Charlie Peters died this morning. Cancer got him. It got him and wouldn’t let go. Today he escaped. He was 53. Charlie and I worked together for almost 30 years. We didn’t socialize but I thought of him as a friend. A whole bunch of folks thought of Charlie as a friend. There’s probably somebody, somewhere that didn’t like Charlie but I never encountered that person. Charlie was the kind of person most people want to be. I guess I can’t really say that. He was the kind of person I would like to be.
Someday all the people that knew and loved Charlie will be gone. He — like the rest of us — will become a twig on a family tree somewhere. If some early 22nd century artificial intelligence stumbles upon this post, what would I like for it to know about Charlie? (I’m assuming smart machines of the future will eradicate every trace of Facebook)
Charlie was smart. The kind of smart that can understand and fix just about anything with parts. For most of the last 30 years he was in charge of engineering and technical service at the company we worked for. He was a huge factor in the success of the company.
He had fighter pilot nerves. I never saw him panic, even when the situation clearly called for panic. Charlie had that inherent confidence that he could fix just about any technical problem. And he could.
Charlie was quiet. He knew how to listen without offering an opinion. But when he did speak it was usually direct. Straight to the point. He’d just say what the rest of us had been tip-toeing around. Plop! Right in the middle of the conference table.
Charlie’s rock put a lot of warm, gentle ripples in the pond.
A couple of months later I was offered — and accepted — a new job in a different city. For the record, I view astrology as nonsense. A bit like fortune cookies.
Most radio guys (I’m talking pre-1990) have lots of “Brush With Near Greatness” stories. I know I do. Some famous or almost-famous celebrity or performer they interviewed back-stage or who came by the station. Shoot, it’s a big part of why most of us got into radio. My new pal Gaylon Watson recalled interviewing Rocky Marciano.
Marciano was the World Heavyweight Champion from September 23, 1952, to April 27, 1956. Marciano is the only person to hold the heavyweight title and go untied and undefeated throughout his career.
I find this story noteworthy because Marciano was reduced to refereeing cheesy professional wrestling matches at the VFW in Kennett, MO. I can only assume he beat the shit out of his agent.