The loving family of Charles regrets to advise of his passing on the first day of spring, Sunday, March 21, 2021. Covid conditions resulted in funeral delay as follows: Visitation is encouraged on Monday, April 19, 2021 between 3 – 6 p.m. at Pier Community Funeral Home, 1092 Victoria Road, Sydney (opposite Holy Redeemer Church). Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 10 a.m. at Holy Rosary Parish, Westmount. As seating is limited Covid 19 restrictions are in effect. Mass will be live-streamed, URL: bit.ly/charlesmacdonald
Charles was born on December 8, 1937, in Dominion, son of the late Joe (Mayor) MacDonald and Sadie (Black) MacDonald. He is survived by wife, Sharon (Mugford); stepchildren, Carla, Giulia, and Frederick DiGiorgio; grandchildren, Sarah, Elizabeth, and Matthew MacDonald. Also survived by siblings, Gregory, Mary Gillis, and Joyce MacLean; sisters-in-law, Mona (Marsh) MacDonald, and Jeannette (Murphy) MacDonald; brothers-in-law, Darryl (Virginia) Mugford, and Winston (Rhona) Burke; along with beloved nephews, nieces, and cousins. Charles was predeceased by brothers, Daniel Vincent and John Francis; sister, Ann (Luke Gallant); brothers-in-law, Michael (Mickey) Gillis, James ‘Big Jim’ MacLean and sisters-in-law, Tissie (Gabriel) MacDonald, and Barbara (Mugford) Burke.
Charles graduated from MacDonald High, Dominion, St. Francis Xavier University and studied Theology at St. Paul’s Seminary, Ottawa, and attained his PhD following studies at Universities of Tübingen and Regensburg, Germany. He was laicized from the Roman Catholic priesthood and for 37 years continued his chosen career as Professor of Humanities (Theology) at UCCB, now CBU. He also taught Religious Education Programs within the Diocese of Antigonish. At CBU, he was instrumental in development and enhancement of the Bachelor of Arts and Mi’kmaq Studies programs, as well as the Chaplaincy, and was active with the Boardmore Playhouse and Art Gallery. He was a founding and long-time member of the Cape Breton Chorale, and at Church of the Incarnation he led congregational singing.
Charles was always an advocate and practitioner of sustainable, agricultural land management for local food security. He was a founding member and Secretary of the Mira Community Pasture Co-op, member of the NS and CB Federations of Agriculture, and the Canadian Highland Cattle Society. Active in community development, Charles served on many Boards including Cape Breton Farmers Market Co-operative (Chair), UCCB Governors, New Dawn Enterprises, BCA Holdings, Cape Breton Council of Churches, Centre Bras D’Or, Cape Breton Centre for Craft & Design, and the Cape Breton Artists Association. Despite illness in recent years, his interest in community development, the arts, and in local, provincial and world issues was never diminished.
Professional highlights of Charles life were studying in Germany under the mentorship of Prelate Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) and Dr. Hans Kung, and his exemplary teaching, mentorship and leadership career at CBU. Charles deeply loved and was loved by his wife of 36 years, his stepchildren and grandchildren, together with his life-long love of siblings and their families. He was deeply revered in our community and his legacy of inclusive community development will endure.
In lieu of flowers, donations are welcome in Charles’ memory, directed to Hospice Palliative Care at CBRH or the Sister Rita Clare Scholarship Fund, c/o Cape Breton Chorale.
Funeral Arrangements are entrusted to the care and direction of Pier Community Funeral Home.
Sharon- so sorry to hear about Charles. Please express my sympathy to the rest of your family. Sincerely Judy Patten.
From: Judy Patten
It is with heartfelt sadness that I heard of the death of Charles. I last saw him at the funerals of my father-in-law and my sister, where his attendance was a testament to his thoughtfulness and kind heart. In reading his obituary, I am sure, we are all inspired and impressed with his involvement and generosity in his service to his church, his university and his community, He and I “go back a long way” and I will always be deeply grateful for his friendship and support. His positive and respectful attitude were features appreciated by all. We express our sincere condolences to Sharon and the family.
From: Brenda and Lawrence Rankin – Edmonton
Dear Sharon, family and friends – Please accept my sincere condolences on Charles’ passing. He was a true gentleman, and a great friend to many, who lived life courageously and true to his heart. He has touched many people with his compassion, generosity, thoughtfulness, intelligence, sense of humour and courtesy. He will be dearly missed by all. My heart is with you.
From: Lydia Adams
Dear Sharon and Family – Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I( Mary) had the pleasure to know and work with Charles for many years.
