Charles's Story

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BLUE HILL - Charles Putnam Dethier died in his sleep in his own bed May 8th, 2016, at the grand age of 98. He was born in New York City on December 10, 1917, to Avis Putnam Dethier and Edouard Dethier, and led a full life devoted to his three passions -- family, education, and Blue Hill, Maine. He and Maisie Hardenbergh (1921-2014) met as youngsters in the '20s and married in 1948, raising four children (who in turn raised seven grandchildren) in their home in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

Charlie enjoyed a long, satisfying, and multi-faceted career at the Haverford School in Pennsylvania, where he began as a French teacher but worked his way up to be head of the lower school, serving also as coach of football, baseball, and squash teams. He knew many new Haverfordians in kindergarten, followed their exploits through college, and remained in touch with students he taught before the War.

From 1921 on, he spent his summers at his family's home in East Blue Hill, where he could sit on the porch simultaneously reading and admiring the view into McHeard Cove. A lifelong sailing enthusiast, Charlie knew the winds, waters, and rocks of Blue Hill Bay as well as anyone. As recently as age 96, he sailed his beloved Mercury with a crew of children and grandchildren around Jed's Island, barking at the seals. He managed the Kollegewidgwok Yacht Club in the 1950s and was also a fine golfer and tennis player and a member of the Blue Hill Country Club.

Charlie was a voracious reader and had an amazing memory: he could remember plots and names from books he'd read 60 years ago, give statistics for his favorite athletes, recall conversations from decades ago, and tell you the name of a musical piece and its composer after hearing just a few notes. He was the essence of a multi-tasker, listening to classical music while correcting school papers and fielding his kids' homework questions. His stories made everyone laugh, and feel, and aspire to live as richly as he did.

Charlie would be pleased to have friends donate to a favorite educational institution rather than send flowers. Friends are also encouraged to contribute to a memorial collection of "Charlie Stories" by sending detailed memories of stories by or about Charlie to brock.dethier@usu.edu.
Published on  May 14, 2016
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