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Charles Augustine CaffreyAugust 15, 1930 ~ January 12, 2018 (age 87)
MONTOURSVILLE - Charles Augustine Caffrey, 87, formerly of Williamsport, passed away Friday, January 12, 2018 at Valley View Rehabilitation & Nursing Center following a long decline precipitated by Vascular and Lewy Body Dementia.
Born on August 15, 1930 in Plains Township, Charles was the son of the late Anthony Michael and Josephine (Brady) Caffrey. He grew up near the anthracite mines his father worked in as a boy, and the neighborhood playground on Helen Street stood in the shadow of a coal colliery and culm bank. Charles and the former Mary Alice Goobic started dating in 1950 on the day the Korean War broke out. They were married on July 2, 1953 and together they celebrated 64 years of marriage. In spite of leaving his beloved Plains in the early 1950’s, he never lost his affection for the place, its history or its people.
Innately curious and possessed of a towering intellect, Charlie was the valedictorian of the 1948 graduating class of Sacred Heart High School in Plains Township (Wilkes-Barre, PA). He enrolled at Wilkes University that fall and graduated in 1952, becoming the first in his family to earn a four-year degree. After graduating from college, Charlie was drafted into the U.S. Army where he served in Army Intelligence until being honorably discharged in 1956. After his service in the military he went to work for the National Security Agency as an analyst during the height of the Cold War with the former Soviet Union. He never spoke of what he did, other than to say he learned the Russian language. While working at the NSA, he enrolled in law school attending George Washington University at night and graduating in three and a half years. As a law student Charlie was on Law Review and passed the bar exam before earning his degree. Upon receiving his LLB from George Washington in 1959, he went to work for the National Labor Relations Board in Washington. Here his love of labor and employment law blossomed. While there he was first president of the union representing the attorneys who worked at the NLRB. While employed at the NLRB, Charlie spent two and a half years earning his LLM from Georgetown University in Washington, DC, graduating in 1962. In 1967 he accepted a position as at Stroehmann Brothers Baking in Williamsport, the country’s largest independently owned wholesale baking firm. He moved his family there in May of 1967 and fell in love with the city, never looking back and never considering leaving. He spent 22 years there, rising to the position of Vice President and General Counsel, negotiating countless labor contracts, dealing with numerous strikes and labor stoppages as well as many union organizing campaigns. He loved nothing more than negotiating contracts with the Teamsters and Bakery and Confectionery Unions in the Stroehmann footprint. Throughout his life he maintained close relationships with the union reps, the foundation of which was the mutual respect built during marathon good-faith bargaining sessions. Charlie retired from Stroehmann as Senior Vice President and General Counsel in 1989 and entered private practice, where he spent the last 18 years of his working career.
Charlie was a 50-year member of St. Boniface Catholic Church, was active in the West Branch Manufacturing Association and served on any number of labor management boards and committees. He was an avid reader of all genres especially historical and biographical works as well as the Classics. He also enjoyed hiking, mountain climbing, running and travelling, especially to Nantucket and Hawaii, and later in life enjoyed long walking tours in Europe. While attending Wilkes, Charlie played hockey on the college’s club team.
In addition to his wife, Charles is survived by two sons; Brian C. (Angelique) Caffrey of Camp Hill and Michael C. (Tamara) Caffrey of Lancaster; three grandchildren, Alayna Katherine (Scotty) Caffrey-Carr, Anthony Michael Caffrey II and Patrick H. Caffrey. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his dear siblings, brother, James Caffrey and three sisters, Mary Van’T Veld, Joan Keenan and Elizabeth Ruckno.
There will be a public viewing from 6 – 8 p.m. Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at the Maneval Allen Redmond Cremation & Funeral Home, 500 West 4th St., Williamsport. A mass of Christian Burial will be held Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 10 a.m. at St. Boniface Catholic Church, 326 Washington Blvd., Williamsport, with Father Michael Zipay officiating. Burial will follow in Wildwood Cemetery.
Memorial contributions in Charles’s name can be made to, Little Sisters of the Poor, 2999 Schurz Avenue, Bronx, NY 10465-3826.