Charles W. Birlem
It is with the heaviest of hearts that we share the loss of Charles Wallace Birlem, who passed away quite suddenly and far too soon on March 9, 2023. Charlie was a young 78 years old, born on July 15, 1944 and we had planned on exasperatingly trying to stop him from cleaning his own gutters and mowing his own steep and giant lawn for many, many more years.
Charlie was the most steadfast, devoted and kind father and husband that a family could ever ask for. He is survived by his three children, Ian (Michele Hart), Peter (Dana Love) and Margaret (Noelle DeLuca), his second wife, Rosalie (Baker) Birlem and her son, Chip Baker (Jen Baker) as well as his grandchildren, Miles Birlem, Norah and Wallace DeLuca, Parker and Brooks Baker and his sister LynneBirlem. All of us will miss him greatly.
Charlie was born in Southwest Harbor, Maine to Charles Wallace Birlem Sr. and Margaret Mullholland. After finally making the basketball team in elementary school, but not being good enough to get his own jersey, he finally left and attended Hebron Academy (1962), traveled far away for college at Colby (1966) and received his MBA closer to home at UMaine, Orono (to be honest, he also flunked economics and had to take a summer school class at UC Boulder - something he reminded us of constantly when we failed at things in life). It was at UMaine that he met the first love of his life, Ellen (Davis) Birlem when both of their cars wouldn’t start because of the cold and they shared a ride to school with a mutual friend. Ellen made him move into the back seat so she could be closer to the heater and it was love at first sight. She passed away in 2015 surrounded by her devoted family, one year shy of their 50th anniversary. Charlie was blessed to have met (2017) and married the second love of his life, Rosalie Baker in 2019, with whom he has spent the last number of years exploring the many tiny and fascinating towns of Maine and visiting every historical site possible, cooking fabulous meals and reading in their chairs together nightly.
Charlie was a financial controller, and constantly used his skills at home by never letting any of us order appetizers at restaurants, ensuring our new clothes were purchased so large that we looked ridiculous (but could wear them for years) and always getting the sale price on everything. He had a stellar career working for GTE, which enabled him to care for his family through moves from North Carolina, Connecticut, Montreal, New York, Tennessee and Massachusetts before finally retiring home to his beloved state of Maine and his deepwater anchorage of Boothbay. Charlie was active in the Boothbay community volunteering at the Botanical Garden, providing old man shuttle tours (his term for them) through the gardens for those who couldn’t walk, showing every single detail of the garden to visitors with humor and fun. He was deeply connected to the community of Sawyer’s Island and his social planning skills will be sorely missed.
Services will be held on Saturday, April 1 at 9:30 a.m. at Halls of Boothbay. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you take your grandchildren out for ice cream or buy a bottle of wine to share with your spouse and remember him with the love that we all feel.
Hall’s of Boothbay has care of the arrangements. To extend online condolences, light a candle for Charles, or to share a story or picture, please visit his Book of Memories at www.hallfuneralhomes.com
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