From: Mary & Ralph Neville
Sharon, we don’t need to tell you what a wonderful person Charles was. You and the boys know. You and Charles were admired both as individuals and as a couple. We send our sincere condolences to you and your family.
From: Robert and Raylene Young, (Marriage Encounter)
Sincere sympathy to you Sharon and Rick , and the whole family. These last few months have been especially hard but as the days pass and the memories of your lives together as a team rewind in your minds I hope that a happy smile will come to your hearts. Charles was an exceptional person, giving so much to his family and community. The picture of him in the Post showing him at the market was classic. He met the community with warmth and sincere kindness.
Smile and know that he is with you still in your memories and hearts.
Smiling with you and looking forward to seeing you soon again.
From: Joanne Kelly
Sharon and family,
So sorry to hear of Charles passing. He was such an avid supporter of community development organizations and people around Cape Breton Island. He will be sorely missed. Sending my condolences.
From: Catherine Ann Fuller
To Sharon & Family… please accept our deepest regrets & condolences. I knew Charles as a colleague at UCCB where we interacted on several fronts, once as fellow actors on stage in the college’s very first production of a Shakespeare play, MacBeth. Charles was also very helpful to me personally in resolving a dispute with the then administration. Always a congenial man with an interesting point of view, I know that as he looks around him now in the hereafter, he is echoing King Duncan’s speech… “This castle hath a pleasant seat” … God bless…
From: David & Catherine Sneddon
Offering thoughts and condolences to Sharon, Carla and family on Charles’s passing. It was always a pleasure to speak to Charles over the years as he always showed genuine interest in the lives of those he knew. I know his presence will be missed by many.
Take care, Lena Mahoney-Petrie and Jim Petrie.
From: Lena Mahoney-Petrie
We want to express our deeply felt sympathy. Charles had been a very good friend for us ever since we met him and his family first. He will always stay in our memories.
From: Helga and Herbert Verlage from Germany
I was deeply saddened by the passing of Charles. Here was a great Cape Bretoner, one who made a difference in so many areas of our culture. Though his silence will not be broken, the family and the community can take solace in the support from an extended community. Charles had a deep belief in God and in Cape Breton. My sincere condolences to Sharon and family.
From: LeRoy Peach
My condolences on this sad occasion. I am sorry I am unable to make it to the wake or the funeral. I’ll never forget Charles.
From: Ken Langley
It was truly a pleasure to have met Charles and have got to know him. We were just remembering the time you both came over for dinner at our home in Mississauga. Charles spent the evening siting with Luigi (my dad) sharing together stories and memories of his time in the war and his childhood. Charles was a gentle and compassionate soul always thoughtful of others.
Please know that you and your family are in our thoughts and hear.
From: Antonietta and LIno Natuzzi
I offer my deepest condolences to Sharon and the entire family. Charles was a wonderful man, Professor, friend and family to me. I always enjoyed our conversations. He was an intense listener and was always engaged when he spoke with you. Charles will be missed immensely. My thoughts and prayers are with the family. His funeral was a beautiful tribute to him today.
From: Denise Dezagiacomo and Carl Mercer
Our sincere condolences to Sharon and family!
From: Theresa and Stan Katryk
Dear Sharon, family and friends,
My condolences on the passing of your beloved Charles. He was a wonderful mentor to me and all our classmates in our studies at Xavier College and the soon-to be St. FX. Sydney Campus. Charles and his colleagues Fr. Greg Mac Leod, Fr. Luke Dempsey and many other Professors introduced our class to the importance of finding and being community for our life’s journey. He was a “class” guy, a wonderful advocate and mentor to students. He guided us all by his example and encouragement to make a difference in our world. He has fought the good fight and has achieved his final reward with Summa Cum Laude honors. We will all miss his kindness and his generosity of spirit. May he rest gently! May you all find comfort and strength in the marks of affection and gestures of friendship you experience in your time of sorrow. Blessing to you. Margie Gillis
From: Marguerite Gillis
Charles’ passing leaves a gap in the lives of all Cape Bretoners whether they know him or not. His influence in so many aspects of our lives will not be forgotten. As I follow along with his service at home I am reminded of so many little moments with him that shaped my understanding of nature, music, religion and life.
May God bless and keep his loving family safe until you can be reunited in heaven.
From: Joyce Lively
Charlie W was a man before his time. Brilliant, well educated, a man of God., a true Caper. We will miss his presence here on earth.
I only met Charles a couple of times, but I totally enjoyed those times. He was truly a scholar, a gentleman, and a downright interesting guy. My condolences to his friends, former colleagues, and family.
