Eric Charlton passed away Tuesday, March 10 with his loving wife Beryl by his side at their home at Taylor Community in Laconia, N.H. He was born April 8, 1928 in the village of Chopwell, a small mining village on the England & Scotland border. He was educated in both the Glasgow and Kings College Universities where he earned his degree in chemical engineering. While an officer in the Royal Air Force, he met the love of his life Beryl and they would go on to enjoy 64 years of marriage together filled with love, happiness and adventure.
After the birth of their daughter Ursula (aka Charlie), the adventures began with their emigrating to Montreal, Canada. They then spent a short tenure in Ohio where their son Pete was born and then returned to Montreal for six years where they had their youngest son Paul.
The adventure continued with the move to the United States where Eric became a senior executive in a York, Pa. manufacturing firm. Much to his delight, his position led to travel throughout the world. In Pennsylvania, they raised their family, renovated an old farm house and enjoyed their passions for gardening, music, and family fun and adventures. An annual highlight was the family vacation week in Ocean Park, Maine which continued for 60 years , right up to the summer of 2019.
As their children were finishing up college, Eric and Beryl took a leap of faith fueled by their sense of adventure. They left careers as an engineer and nurse practitioner and purchased an inn in rural Vermont. As owners of the Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford, they soon became an integral part of their new community and earned the reputation as the quintessential innkeepers. They delighted in helping their guests enjoy their vacation time, all the while making many dear friends.
After their memory-filled years at the inn, Maine was calling for them once again. On one such visit to the coast, on a particularly dreary, rainy afternoon, they decided quite spontaneously to purchase a home in Camden, the community of their dreams. Over the next 25 years there, they perfected their flower, fruit and vegetable gardening skills, creating gardens that were famous in their community. They loved long walks and during their many summers on Campobello Island they literally explored the entire island, quite often seeking out new wild berry patches to be used in the production of a variety of delicious jams.
They were both dedicated members of the First Congregational Church of Camden and are fondly remembered for kindness, good humor, gentle leadership qualities, and innovative ideas such as the founding of the Heavenly Threads Thrift Shop, and the creation of Soup’s On, a community soup lunch program. Eric served as President of the Church, helping to establish the Shields Mission Project which provides assistance to individuals in financial crisis. For 10 years Eric also produced hundreds of jars of his now famous jams for the project’s annual fundraiser.
In 2018, Eric and Beryl moved to the Taylor Community in Laconia N.H. in order to be near family and soon after would celebrate Eric’s 90th birthday. Here, as always, they made friends and became involved in many community activities. Eric was an excellent piano player, with a great bass voice and loved playing (and singing) everything from hymns, to classical music, ragtime and show tunes. If he had any regrets about passing on, it was that he would have loved more time for more singalongs.
Family and friends will remember him as a joyful, kind, welcoming, thoughtful, fun loving man who truly enjoyed life and the people who surrounded him through the years. He is survived by his wife Beryl, children Charlie, Pete and his wife Carolyn, and Paul and his wife Kim Gustafson. He also left behind many dearly loved grandchildren and great grandchildren, many who came to know them as Daddy-O and Mommy-O.
A reflection service will take place at Taylor Community with a service at Camden Congregational Church in the spring. For those wishing to give a memorial gift, the family suggests The Shields Mission Project of the First Church of Camden, Maine or Central VNA and Hospice who provided such remarkable and loving care.
He was a great man and will be missed by many.