I want to thank Jeff for again allowing me to eulogize a former Rotarian. Not just a Rotarian a “great” Rotarian. This former Rotarian was so fond of and proud of his years in Rotary that he had his Rotary I.D. Badge on as he went to his final resting place. Rotary was a big part of his life for many years and this club is better because of his membership.

Charlie Ferrari, classification Plumber, the owner of Loren Plumbing and Heating in Winchester, joined Rotary in February of 1975 in what in club history is referred to as the Barn era. A Rotarian’s worth or legacy cannot be measured in years served but by the cumulative effect of their service. I can tell you today that there would be no barn account but for the efforts of Charlie and others during his years of service.

Charlie had many outstanding traits not the least of which were his boundless energy, strength and enthusiasm. Members gravitated to him. There was no mincing of words with Charlie. To paraphrase Dr. Seuss’s Horton the Elephant: “He meant what he said and said what he meant. A Rotarian’s faithful 100%”. He used that trait to develop meaningful relationships within the club. He was a perfect fit for the club. The club was changing as a new wave of Rotarians were being invited to membership and were determined to leave their mark and continue the legacy they were inheriting.

At the barn Charlie was a force to be reckoned with. There was no pick-up too large or too difficult to handle. Where there was Charlie there was a way. He spent countless hours over the last 12 years of the Barn and Auction making sure that each year’s sales outdid the last. His time at the barn far exceeded the obligatory one month stint each Rotarian was required to serve. Most Monday nights and Saturday mornings you would find him at the Barn working to the advancement of fund raising.

Charlie played on the club softball team for the 11 years that we played in the District League. He firmly believed in supporting the club in every aspect enjoying the camaraderie and the relationships it fostered.

Charlie had another side to the bigger than life persona he showed at the barn. He was gregarious and friendly; affable and approachable. He firmly believed in the Rotary tenets of friendship and fellowship. He was a leader in establishing a bond among the new group of Rotarians, numbering about 20 at its core, that has endured to this day. There were dinners and gatherings, family events and outings. Charlie and his wife Joan purchased a 126-acre farm in Dunstable and relocated from Winchester. Immediately that farm became Rotary Headquarters North for the club. There were family get-togethers at the farm with an abundance of food with Charlie at the center cooking. There were games of softball, frisbee, hide and seek for the kids along with tag in the meadow and a tug of war. The Ferrari’s provided their own version of a kids petting zoo with their menagerie of farm animals. The winter also provided an opportunity to visit the farm. We would go out in the woods and select our own Christmas trees. The kids had a blast. Charlie would come by with the tractor, cut your selection and drop it off by your car. Then there were copious amounts of food, a warm fire with hot cocoa for the children and something more appropriate for the adults. I am not sure if that gathering was the catalyst but shortly after that Charlie started Grassland Tree Farm, a cut your own Christmas tree farm.

Charlie was respected by all and was admired for his honesty and integrity. His opinion mattered to others. As a Rotarian Charlie lived the Four Way Test to its fullest.

 

Four Way Test.

"Of the things we think, say or do:

1. Is it the TRUTH?

2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?

3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS ?

4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?"

 

Charlie believed in Community service. He practiced what he preached and led others to do likewise. He was passionate and it showed in his actions. He was dependable and reliable.

 

Usually, I end the eulogy with a poem with a theme on death that has some tie-in to the deceased. In this instance because of Charlie’s love for his farm and its forest and his devotion to the planting of and continuing care of the Christmas trees nothing could be more apropos than a poem by Joyce Kilmer.

Trees BY JOYCE KILMER

I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

 

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

 

A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

 

A tree that may in Summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

 

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.

 

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.

 

This Rotary Club was enriched because you were part of it. Farewell good friend.

 

March 31, 2022