Family, friends and colleagues gathered last week at the Montesano Moose Lodge to share their memories of former Port of Grays Harbor Commissioner and longtime Montesano resident Chuck Caldwell.
Caldwell’s daughter Loni Crass thanked the large crowd that gathered and said her father “gave of his time over and over and over again and never expected anything in return.” She urged everyone in attendance to do the same.
Daughter Kim Lillegard had Port Commissioner Phil Papac share her remarks, and said her dad always set the bar high for the kids, but never failed to be there to support them “when the bar seemed out of reach.”
Papac then echoed what Crass had said earlier about Caldwell: “If you were a friend you were in his family.”
“What a special guy,” Papac said. “He touched a lot of lives and touched them well.” He called Caldwell “one of the last of a generation of bigger-than-life people from Montesano. We will miss him.”
Virginia Nelson said Caldwell was one of the first people she met when she moved to Montesano in 1977.
“He’s the one who made it possible to have a community center,” she said. As owner of Price and Price Realty, he took Nelson to various properties before he “finally talked me in to the place by the Bee Hive.”
Not only did he help find the right location, “He helped us find the people to build it,” Nelson said. Last year, the center served 11,500 meals.
Port of Grays Harbor Executive Director Gary Nelson spoke about Caldwell’s usual greeting when entering Nelson’s office, saying he never came in and asked about business first; “It was, ‘how’s the family.’ I grew to appreciate that.”