Sharon and family, my condolences on the death of a lovely man who was accomplished in so many areas. I came to know him through his involvement with the Diploma in Ministry program at St Francis Xavier University in the early 2000s. A bright and engaging conversationalist, Charles was generous with both his time and his talents. I just saw an article on him that others might like to read. http://cbucommons.ca/rkeshen/interview-charles-macdonald/.
May he Rest In Peace. Leona English, Antigonish
Dear Sharon and family, deepest condolences from the O’Donnell family of Antigonish. Charles was dearly loved by all of us, especially Jack & Judy who thought the world of him. He was a gem and always made the day, the event, the world, a better place. God broke the mold with this special man. May he Rest In Peace. Our deepest sympathies to you all. <3
DEAR SHARON AND FAMILY
WE ARE SADDENED TO READ OF CHARLES PASSING
PLEASE ACCEPT OUR DEEPEST SYMPATHY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU AT THIS DIFFICULT TIME
WITH DEEPEST SYMPATHY WAYNE & GLORIA MUSGRAVE
(BALLS CREEK) COLE HARBOUR
Dear Sharon and Family, we are sorry to hear of Charles’ passing. The community will feel his loss sadly but with good memories. He was a brilliant intellectual and a down to earth fellow. I enjoyed his classes at CBU (UCCB then) and the challenge he set to get us thinking. I also remember going to your farm and going with him to feed the sheep. He knew their language because they came running! He knew all our language. He had a smile and a story for everyone. Fine fellow. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Sharon and family,
The world has lost a gentle spirit. So sorry for your loss. Our hearts are with you at this most difficult time.
Elisabeth Eyking and family
My sincere condolences to cousin Charles’s family. My thoughts and prayers are with your family .
Charles was my theology prof in the late 70’s. A good mentor, great conversationalist and very easy to get along with due to his open hearted approach. I’m in my mid 60’s now but he still pops up in my thoughts every now and then. Condolences…he will be remembered.
Charles was a dear friend and a valued colleague at what is now CBU. His ethical decision to remove himself from administration during the faculty strike was a towering example to us all. My most sincere condolences to Sharon and the entire family! I truly wish I could be with you in person, but please be assured my thoughts are with you at this most difficult time.
Rosemarie and I send condolence on the death of your wonderful husband Charles.
We are saddened that we did not get to see both you and Charles during the past year but the present COVID-19 environment did not permit such. However, we do hope to attend both Charles’ wake and funeral in Whitney Pier on April 19 and 20. Please let me know if such is possible for your “end.” We do look forward to seeing you and chatting with you once again.
Charles was indeed a mentor to me both during our time together at St. Paul’s Seminary in Ottawa and at both Sacred Hearth Parish and Xavier College in Sydney – all during the 1960s. So many memories come to mind as I read the news reports about his death and think back on how Charles influenced me, always for the good.
Expressions of Peace!
Dear Sharon and family,
We were sad to read of the death of your dear husband and father, Charles. It is especially difficult during this time of Covid-19. Please accept our deepest sympathies. Valerie also extends her condolences to all of you. Charles was a much loved professor and a wonderful mentor of the arts. May happy memories of your time together help support you though these dark days.
Rod Bird and Joanne Macdonald
Charles was my theology professor while attending Xavier Jr. College (now CBU) during the 72 /73 semester. I recall he had just returned from receiving his Phd in Germany. He had a unique way of challenging his students causing them to dig deep into their theological philosophies and we are all the better for his personal interest. Several times he invited us to his Esplanade flat hosting socials for his student where we were encouraged to debate topical headlines of the day. To his family members, may the fond memories you have of Charles assist in carrying you through this very difficult period.
Former student. Bernie Beaton
Dear Sharon and family Sincere condolences on Charles passing he left a lasting impression with everyone he met always a smile and a story to tell. His achievements and accomplishments was a reflection of his great life and left an impression on all who knew him may your fond memories of him help ease the pain during this sad time.
Dear Sharon & family. So sorry for your loss. Charles was a dear, kind man who always had a smile and kind words for everyone he came in contact with. I feel blessed to have worked with him. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. Margaret MacLeod
Sharon and family,
I am very saddened to learn of Charles passing. Please accept my condolences. So many people were enriched through knowing Charles, a person who could always make you feel good about yourself, no matter the circumstances. He leaves a huge void in all of our lives.
Sharon and Family
It was with sadness that we read Charles’ obituary this week. He was a great person and we remember with fondness the wonderful get-togethers over the years at Mom and Dad’s, as well as many other homes with both of you. Our love and prayers are with you and may the memories of Charles – a kind and generous person comfort you.
