2017-04-20 / News

Memorial held to honor beloved teacher

Attendees at the memorial provided written testimonies of their experience of Charlie Carmody. 
Photo by Paula K. Schmidt Attendees at the memorial provided written testimonies of their experience of Charlie Carmody. Photo by Paula K. Schmidt GRAND BLANC — Recently our community was rocked with the news that a beloved teacher and friend had been lost to us. Charles (Charlie) Carmody left behind a wave of grief and more loving memories than can be counted.

Family, friends, colleagues and students gathered last week in the Tartoni Athletic Complex to share a celebration of the life of this wonderful person. His brother Dan expressed his profound gratitude to the Grand Blanc community for their outpouring of love to his family.

“Their support has been overwhelming we are just so grateful for all the thoughts and prayers and so many things that people have done for us over the last two weeks to help us through a really difficult situation. He was an extraordinary individual— loved his family, this community and loved this school. I’ve been privileged to share in an awesome life with him and we’re going to do what we can to keep awesome going,” Dan said of his brother.

Carmody’s extended family listens as the choir sings. 
Photo by Paula K. Schmidt Carmody’s extended family listens as the choir sings. Photo by Paula K. Schmidt Known as “The Voice of the Bobcats”, Carmody was a cheerleader for the school long before he was hired in 1992 by former principal Dr. Michael Newton. He stated many might say that was his best decision ever and he called Carmody an “inspiring and active force” who was a beloved colleague, cheerleader and friend.

Carmody’s good friend, Jason Youngs, who is also a math instructor at the high school said, “Charlie lived exactly what he believed”. A 1991 graduate, Youngs said his first introduction to Charlie was in his role calling plays for athletic games at the high school and called him a “huge personality” who brought a lot of energy and spirit to the football games with his booming voice.

Superintendent Clarence Garner mentioned something that many focused on— Carmody’s positivity. “He never focused on what was wrong, but what could be improved, Garner said. He added he had just met with Carmody in January to discuss what could be done to improve school spirit for all of the athletic teams and get more people in the stands.

Carmody proceeded to present the superintendent with ideas and thoughts on how to “grow a Bobcat”. Garner said he was so excited he couldn’t read his three pages of notes and would type them up and send them into him, and added he kept those notes and would not only like them to be included in the trophy case, but will be meeting with various school officials to help institute his plan to grow Bobcats later this year.

Former alumnus Max Harrison, who credited Carmody with inspiring him to write a book about the history of the school district, talked about Charlie’s legacy of beginning the high school’s Alumni Association and his service as the unofficial historian of the school, including his large and diverse collection of memorabilia.

“If anyone deserves to be called this school’s original historian, it was Charlie Carmody,” Harrison added, and detailed his long but successful search for the original 1923 “holy grail” yearbook which was donated to him anonymously.

John Rick, one of Charlie’s teachers and later a friend and mentor, stated “If God gave Grand Blanc a lion’s heart, Charlie gave it a roar.”

John Delaney, recently retired coach of Grand Blanc football stated when he started in the early 80’s he became aware of Charlie, dressed in red with a funny hat, who would run up and down in front of the stands to get the crowd fired up at football games. He asked “Who is that,” thinking it was an enthusiastic student, and then asked “What grade is he in?” before being advised that Charlie “just loves the Bobcats.”

Charlie started the announcing position in 1985 which ended up being a championship year. He admired his enthusiasm for the game and shared a memory of him that year during a show down game with rivals from Powers Catholic high school.

After half time, coach couldn’t hear his voice on the microphone and realized Charlie had come down to get the crowd fired up, Delaney explained. He said they had a very fast running back by the name of Cedric Scott who took off for a long touchdown run in the second half and to Delaney’s amazement, Charlie was pacing him right along—on the sidelines to celebrate the touchdown.

Charlie told him after his retirement it would be hard to announce without him coaching and Delaney returned the compliment, stating he was sure that at that moment, Charlie was ‘up there’ organizing a game with the dear departed from both Grand Blanc and Powers.

Andy Carmody, Charlie’s brother thanked the community for their expressions of love for the family and stated his love and respect for his brother had grown based on the memories so many people had shared during that time.

One of those expression was from Lena Hunt on Facebook©, who stated one of the best ways to honor Charlie was to participate in the things he loved, and be the Bobcat that he was — by never being too cool for school, participating in the Alumni Association, attend games, buy yearbooks and T-shirts and make others feel important like Charlie did.

Carmody’s brother Dan stated the family hasn’t yet decided how to capture the thousands of cards, guest book log entries and other memories that have been shared over the last two weeks and were added to at the memorial.

He added they will be working with school on an appropriate memorial which will incorporate as much as possible. An online fundraising campaign for his children’s education had raised a little over $31,000 and can be found here: www.gofundme.com/charlie-carmody-family-college-fund

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