Remembering Chuck

Regular readers to this page have probably figured out that over the years, my small circle of friends has gotten smaller. A bit ago I learned that my friend Chuck passed away yesterday. 

Chuck loved the outdoors, loved to fish, i think he loved the peace and quiet of sitting in the boat, thinking through the events of life, visualizing the topography of the lake bottom, the weed cover, correlating it to the temperature, barometer, and wind to solve the puzzle of where the fish were and what could be done to entrance them onto the bait. He was a fisherman for as long as i knew him, organizing trips to the boundary waters, spending weekends on the Mississippi, and more recently at the lakeplace he and Judy had.

He had trailered his boat up to Dad’s lake one summer and Dad, Steve, Chuck and i had a great time. Chuck had pretty much every fishing lure made, in pretty much every color too, i remember every compartment in the boat was filled with tackle boxes, That day, the catching wasn’t good but the company was.

I first met Chuck at NDSU, he and Judy took us out in the big Chrysler from time to time. I remeber him talking about working on road building crews, and his interest even then in designing buildings for healthcare. Chuck practiced in Fargo for awhile, with MTL, later with Norm. I think Chuck taught Norm a few things about fishing, and learned about project administration. Steve and I worked for a competing firm, but Chuck’s quiet professionalism made it easy to sit out in Steves yard on summer evenings talking about woodworking, specifying, old cars and life in general. Every once in a while we’d make a comment that would earn a “michael, michael, michael” from him as he shook his head and then proceeded to set us straight with “you know, a guy should…”

Chuck and Judy had an older home in Fargo, in a neighborhood that had an alley. I remember driving down that alley saturday mornings, seeing the garage door open, which meant stop in and see the days project. Mark’s pickup would be there, Steve’s volvo too, and i’d find them talking over an especially perfect bit of oak, or cedar, and planning out the way to cut,sand and finish it just so….”you know a guy could…..” Would go back and forth until a solid plan was hatched, then we’d disburse and begin our saturday project. 

Chucks garage was the center of many projects, precut adirondack chair kits, a redwood strip canoe that Steve and i helped fiberglass, and Chucks house itself. I remember it was tall and needed paint, and unphased by the bigness of setting scaffolding, scraping, sanding, priming and painting the whole thing, he set about doing it. I spent a lot of time there that summer, trying to learn about not working all the time, painting his house with him taught me that, and other things “a guy could…”

Chuck and Judy had Brian soon after and moved to a job with the Mayo, where Chucks patience and expertise with detail and follow through helped establish him with some pretty demanding personalities. With Judy, they made a family he is tremendously proud of and must miss him terribly.

We spoke about a month ago, i had hoped to bring the one who holds my heart north to see their lake place, spend a little boat time together and learn a few more things about the way a guy could fix or make something.  

He taught me lots, was generous in his Knowledge of architecture and construction, and was a quiet expert in any room full of experts. I miss him already.

I think a guy should remember Chuck, especially when fishing, making things with wood, or sitting next to the grill on a balmy weekend, and in those times when a loud voice would be a normal reaction, step back and hear his humility.

Please keep his family in your thoughts, in these coming months.

Be good to each other, call that old friend today and have a chat, a guy just doesn’t have too many friends.

One Response to “Remembering Chuck”

  1. Rick Konecki says:

    I did not know Chuck as well nor did I spend as much time with him as you did, but this tribute makes me wish I had. Sorry for your loss, Mike and I will keep all who loved him in my prayers.

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