Sharon, Rick and family,
I retain warm memories of how kind and helpful Charles was to me when I first moved to this area many years ago now, and how I benefited from his wise counsel when I was involved in a research project under New Dawn. My sympathies to you all.
Sorry for your loss….he certainly “made a difference”. Rest in peace.
We learned only this morning of Charles’ death. I owe him a great debt. He was instrumental in my hiring for a one-year faculty post, which turned into 27 1/2 years. He was a good friend and I regret losing contact with him after we retired to Alberta. Before that he would call me now and again and we would discuss the affairs of then-CBU. We remember him fondly and know how much you will miss him; many others in the community will do likewise. We have made a contribution to An Cala in his memory. We send you our deepest condolences. David and Arlene Mullan
Sorry for your loss, our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.
Stan and Estelle
Sharon and family,
Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. God bless
Dear Sharon and family
So sorry to hear of Charles’ passing. We were colleagues and friends for a very long time, going back to the 1960s. I remember people telling me before his return that I would like him and would enjoy working with him, and that proved to be true. He was a popular teacher but also made a very significant contribution to the evolution of the institution. We enjoyed many social times together over the years. A great loss to the school and the community and all those who knew and loved him.
Dear Sharon and Family
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I had the pleasure of working with Charles for many years at the now CBU
Sharon,Mary,Joyce & Greg,
Charles was such a big part of all your lives we know you are saddened. We hope the many tributes Charles is receiving give you comfort.
Ian & Rose Marie McDonald
Dear Sharon ,Joyce ,Mary and families,
So sad to hear of my beautiful cousin and friend’s passing. Charles was such a kind and passionate friend, and we enjoyed singing and travelling with the Cape Breton Chorale for many years together. Because our grandfathers were brothers, he and I felt a special bond; and I considered him to be like an older brother to me. He always called me “Cuz”,and was so jovial and pleasant to be around. He certainly leaves a huge void in the community.My heartfelt sympathy to you and your family.May he enjoy his eternal reward.
Love and Prayers,
Arlene Mac Donald
Dear Sharon, I was greatly saddened to hear of Charles’death. He was truly a giant of a man. Please accept my sincere sympathy. It was so nice to see him and meet you during our 50th anniversary celebrations in Ottawa. You, the family and Charles are in my prayers.
My deepest sympathy to you and your family. I believe my dad met Charlie when Charlie had a summer job at CJCB, and they were friends ever since. I would see him on occasion when we were visiting Cape Breton and he was always so interested in our family. I last saw Charlie at my mother’s funeral where he spent time with my son discussing his philosophy master’s thesis, which he really appreciated.
Charlie was a man of many accomplishments and great humanity. He will be missed.
You are in our prayers.
Dear Sharon and Family,
We were saddened to hear of Charles passing. I have very fond memories from childhood of our family visits to his home in Dominion and his visits to our house to see Aunt Evelyn and Uncle Rod. We reconnected later, at the Farmers Market. It was always a special treat , when we visited CB, to see you and Charles. He found true happiness with you and the opportunity to farm. He contributed so much to society; he will be missed. Sincere condolences from Richard and me.
Dear Sharon and Family: So sorry to hear of Charles passing. Charles was my professor while studying at CBU and a tremendous help to me. Keeping you all in our Prayers! Sincerely David and Patricia Murray 🙏
Sharon and family;
So sorry to hear about Charles passing. He was a gentle , kind soul who I met as a much younger person being, I believe, a third cousin to my mother, Catherine ( Mac Cormick) Mac Dougall, Sydney River. Once married, Mom lived in Sydney River all her life but was born in Bridgeport , Dominion, and then moved to French Road. She Loved “Father Charlie” as she referred to him when I was a child. She was always so happy to see him and Sharon come to any events , the last one being her 95th birthday. Mom died at age 99 in 2017, but her remaining sister, Mary Jane Mac Mullin , age 99, can still tell stories of days gone by…she was quite saddened to hear of Charlies passing. On Saturday past we were reminiscing about some of the “old times” and she was sharing some stories of visiting the Mac Donald household as a young child. One in particular she remembered baby sitting for Charles mother when she went to gave birth to one of her children. My aunt was sixteen at the time. On behalf of my mom, my aunt, and myself, we send out heartfelt condolences. He was a wonderful person and not only a loss for all who had the honor to know him, but also, it is a loss to the community as well. Our thoughts are with you.
Dear Sharon and family Donna and I send our condolences. We are sure from his achievements he is well remembered with you at his side. While we only knew you and him as roommates following our strokes we were aware of his generous nature and commitment to his community. You are in our prayers. John and Donna
Sharon and Family,
Charles touched so many people, including me. Know that all of you are being held with care.
