included multiple Superman events, an emergency marriage over Zoom, and much more.

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Charlee’s career as St. Louis Superman began when he moved to the city after graduating from Jersey Community High School in 2005. He went to his first Superman Celebration in Metropolis the next year and became the sole pupil of Christopher Dennis, the “Hollywood Superman” who was well-known for impersonating the superhero on Hollywood Boulevard.

Charlee returned to the event every year, and on his sixth year going, he met Colleen. They started talking about the upcoming Smallville Superfest, and Charlee needed someone to go with him as the “Lana Lang” to his Clark Kent. They spent the weekend Charlee and Colleen on their first date at the Smallville Superfesttogether and attended the event as their first date.

“I finally worked up the nerve to ask her, because I found out her parents lived close, and she said yes - I thought that was great,” Charlee said. “The weekend itself was magical … everything just clicked and it really was a perfect weekend for two young kids to fall in love.”

One year later, in the exact same spot at the Smallville Superfest, Charlee asked Colleen to marry him. He said they felt a special connection to the Smallville community and
were met with lots of support.

“The people [there] were welcoming and kind, and just the fact we were able to bond over something that we love, not only were we happy, but our friends and our families were all happy for us,” he said. “It didn’t take long for me to know that one year was enough - I wanted to marry this woman.”

Colleen lives in the D.C. area near Chesapeake Bay, but would occasionally visit the midwest because she has family in Chicago, which is how she ended up meeting Charlee at the 2012 Superman Celebration. The two maintained a long-distance relationship starting that year, spending only six or seven “big visits” out of the year with each other and spending lots of time on the phone and through video calls.

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On May 23, 2020, Charlee got a call from Colleen that would change their relationship, and their lives, forever. Her father Gary was dying from an infection and also had COVID, and her family was preparing to say their goodbyes to him. Charlee remembered promising Gary that he’d be able to see his daughter get married, and worked quickly with the help of some friends to set up a Zoom call to get married right then so that he could live to see it. They ultimately succeeded, but Gary passed away two days later.

“I was never expecting to keep that promise to him in that way. That was honestly the most bittersweet phone call of my life, because not only was her heart melting, but I had to find a way to put it back together and keep mine from doing the same,” Charlee said. “When I made that promise to him, I knew that was the only way to do it. It broke my heart that it had to go a certain way, but I always have faith … everything happens for a reason.”

“Reacting from this emergency marriage, I’m just trying to salvage the love that I promised his family that I would give to this woman,” he continued. “I am trying to start a life with her and just make everyone proud - all of my friends in Jerseyville, my friends in Madison County and the St. Louis area, and my family - there’s a lot of people that are relying on me to start my own family and finally make a life for myself. I just want to do that.”

With lots of help from his St. Louis-area friends, Charlee was finally able to move to Maryland to be with Colleen a few days ago. However, the two are still facing financial hardship between debt, car expenses, and more, in addition to grieving from several losses they experienced during the pandemic.

“We are still trying to keep up with our funding and our debts … I’m also trying to pay off my car and finish car repairs. Secondly to that, we have spent a lot of money on travel from seeing each other,” he said. “The pandemic was very, very rough and it was not kind to us, so we are still trying to recover from not only the emotional stress and what has dampened us, but we are trying to recover from the financial stress and how everything has hit us so hard.”

Visit this link to donate to Charlee and Colleen’s GoFundMe Fundraiser. Charlee signed off with this goodbye message to the St. Louis area:

“To my friends and family in the Metro St. Louis area, these past few years - and my whole life in your city, my hometown - has been nothing short of miraculous, but it is time for me to move on. I promise all of you that even though I took my heart and soul with me when I left, I will always keep my spirit in St. Louis. I love you and I miss you, and I’m always around.”

Stay tuned to Charlee and Colleen’s GoFundMe page for updates about their journey as it continues.

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