McCarthy, Charles Francis

January 23, 1943 – October 30, 2020
at the age of 77 years

Charles Francis McCarthy, age 77, passed away peacefully on Friday, October 30, 2020 at Kamloops Seniors Village in Kamloops, British Columbia.  “Charlie,” as he was known, was a skillful forestry executive, amateur musician, and natural athlete. Throughout his varied life he was known for his love of song and sport, as well as his shrewd and analytical eye.

Born on January 23, 1943 in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, Charlie was the youngest of Bart and Frances (née Harrigan) McCarthy’s two children. At the age of three, the family moved from their cattle ranch near Piapot, SK to Salmon Arm, BC. Charlie had fond childhood memories of helping with chores at the family’s auto court (motel and cabins near McGuire Lake), mowing lawns for spending money, and playing several sports including baseball, hockey, lacrosse, water skiing, and basketball. A high school basketball knee injury slowly worsened over time, eventually restricting him to recreational rather than competitive sports.

Charlie met Barbara Alice Dagneau (née  Bedford) in high school. They married shortly after finishing their studies at the University of British Columbia, Charlie receiving his Bachelor of Science degree. Their dancing skills remain legendary among the family. The young couple moved often while Charlie pursued a career in the forest industry, including to Sicamous, BC and Smith, AB, as well as a year spent travelling and working in the southeastern United States. They then settled in Salmon Arm and started a family, welcoming two boys. The family enjoyed many satisfying summers at their sparse but homey cabin on Shuswap Lake, where Charlie taught his sons to waterski, among other adventures.

Charlie was promoted to management positions at Federated Co-operatives’ Canoe, BC sawmill and plywood plant, eventually becoming Senior Vice President in charge of those facilities for many years during the 1980s and 1990s. He belonged to local service clubs such as Kinsmen and Rotary, as well as several forest industry associations. Significant health issues led to his early retirement in 1998, after which he and Barbara travelled by trailer across the southwestern USA. Following his divorce from Barbara, Charlie moved to Kelowna, BC, where he spent the next 10 years.

Charlie had an early and lifelong love of music. It was fostered by a piano-playing mother and older sister, and a father known for singing and memorized poetry recitations, skills that Charlie inherited. Charlie became an accomplished trumpet player during his school years. He returned to the trumpet more persistently in the 1990s upon joining Dixie North, the Salmon Arm-based Dixieland band with whom he played until well after his retirement. However, Charlie’s primary musical love and constant companion was big band jazz. Among the numerous jazz festivals and concerts he attended, he saw live performances of both his trumpet-playing heroes, Louis Armstrong and Maynard Ferguson. Despite health declines and a serious stroke in 2018, he never lost his love of music, rhythm, and singing. Charlie moved to Kamloops in 2019, closer to his sons.

Charlie loved his family and strove to support them to the best of his abilities, even during trying times. All who knew him will remember his carefree joy when spontaneously singing along to jazz, his famous annual St. Patrick’s Day dress-up celebrations, and countless other stories that will be recounted for years to come, as Charlie would have wanted. His family and friends will dearly miss him.

Charlie is survived by his sons Chad (Sarah) and Brook (Diana), granddaughter Alice, sister Dawna Dinning (Chuck), and Dawna’s sons Dean and Gordon. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, a memorial gathering and Celebration of Life tea will be announced at a future date when attendance restrictions are relaxed.

The family would like to express its gratitude to Dr. Wynne and the caring staff at both Kamloops Seniors Village and Lakeview Lodge in West Kelowna, BC. Memorial contributions may be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

 

5 Comments

  1. I visited Charlie more than once when he was in care in Westbank. And of course , I saddened him with the news of my husband’s passing as well. Doug and Charlie were really good friends and over the years we didn’t visit as much as Doug would have liked. I was unable to find out where Charlie moved to after Westbank. Let me say I enjoyed my visits with him . We had a wonderful sing-along when a resident was playing a tape of Oldies. He really enjoyed that time. I would be happy to talk to one of you ‘boys’.
    Sincerely , Helen Jamieson

  2. Getting the breaks in Salmon Arm, like so many little towns during the 60s and 70s, depended a lot on who you knew. Charlie was my older brother’s friend, so that gave me a foot in the door when I applied for my first job out of high school. Charlie made sure I got hired, and then every once in a while, would show up on the floor in the mill and check up on me – asking how things were going and chatting. He was very good to me when I was a teen and though my job at Federated Co-op lasted only a couple of years, I will always be grateful to Charlie.

  3. We still refer to the house above us as McCarthys, and often talk of the visits back and forth with you boys, Chad and Brook and our sons. Reading your dads history we were reminded of the evenings Charlie would be playing his trumpet on the deck, and our corner of South Canoe would be treated those sounds. What a revelation it was to go the Piapot 1980 reunion and find Charlie and Barb and boys – our next door neighbors here, beside us at the parade in Piapot – we all had roots there! We are saddened to hear of your loss .

  4. So sorry to hear of Charlies passing. Our condolences to Chad and Brook and families. We had many years of fun with Charlie , Barb and family in Kinsmen and even after that. Have missed him in the last few years. Lots of good memories. Sandi and Al roberts

  5. Charlie and I worked together at Little River Fishing Lodge in the summer of ’62. We had both just graduated from high school in different provinces; both of us were heading off to university in the fall. He was the nicest boy I had ever met, bar none! For that short time, we became good friends, and he never knew that I had a huge crush on him! He was seriously involved with his girlfriend, whom we didn’t ever meet. About a dozen years later, when we were out visiting friends in Salmon Arm, I called him to renew acquaintances. Being the gracious person that he was, he invited my husband and I and our friends over for drinks and a visit. I wish I’d have stayed in touch with him. I thought it might be of interest to his sons and grandchildren to know that he was once a teenager who was so much fun to be around, despite his seriousness about the direction his life he wanted his life to take. I’m sure he was a delightful dad and grandpa, undoubtedly a sweet-natured guy who was decent to everyone he encountered. Deepest sympathy.

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