Sharon and George Unsworth
Sharon and family,
Sheila and I send our condolences on Charles’ passing. The last time we met was at the rehab center where all four of us had a pleasant and sometimes animated conversation. Sharon, you may remember the visit we had at the farm with our children so many years ago. Our children certainly enjoyed your and Charles’ hospitality.
Thinking of you,
Sheila and John
Cape Breton has lost one of its most stalwart and dedicated community leaders in Charles MacDonald. Like so many of the scores of people who knew him and respected Charles, I saw a few of the many dimensions of this man. It was a honour to teach religious studies courses with Charles over the years at CBU. He was a friend and mentor.
Charles and Sharon were always there for the community even during his failing health. Thomas Aquinas wrote” the things that we love tell us what we are “. With passion and generousity Charles promoted new directions and development in many areas of the community. As a professor, cultural supporter, affable farmer, community organizer and mentor to many people he set a high standard of dedication and service.
Condolence to Sharon and Family,
To Sharon & Family,
Charles MacDonald will be sorely missed by his family and vast community of colleagues and friends. Deepest sympathy to all.
Mike & Diane Morrison Lachowiez
Joyce and Family:
Our deepest condolences and prayers on the passing of Charles. He was a kind, lovely man and a great teacher and will be missed by all who knew him.
Dorine MacMaster and Family, Dominion
Sharon & Family,
Our deepest condolences on the passing of Charles. I will always have fond memories of my time spent with Charles serving on several Community Boards. Charles was a great conversationalist, listener and most importantly, a down to earth individual who contributed greatly to his community. He was a true gentleman, that I had the privilege of knowing over the years. He will be missed.
Mary Ann Vuletich & Family
I first met Charles in the mid-70s when I was a student at the College of Cape Breton. I had taken one of courses. Not only was a very good teacher but he also became a life long friend. We often crossed paths and I came to value his friendship throughout the years. When my wife passed away in 2019, he sent a thoughtful card that spoke of his kindness and generosity of spirit. I will always think fondly of him. Please accept my deepest sympathies.
Senator Dan Christmas
Will always remember having lunch at the farm, although years ago, and meeting Charles. He was so welcoming, kind, interesting and interested. Deeply sorry for your profound loss.
My condolences on the passing of Charles. He was always a great story and joke teller at parties.
Dear Sharon & family
Charles was a wonderful man.
Always gracious and kind.
My sincerest condolences.
Sharon and family,
Our condolences on your loss. Charles was a very special individual. Take care during this time.
Sharon, Joyce and family, So sorry for your loss. Charles was a
very respected man in our community. Please know I will keep you in my prayers at this time. Sincere condolences, Dianne MacAskill
To Sharon and family: please accept our deepest condolences on Charles’s passing. I have many fond memories of singing in the Chorale with Charles for over 30 years..
A very special man to all Cape Bretoners and he will certainly be missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him. We are so sorry, Sharon, for your loss.
Pauline & Dave Mckinnon
Northside East Bay
Dear Sharon and family,
My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. Charles was a remarkable person who left kind memories in people he meets. I fondly remember my chats with him at Marconi Campus where he used to pick up feed for his farm and my chats with him at the Farmers Market in Coxheath.
With love and prayers,
It was truly a great pleasure to have met Charles. We were just remembering the time you both came over for dinner at our home in Mississauga (Antonietta and Luigi.) Charles spent the evening beside Luigi (my dad) sharing conversations about life and memories.
Please know that you and your family are always in our thoughts, and our hearts.
SHARON AND FAMILY:
OUR SINCERE CONDOLANCES GO OUT TO YOU SHARON AND FAMILY
OF THE RECENT PASSING OF CHARLES. A REAL GENTLEMAN AT EVERY TURN. I FIRST MET CHARLES WHEN WE SANG WITH THE CAPE BRETON CHORALE. HE BEING ONE OF THE FOUNDING MEMBERS, HELP TO MAKE THE CHORLE A LEADING SUCCESS UNDER THE DIRECTION OF SISTER RITA CLAIRE. LATER YEARS HE BOUGHT A FARM AT POINT EDWARD WHERE HE WAS A GREAT NEIGHBOUR OF OUR DAUGHTER, ANN MARIE MACKINNON. SOME YEARS AGO OUR ANNUAL THREE DAY CAPE BRETON UNITED CHURCH MEN’S CONFERENCE HELD AT MIRA PINES CHURCH CAMP. CHARLES WAS OUR THEME SPEAKER WHICH EVERYONE ENJOYED. HE WAS A JOY TO BE AROUNG.. HIS PASSING IS SUCH A LOSS TO FAMILY AND COMMUNITY