On January 6th, we lost a dear team member, Charlie McCord. In Memory Of Our Teammate Charlie.
Sitting at his service among his beloved friends and family, I was honored to hear their stories and their cherished memories – some humorous, some transparently tragic, but all were sincere. I couldn’t stop thinking about my own memories of Charlie and how not a single one was negative.
Charlie joined us at Gunter over a decade ago, in 2010. Over the last twelve years, he’s been our lawn care sales lead, and if I could describe him in one word it would be “easy”. A few years ago, I interviewed everyone on our team for the get to know our team section of our website. When asked about his pet peeves, Charlie remarked, “nothing bothers me.” That sounds about right :).
As director of business development, my role is to get our brand in front of Kansas Citians and to find opportunities where our team can connect more with the community. Every year, I organize our involvement in the Brookside St. Patrick’s Day parade. And like clockwork, every year I pull out my best convincing smile to try and get team members on board to participate in our “float” on a weekend. I never had to convince Charlie, though. When I count back at least the last five years, I believe he’s the only other person who was consistently and happily alongside me for the parade. Always smiling, easy to humor, and a great guy to be around. I had fun seeing him “in his element” on our most recent company vacation in Mexico. I can picture his big smile, walking around in the sun, and just enjoying the moment.
Our co-worker, Deb, has a lot of great memories of Charlie. “We became really good friends through breaks and lunches at work, and even on our company vacation in Mexico. We loved talking to each other about our grandkids and about the Kansas City Royals – two things we had in common. He was really easy to talk to, funny and fun.”
What stood out to me most was his perseverance, his humbleness, and his positivity when times got hard. When cancer knocked at his door, he consistently showed up at work until it advanced. But it wasn’t just about work – that was the last thing we cared about when it came to Charlie’s health and hopeful recovery. I just really respected how he continued to act with grace, dignity, and with strength. He never gave up – on his family, his career, or on himself.
In the service, Charlie’s son talked about how his dad’s life was challenging during long periods, but the challenges didn’t stop Charlie from overcoming them. The lesson he learned from his dad was that no matter what you go through, you can still be the superhero of your own story, and the superhero of those around you. That’s how I’ll choose to remember Charlie, my friend, and co-worker…as a superhero who made a big mark on our team and a contributing imprint on our 72-year small business legacy. Our small business was impacted for the better when Charlie walked in.
Cheers to you, Charlie. I’m sure you’re off to greener pastures where you are (if you were here, you’d laugh and roll your eyes at my lawn care joke), but we’ll miss you here.
With love, from Hayley and the Gunter Pest team. In Memory Of Our Teammate Charlie.