Charles E. McCluskey Jr. of Vineyard Haven died peacefully at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at the age of 83, with his wife, Ellen, and his sons by his side.
Charlie was born and raised in Boston, the son of Charles E. and Catherine McCluskey. He attended and graduated from The High School of Commerce in Boston, where his love of sports began. The basketball page in his yearbook states that “no better player could have been picked to captain a team.” He enlisted in the Navy in 1944, and served on the USS Newberry and then in a Naval Hospital in Philadelphia for the duration of the war.
After the war he attended Boston University where he received a master’s degree in physical education. During his years at BU he was asked by a friend to come to Martha’s Vineyard in the summer of 1950 to be a counselor at The St. Pierre Camp. Those summers were to change Charlie’s life, as he came to love the Vineyard and eventually bought a home in Vineyard Haven. He made many friendships at the Camp that have lasted throughout the years. It’s been said that he was the “spirit and energy” of the camp. He had a wonderful singing voice and loved participating in the camp’s musicals and singing around the campfire. His favorite song was “Sweet Georgia Brown,” which he often sang accompanied by his friends playing guitars and piano.
Charlie taught physical education and coached athletic teams at The Kennedy Memorial School in Waltham, and continued coming to the Vineyard in the summers where he kept up with the many friends he had made here.
In 1982 he married Ellen McCluskey formerly of Edgartown, and in 1992 retired and moved permanently from their house in Lexington to the Vineyard. He was always an avid reader and became well known at the local libraries. He was a woodsman at heart and among his greatest interests were planting trees and watching them grow and thrive, and chopping and splitting wood to build fires in his woodstove. He also loved football and tennis, playing horseshoes, and reading about history.
Charlie will be remembered as having lived his life with gusto, and for his kindness and devotion to his family and friends, many of whom he helped in their early years to excel in physical education and sports.He is survived by his wife, Ellen McCluskey, his sons Michael McCluskey of Allston and Alexander McCluskey of Vineyard Haven, his brother and sister-in-law Jack and Kaye McCluskey of Readville, his stepsons Timothy Conover and Gerret Conover of Edgartown, and his daughters-in-law Corrine Kurtz and Dianne Conover.
A graveside service, officiated by Reverend Roger Spinney, will be held at the Oak Grove Cemetery in Vineyard Haven on Thursday, March 8 at noon. The Veterans of Martha’s Vineyard will also offer full military honors.
Donations may be made to the Vineyard Nursing Association, P.O. Box 399, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568. Arrangements were under the care of Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home of Oak Bluffs. Please visit ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information.