August 9, 1920 – August 20, 2022
In loving memory ~
At 102 years young, Charles (Chuck) Page was still laughing, learning and enjoying the blessings of each new day. Chuck was feeling great during his week of birthday celebrations with visits from family and friends, Zoom calls, cards, phone calls and three birthday cakes. He died peacefully in his sleep on August 20.
Born in St.Catharines, Ontario to Herbert James Page and Annie Nolan Page, Chuck was raised in the house built by his father on Marlborough Avenue. Along with his older brother Albert (Al) and younger sister Dorothy (Dot), Chuck enjoyed an idyllic youth in the Facer Street area playing pond hockey, pick-up baseball, riding bicycles and swimming in the not-yet completed Welland Canal (on which his father was a foreman carpenter). Even during the Depression, though Chuck remembered hard times, the family always had food on the table, chickens in the yard and a warm stove to gather around. Chuck was a handsome, easy-going, athletic young man and a loyal friend. He had an uncanny memory for people, places and dates. Through his adult years, it was impossible for Chuck to make a quick stop at the grocery store as he would always see people he knew and would spend hours catching up.
When war broke out, brother Al was the first to sign up. Chuck was next in 1941 and was sent overseas to become a member of Bomber Command in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Bomber Command had the highest casualty rate of all the allied forces and indeed, on his 19th operation, Chuck’s plane was shot down over Holland. He was able to parachute safely out of the burning plane but was captured a few days later and taken to a German prison camp, Stalag Luft IV, for the remainder of the war. In the end, Chuck escaped during the Long March and returned safely to England and eventually to Canada. Sadly, his beloved mother had passed away during his time in the camp so his homecoming was bittersweet.
Back in St.Catharines, Chuck would embark on his career as a Purchasing Agent for various chain and steel manufacturers in the Niagara Region. It was at the office where he was introduced to a beautiful young secretary, ten years his junior, who would soon become his wife. Chuck and Irene (Lloyd) married in 1952 and began their family life in a little house on Smythe St in the community of Merritton. Three children and two homes later, the couple found themselves retiring in a townhouse on Linwell Rd in the mid-eighties to live the final chapter of their lives together.
Chuck was a devoted father and family man. Irene handled the finances and Chuck did the heavy lifting. He often reminisced about the early years with three babies in quick succession, Irene exhausted after a day of colic and dirty diapers, handing him one or the other child the moment he walked in the door after work. Chuck’s big warm chest and deep voice were sure to lull the baby immediately to sleep. As the children grew, Sunday drives with Dad became the staple. We would pile into the car and drive all over the Niagara Peninsula, visiting his childhood friends and siblings and their families, giving Irene a break but sure to return to Sunday dinner roasting in the oven. Chuck’s distinctive whistle would call us in from outdoor play and all the kids in the neighbourhood knew the figure of strong, tall Mr. Page skating on backyard rinks, shovelling snow, digging in the gardens and cutting grass in the big ravine lot on Briarsdale Dr.
As his children grew, Chuck shared his love of sports. He coached their little league baseball and minor hockey teams, watched their games and drove them wherever they needed to go. Some of the family’s favourite memories are of weeks spent at a rented cottage in Muskoka, swimming, fishing, canoeing and playing board games (which Chuck preferred to watch rather than play). Chuck and Irene met a lively group of friends through her Sorority and in later years these couples held annual costume parties, New Years celebrations and went on weekend trips and bus tours together. Irene was a great organizer and planner and they spent many holidays with children and grandchildren in British Columbia and northern Ontario as well as the US and England. Chuck was content to go along with every plan and he loved visiting his family. Chuck and Irene were also members of a bowling league in Port Dalhousie for many years and Chuck was an excellent bowler well into his 90’s. They were regular, lifetime users of the Public Library and enjoyed gardening, TV (sports for Dad) and visiting with friends and neighbours.
Like many WWII Veterans, Chuck never talked about the war years with his family. He was very much the strong, silent type around the house, though with a calm, gentlemanly demeanour and quiet sense of humour. As the family grew and the children moved away he began to open up more and we children would say he “mellowed”. He joined his local Air Force wing in the 1990’s and began to participate in Remembrance Day and other Veteran’s activities, including trips to Ottawa and England. In 2010 he gave a 40 minute interview for the Veteran’s Project about his experiences in Bomber Command and from there his story was published through a number of newspaper articles and website posts. He attended school programs and Remembrance Day ceremonies right up to the age of 101.
We would like to credit the Brock University Senior Fit program for giving Chuck a new lease on life at the age of 89. He joined a University study on balance and core strength in Seniors and then became a “lifetime” member of the program. The gym workouts, social interactions, laughter, friendship and birthday cakes this program afforded were invaluable. And thanks to his physical fitness, desire to help others and support from family friend Mary Ellen, Chuck was able to walk 100 laps around his townhouse complex for his 100th birthday and raise over $23,000 for Hotel Dieu Shaver Rehabilitation Center in St. Catharines. The project culminated in a fantastic, Covid-friendly parade to honour Chuck’s accomplishment, complete with marching band, dignitaries and a ride in a military “Iltis”. The following year he raised over $10,000 in a fundraising challenge for Valley Community Services in Creston, BC.
With the sad and sudden loss of Irene, his wife of 68 years, in July 2020, Chuck accepted the offer to move to Creston, BC and live with daughter Nancy and her husband Leonard. Not many could make such a drastic change to their lives at the age of 100. But Chuck was adaptable, gracious, appreciative and fun to be with. He never complained. He started every day with a cheery smile. Creston welcomed Chuck with open arms and the compassion of the entire medical community has been exemplary. Thank you Erica for your invaluable assistance. Ever the optimist, Chuck never gave up hope for his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs and rarely missed a Blue Jays game. He also rarely missed a meal! Throughout his life, Chuck Page created an amazing legacy of community support, generosity of spirit and good humour. He generated a wealth of friendships among people of all ages. He was loved and admired by many.
More than anything (yes, more than ice cream) Chuck loved his children, grandchildren and their families. He was tremendously proud of all of their accomplishments. Chuck Page is survived by his children Dr. Rick Page of Ladysmith, BC; Nancy DeVuono (Leonard) of Creston, BC; Dave Page (Shari) of Elora, Ont; his grandchildren Dr. Jessica Page (Jeremy McLennan) of Lethbridge, Alta with great-grandson Reggie McLennan; Alec Page of Vancouver, BC; Nathan DeVuono (Danielle) of Creston, BC; David DeVuono of BC; Brendan Page of Elora, Ont and other dear relatives both near and far.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Center, St. Catharines, Ont or Valley Community Services, Creston, BC.
A Celebration of Life and Interment of Ashes will be held at a later date.
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