Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Chuck Everitt - Until We Meet Again

March 14, 2016 ~ Today was a tough day as we lost a great man and pillar of our community. As many of you know, Chuck and I were best buddies. We talked on the phone a few times a week, had lunches together with another one of our buddies, Chuck Witt and loved being able to give him a hug when I saw him at ribbon cuttings however, I didn't really get to know Chuck until 2008 when I joined the Chamber of Commerce Ambassador family. I knew of him and we had spoke before but our friendship really hit it off when I joined this wonderful group. We soon learned that we shared an August 2nd birthday (different years of course) and that sealed a lasting bond between us. Something we talked about earlier this year is that I was born in 1976 and was 39 years old. Chuck was born in 1939 and 76 years old. Crazy ain't it! (Of course I turn 40 and he would have turned 77 in August)

The above picture might possibly be the last picture of Chuck. I know it's the last picture we took together and was taken on Thursday March 10th. (We would gladly smile for the camera any chance we had to get to have our picture taken together!

I was busy with a Read-A-Thon at Midway Heights Elementary School when I received a phone call from Chuck on Thursday March 10, 2016 at 10:35 AM. He had to leave a voicemail and it said he had a blood clot in his left leg again (this would be the 3rd one in a year) and they would be admitting him to the VA Hospital at 1:00 PM and surgery on Friday. I called him back within 20 minutes but had to leave a message for him. I knew it would take some time for him to get admitted and around 2:00 PM I decided to head over to the VA Hospital to find him. I looked down the hallway and he was wheeling himself towards the front area where I was at. I went down the hall and pushed him to the front of the hospital and he said the plans have changed but he has another appointment with the lab. I wheeled him to his appointment with a pharmacist and he went over Chuck's care. They would be placing him on blood thinners (both injections and pill form) and sending him home. From this moment I was not happy about this idea as Chuck's health had steadily been declining and to me, he just wasn't healthy to be taking on this new medicine.  I wrote down several notes and made sure that he understood what the pharmacist was saying about his new medicines and when to take them. Chuck wanted to take a smoke break while he waited on his prescriptions to be filled so myself and another VA employee wheeled him out to the smoking section outside. We took the above picture and I had to head back to Midway Heights Elementary School to get set up for an event that evening but not before Chuck assured me he was going to be OK.

On Friday I called Chuck to ask how he was doing and if he had taken his medicine as directed. He laughed and said "Yes kiddo, I am taking my medicine and I took it on time as directed". We talked briefly about our weekend plans, laughed and said our goodbyes and I told him I would talk to him later. 

On Sunday morning I get a message from Bobbi that Chuck has been rushed to the University Hospital Emergency Room via Ambulance and it doesn't look good. The next 24 hours were very critical and while he had the best medical team working on him it was just too much for his body to handle and Monday March 14, 2016 at 3:34 PM he passed away peacefully with family and friends by his side. While my heart hurts to loose such a great friend I am happy that I got to be there with him during this time. I asked lots of questions and I wanted to know exactly what was going on and what the plan was for his treatment and his nurse was truly amazing. He answered all of my questions and made sure his family understood what was going on as well.  Sadly, we all knew Chuck would never make it home. In this process I got the chance to meet his kids, Todd (and his wife Paulette) and Marcia. (Gosh y'all,  Todd looks just like his dad and I told him that it's just like looking at a younger Chuckles) During the talks I had with Chuck I made a promise that I would do everything I could to help take care of Bobbi. Chuck didn't want me to see him like this however I'm pretty sure he knew how hard headed and stubborn I was and that I wasn't leaving. (After all we are both Leo's) Those several hand squeezes I received assured me that he knew we were there.

Chuck will be missed but never forgotten. He and I had many great conversations throughout our friendship and he was honest about his faults in life and gave some great advise to so many people over the years including myself. He was clearly a hot mess and always had us laughing. In fact many of us call him "Chuckles" because of his contagious laugh! He really loved Bobbi and always wanted to make sure she was taken care of. He also loved Columbia Youth Football League, Missouri Tigers Football and the Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors and those organizations truly loved him back. While I have cried a lot during this time I find that I have smiled and laughed a lot more. Chuck had a way of making you smile and be happy more often then being sad. I am so thankful for the many memories and I already miss him like crazy. I have listened to the several voicemail's I have saved and that brings comfort in the sad times and just puts you in a better mood when you need it most! (My favorite is him singing me Happy Birthday on our special day in 2014)

Thank you Columbia Daily Tribune for remembering a great man with us!

I had the pleasure of nominating him for a Hero Award through the Columbia Daily Tribune.
In 2011 he received the Volunteer of the Year Award. 

He wanted to get up and go smoke a cigarette but I made him sit right there because "someone he knew" would be receiving this award very soon. I remember him looking back at me and smiling while shaking his head. You could tell that he was genuinely surprised and humbled. He truly deserved this award and it was mainly for his 40 years of service to the Columbia Youth Football League. He always did it for the kids and this time he was shown appreciation for the many years he had given to this wonderful program!

In 2012 I had the pleasure of nominating Chuck for the Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Citizen of the Year award. I knew early on that he was receiving this prestigious award because they knew I would have one heck of a time getting him to the banquet. If anyone could get him there it was totally me and you know I told him someone else was receiving the award and I needed him to take pictures since I would be speaking at the podium. So we get Chuck there, I head to the stage and give him a little nod to let him know to start taking pictures. We had about 8 other Chamber Ambassadors say a sentence about the recipient of this award. Chuck didn't pay attention until we got about 5 sentences out and talked about his military service. You saw the tears in his eyes and that look of "Oh crap, she got me good!" With the help of many of our Chamber Ambassadors (by the way everyone that won awards that evening were all Chamber Ambassadors - Woo Hoo!) we made it a night to remember for Chuck! He laughed and cried. He knew I had 100% hands on with this one and he always knew I had his back no matter what! What a well deserved honor!

In 2013 I had the pleasure of being involved in a project through the Missourian called "100 Ages. A Century of Voices". It took someone from each age and put a video together of all the things they have seen in their lives. Really cool and so glad to have been a part of this project.

I have had many people give their condolences to me. I just want everyone to know that WE all lost a good man today and although he may not physically be with us we all smile because we are better people for having Chuck in our lives. His spirit lives on through the many stories we tell one another and for that I am grateful. I hope you have those little bird legs dancing in heaven and keeping everyone laughing buddy... you were one in a million! Thank you Chuckles for your friendship and all that you have done for our community.... you will never be forgotten!

Per Chuck's request he was cremated. In several weeks (4-8 weeks) we will have a "Celebration of Life" here in Columbia, MO for Chuck. This will give us enough time to plan an event the way that Chuck would have wanted it and it allows Bobbi to get things done that she needs to handle while taking things one day at a time. Many have asked how you can help and the answer is simple for now... please just keep Bobbi in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. She has people on her side that are helping to make sure she is OK but she has lost an important part of her life and each day is different. As plans are put together we will certainly let you all know so you can be there and celebrate the life of a wonderful friend.

Until we meet again.....


  1. What a sweet sweet tribute to your friend. So sorry for your loss. Hugs

  2. Thank you! I really miss him as does the rest of our community. He was truly one in a million!