Charlie Weaver: A Big Man with an Even Bigger Heart

Charlie Weaver, a big man with an even bigger heart, passed away peacefully at home in Kalkaska on January 25. Charlie lived a life of passion for Michigan’s extraordinary natural resources, guiding anglers on outstanding rivers for a living, playing music reflecting his love for this place, and devoting a huge amount of time and energy to advocating to protect and clean up Michigan, in particular in the northern lower peninsula where he lived. 

We share with you below some of the memories of Sierra Club leaders who came to know Charlie in his work as a leader of the Clearwater Committee and on many issues.  Charlie also served on the board of the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council, which provided this short biography on their webpage:

After leaving Ann Arbor, where he was a special education teacher for 20 years and earned two degrees in Education from the University of Michigan, Charlie immigrated north to become a fly fishing river guide on the Manistee, AuSable, and Pere Marquette Rivers.  Recently he has retired from that profession as well.  Since coming to the North Country, he has become involved with several environmental organizations—the Anglers of the AuSable, Upper Manistee River Association, Sierra Club-Clearwater Conservation Committee, and NMEAC.  His major concerns center around preserving the water quality of Michigan’s lakes, streams, and groundwater.  With the advent of climate change and over-population, our water is a virtual goldmine of unprecedented proportions.

Craig Brainard, Emeritus Executive Committee member: I knew Charlie from the days of fighting fracking in northern Michigan. He taught me much about the area around Grayling and Kalkaska, and the Manistee and Au Sable Rivers. 

Many people don't know that Charlie was a talented guitarist and a fine singer, as well. There is an album out with some performances of Charlie's. I'm sorry to say I don't know the name of the album; it's a tribute to a songwriter who was a friend of Charlie's. The album was featured in a book highlighting fishing songs, which I, unknowing, picked up and perused one day at a doctor's office, of all places, only to find my old pal Charlie featured in there. Charlie Weaver was a fine man, who loved fishing and northern Michigan, the natural world and Sierra Club. He will be sorely missed by many friends. Here's a link to one of his best songs, on YouTube.

David Holtz, Emeritus Executive Committee member: Charlie was an original member and force from the day the Clearwater Network was established in 2013 while I was chapter chair. Over the past nine years Charlie was engaged in locally important issues, right  up to the current controversy over Camp Grayling expansion.  He will be missed. 

Fred Miller, Conservation Committee chair: I am so sorry to hear of Charlie Weaver's passing. Anne (Woiwode) put Charlie and I together last year after both of us weighed in on the Camp Grayling expansion on the state Conservation Committee listserv. After that we had a regular email exchange on all things Camp Grayling and vicinity. I was always primed to hear Charlie's north country news, often accompanied by righteous, and sometimes off-color, indignation. I'm sorry I never got to meet him in person.

Cecilia Garcia-Linz, Administrative Assistant:  I'll miss our frequent conversations, he called and emailed me during the pandemic often to check on me and keep me from being so lonely in the office alone over the past year. He will be dearly missed by many, indeed. 
With deepest sympathy,

Christy McGillivray, Legislative and Political Director: I am heartbroken to hear this. Charlie was one of the first local leaders to welcome me to the Michigan Chapter, and we worked on several PFAS events in Grayling and Traverse City together. He went above and beyond in the work he took on. 

Lorne Beatty, Crossroads Group representative: Charlie was a kind man, a good fishing guide, an excellent birder, and in more recent years a really committed to environmental causes in northern Michigan. I first met Charlie Weaver back in the 90s near Baldwin when he was guiding on the Pere Marquette River during the Fall salmon season. Early in the morning, Charlie backed his boat on its trailer into my fishing buddy’s old truck at a motel parking lot. It was just one more dent but he was so concerned, embarrassed and apologetic, that we felt sorry for him! Rest In Peace Charlie. 

Vicki Olsen with the Clearwater Network let us know that plans for a memorial service with NMEAC and the Clearwater Network are being put together. Check on their Facebook page for updates and details

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