On Wednesday, May 26, 2021, Charley woke up to ride his bike on the Harpeth River Greenway and watch the sunrise. He pulled off the trail to watch the deer wander in the fog while he listened to a sports podcast. He came home, showered, grabbed breakfast, and spent time on his deck praying and reading his Bible as a part of his morning routine. He made a point to tell Laura and Carver and Colson that he loved them, like he did every morning whether he was traveling or at home, and then he went to work where he loved on the people he worked with as a Sales Training Manager at Waste Management.
Later that night, God took Charley Home.
Charley was born November 23, 1980 in Miami to parents, Charley and Pam, who love him very much, who he loved and honored in return. When Charley talked about his older sister, Jessica, he talked about her independence, grit, and determination to do whatever she set her mind to. He and his little sister Amber grew up as fast friends who shared friends and arguments and a fierce sense of protectiveness for each other. His brother Tyler was born right before Charley left for college, and later as men, Charley and Tyler fought shoulder to shoulder through life’s challenges and celebrated life’s victories together with elated hearts and sometimes, a nice bourbon.
Charley fell in love with Jesus on March 16, 1986. God shaped Charley to be the type of person who cared deeply about the people whose lives crossed his path. He always, always found a way to discover and draw out and focus on the best parts of people and he was gifted at getting those same people to focus on the best parts of themselves as well. He lived out his conviction that in choosing to see and love people the same way that God saw and loved them, he would be doing his best to point them towards their own opportunity to fall in love with Jesus. He found this belief to be articulated in a book called “An Arrow Pointing to Heaven” by James Bryan Smith. He would be thrilled at the idea of any of the people he cared for reading it as well.
At the time that Charley was reading “An Arrow Pointing to Heaven”, he was touring with a theater troupe that performed Christian-themed programs for prisons, schools, and churches all over the US. In one of those shows, he played the role of a daredevil named Rip Darren who was in love with an angel named Julie Jones, played by a woman he’d met 6 months prior, named Laura. On Valentine’s day in 2001, he bought some flowers and snuck them on stage before the show. Laura walked out on stage as the lights went up, and as usual, began to fiddle with the props, including a bouquet of flowers that weren’t usually there. The flowers had a card attached that said, “Julie, be mine. Love, Rip.” Charley has given Laura flowers with a card like that every Valentine’s day for the last 20 years.
In the summer of 2001, Charley proposed on top of a hill on Catalina Island. Charley and Laura hiked down that hill hand in hand and when they reached the bottom, a nervous Charley asked an emotional Laura whether all of that crying had meant yes or no, as she was wearing the ring but had neglected to articulate any intelligible words up to that point. All of that sobbing meant, “yes”, and so they were married in Garden Grove, CA on December 15, 2001. Charley and Laura loved each other wholeheartedly, balanced each other’s flaws, made each other laugh, held each other when they cried, always made up when they fought, and made each other better people.
Charley always thought Seattle was one of the most beautiful places he had ever been. He and Laura moved there shortly after their marriage. Charley held many titles while he lived in Washington State, such as YoYo Professional and Motivational Speaker, Children’s Pastor, and Service Manager. In Colorado, he was a Football Coach and a Branch Manager. In Tennessee, he thought of himself as a “People Developer” at work, Coach Charley on the football field, Men’s Group Leader every Thursday morning, and Mr. Charley to the children he loved to teach on Sunday mornings. He derived satisfaction from different parts of all of those roles, but the title he always remained proudest of earning, was that of Father.
Carver was born on May 30, 2008 and Colson was born on January 18, 2012. He wept when he held each of them in the delivery room. He was devoted to them both heart and soul from the instant he learned of their existence and he is loving them fiercely from Heaven today. No matter how full Charley’s schedule got, Carver and Colson always got their turn for a breakfast date alone with Daddy every other week. It was one of Charley’s favorite things to do. Charley radiated joy every time he talked about Carver and Colson, which was often. He was so proud of who they both are. Of all the parts of his life that made Charley who he was, Carver and Colson brought him the most happiness. He intentionally invested his time and his attention and the best of himself in his sons and anyone who knows Carver and Colson knows that they already emulate the best parts of their Daddy in so many ways.
Anyone who spent a significant amount of time with Charley knows that he loved well. His legacy is evidenced in the lasting impact he leaves on the hearts of those who love him. He will be missed and remembered by many.