The entire community was shocked and saddened to hear about the death of the Mayor of South Dundas, Charles Barkley, who died suddenly at home on Wed., June 17, 2009. He was 59.
Charles was born on Dec. 2, 1949 to his parents Bruce and Audrey Barkley (nee Hunter), and lived his entire life on the home farm at 4563 Ridge Road, RR#1 Iroquois. He began his education at the Dundela school house and continued his education at Iroquois High School.
During the early years, Charles would go with his dad to local farms to assist in the farm chores, like dressing beef and pigs, and removing horns. Using the gift of persuasion like only Charles could, he talked his dad into allowing him to bring home and keep a collie pup.
An outstanding member of the Iroquois High School football team, Charles was picked up by the Cornwall Mustangs where he enjoyed three successful years before giving up the sport.
During his football career Charles was working for Ford McCaslin. Ford was involved in a tragic accident, at which time Charles asked his father for guidance. Bruce started Charles in the cattle business by buying him Ford’s cattle truck. Bruce told Charles he was only going to start him out once. “I wish you much success and hope you never look back” his dad said, and Charles never did. Charles was 19 and his first deals were with his own money. A well-liked cattle drover Charles developed several long-lasting friendships that began as business.
After the passing of their father, the brothers took up farming together. The boys loved farming anything from the herd of beef cattle to the team of black Percherons, a source of pride for them both. Today they cash crop over 500 acres, which Charles insisted on working twice this past spring before Donald could do the planting.
Charles was deeply connected to his family, both past and present. Family history was so very important to him. Charles was not one for change, in fact to this day he had every tractor used in Ontario by his father and uncles all restored at the home farm.
A great outdoorsman, Charles loved to hunt and was a proud member of the Dundela gang. He was invited as a guest to the Tin Camp in Mackie and later became a member. The camp was successful in landing a few moose despite the fact that they were not always productive on the so called work weekends. The Tin camp was a source of great enjoyment for Charles and he eventually spent many, many visits there with family and friends.
In 1981 Charles decided to get into local politics. He served the Township of Matilda as councillor and reeve, the United Counties of SD&G as warden and was currently serving South Dundas as Mayor. Charles was a straight forward, hard working politician who represented everyone in the community equally.
As everyone knows Charles had a heart of gold and a love of life. ‘A man who would do anything for anyone’. He was very kind and always willing to donate either money, a turkey, beef or pork to an individual or organization whenever asked.
The ritual Friday night gatherings for Canasta until the wee hours started when his parents were still alive, with friends and neighbours. Lately it was coffee night with his close friends Jack and Faye Fawcett, and Ralph and Yapke Tibben. On other nights you might find Charles discussing new recipes with Gerta and talking crops with Bram over dinner.
On Thursdays Charles could be found at Whitteker Meats getting his groceries, and occasionally swapping a tale or two.
Having grown up in the house he lived in, Charles trusted his quiet neighbourhood, and his home was always open to all.
A man of habit, Charles started each day with his morning coffee made by Bob O’Neil or himself and whoever else stopped in. Of course Sunday was the day for coffee club, where all the local goings on were told over coffee, breakfast and jellybeans.
Abby, Charles’ little Jack Russell Terrier, who was constantly at his side for over eight years, will miss Charles dearly, and is being consoled by family members.
He will be fondly remembered by his family and friends for his friendly disposition, his love of children, and his teasing nature. He loved his community and he served it well throughout his life.
Charles is survived by his brother Donald (Shirley) of RR#2 Iroquois. He was predeceased by his parents Bruce and Audrey Barkley. He was a dear uncle to Marian (Kevin) Smith of Iroquois, Karen (Mike) Bowles of Victoria, BC, Tim Barkley of Winchester, and was the great-uncle to Tori, Tawnya, Brooke, Morgan, as well as great-great uncle to Brianna and Paige. A step-uncle to Bob Merkley of Vancouver, BC, Tracy (Shannon) of Elma, and great-step uncle to Nathan, Alexis, Jessica, and Mayce.
Friends called at the Marsden and McLaughlin Funeral home in Williamsburg, on Fri., June 19. The funeral service was held at the Community Christian Reformed Church in Dixon’s Corners, on Sat., June 20 with Rev. Janet Evans officiating, followed by interment at Dundela Cemetery.
The honourary pallbearers were Bob Merkley, Murray Baldwin, Arnold Mangan, Robert Gillard, and Ron Perrin. The pallbearers were Winston Baker, Jack Fawcett, Ralph Tibben, Tom Henderson, Glen Whitteker, Shannon Groves, Bram Mudde, Tom Mangan, and Ed Mangan.
Donations made to the J.W. MacIntosh Seniors’ Support Center and the Brinston United Church, were greatly appreciated by the family.