My first ever post on BlueMass Group. A true small D and big D democrat died this week who embodied the spirit of BlueMassGroup long before there was an internet. Charlie’s Obituary only begins to tell what a man he was – maybe others would put their thoughts here too.
I am not the authority on Charlie’s life or impact–just a person in whose life he made a difference. I met Charlie when I graduated college in 1991 and was looking to get involved in my new Allston neighborhood. Charlie chaired the Ward 21 Democratic committee with data-driven block by block precision and a passion for democratic participation and making the world a better place. He -the consumate local and connected urban insider welcomed me – the consumate Allston transient, fresh from the suburbs via college – and readily gave me a seat at the table. He was enthusiastic–even joyful–to see me recruit young people for early morning Clinton-Gore ’92 sign-holding in Brighton intersections.
Two memories stand out: First–I found Charlie in the crowd of haze and celebration at the Park Plaza Hotel the night Bill Clinton won the Presidency in 1992. Charlie gave me a memorable bear hug–I saw a hope and optimism in his face at that moment–a sense of accomplishment–but really on him it wasn’t just winning–he seemed to be deeply relieved for all the people he believed desperately needed a better chance to succeed. Charlie was still very healthy then, but his emotions seemed already to signal that he felt this win was a chance for a new generation.
The second memory came many years later when I had the privilege to introduce my former boss from the US Department of Justice, Deval Patrick, to Charlie well before the 2006 gubernatorial primary. By this time Charlie had endured sadness I can only imagine with the loss of his beloved nephew, and other health related challenges. But he was no less passionate and idealistic- if a bit more wary – when he pressed Patrick with tough questions at the ward committee that night. I didn’t ever talk to Charlie about who he voted for in that primary. I only know that watching him do his job grilling a candidate who wanted the support of the Ward 21 Democratic Committee was a thing of beauty. And I also had the distinct impression that both the candidate and Charlie were inspired by eachother that night.
As we approach another important Presidential election, I can only imagine what Charlie is thinking wherever he is now, about how much America needs people who care about making a difference.
Charlie-Thank you for supporting me, for being true to your high ideals, and for your lifetime of service to humanity. May the memories and love of this man ease the loss his family feels, and may Charlie Doyle’s life be for a blessing.