Charles F. Maher, 92

Charles F. Maher, age 92, of Colleyville, Tex., formerly of Quincy, died peacefully, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in the comfort of his daughter’s home, surrounded by his loving family.

Charles F. Maher

Charlie was born in Torbay, Newfoundland, Canada, to the late James and Mary Ann (Martin) Maher. He was educated by the Christian Brothers at St. Bonaventure’s College, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, and developed a long and lasting devotion to the Catholic Church and a dedication to serving others. After marrying his wife, Josephine T. Penton (Jo), on January 11, 1958, they moved to Nova Scotia, Canada, where he spent 20 years working for the Bank of Montreal, serving as Bank Manager in Halifax, a position he enjoyed and talked about all his life. Charlie earned his Bachelor of Arts from St. Mary’s University, Halifax, and a Master of Business Administration from Dalhousie University, Halifax, while at the Bank of Montreal. He supported Jo and was always so proud of her as she developed her career as a Registered Nurse. They were active members of Canadian Martyrs Parish and Halifax’s Waegwoltic Tennis and Sailing Club. In 1976, Charlie’s passion for education inspired him to make a major career and life change. With the loving support and encouragement of Jo and their five children, they moved to Amherst, Massachusetts, so that Charlie could pursue a doctorate and begin a second career in teaching and education administration.

Charlie earned his Master of Science in Business Administration (1979) and Doctorate in Education (1982) from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He joined the faculty at American International College in Springfield, initially as Professor and Chairman of the Finance Department (1979), then was appointed Dean of Faculty, Vice President of Academic Affairs (1990), and then Provost (1994). His tenure at the university was deeply impactful, both in the classroom, bringing current events and national economic challenges to his teaching, and in the administration, advocating for new programs and creating opportunities for students to reach their goals, build their careers, and take their skills back to their communities. On April 25, 1990, Charlie was recognized by Honorable Richard E. Neal, Congressman, in the House of Representatives with a tribute and flag flown over the United States Capital in Washington, D.C., for “having dedicated his life to academic excellence” and “having earned the admiration of his students and the respect of his peers.” As stated by Congressman Neal, “He is a man of tremendous talent and ability who has left his mark on the Greater Springfield community.” (from Congressional Record, Proceedings and Debates of the 101st Congress, Second Session, Washington, Wednesday, April 25, 1990).

Charlie and Jo proudly became American Citizens in 1995. He retired after 18 years at American International College, and they moved to West Yarmouth, Cape Cod, to enjoy the outdoors with their children, grandchildren, and wonderful friends. However, he and Jo missed the day-to-day family involvement and the vibrance of a city, but most of all, he missed the interactions in the classroom and the opportunities to help students. They moved to Quincy, and Charlie took an adjunct professor role at Northeastern University, Boston, teaching economics. He volunteered with SCORE in Boston, becoming a business mentor and advisor to entrepreneurs seeking to start and develop new businesses. He enjoyed riding the T into Boston, where he was immersed again in education and found great joy in being back teaching and advising.

When asked what he most enjoyed during his later years, Charlie often said, “To be useful to others, to participate in important things, and to use the gifts God has given me. I have been so blessed in my life.” His deep faith and passion for service reflected his loving Irish Catholic home and upbringing. Over many years, some of his roles included serving as a Lector and Eucharistic Minister at his beloved St. Joseph’s Church in Quincy, volunteering at soup kitchens, food pantries, and hospices, and driving friends and family in need, happily accompanying them anywhere they needed support, including to medical appointments in Boston. His and Jo’s passion for helping people in great need took them to Kingston, Jamaica, to work alongside Father Richard Ho Lung and the Missionaries of the Poor. While there, Charlie was known for being able to do “anything,” reflecting his willingness to help in whatever was needed, whether providing direct care, serving food in the kitchen, or working with the men on the building site. During all this, Charlie had a smile, a warmth that came through in his joy working side-by-side when needed, and he had a wonderful gift for putting others at ease and developing their trust.

Charlie was devoted to his family. He was quiet and humble yet had a wonderful sense of humor and was quite a jokester. With a hearty laugh and often so happy in the moment, his eyes radiated love and joy. As a Canadian raised on the icy ponds in Newfoundland, Charlie was an excellent skater, hockey player, and (after the thaw) avid tennis player. He shared those passions with his children, including a love of Boston sports, and most notably as their tennis coach for many years in Nova Scotia – practicing with them, driving to tournaments, and managing their tennis careers. In the winters in Canada, Sunday was mass in the morning, and skating at St. Mary’s University rink during the afternoon free skate with his children eagerly taking turns to join hands and “fly” around the ice with Dad. He also had a passion for music and had a great voice to go with it, often breaking into a song to reflect a particular moment or leading the singing in church accompanied by one of his children on the organ. However, Charlie’s greatest love was family holidays and get-togethers, which always included classic traditions filled with great music, love, laughter, and storytelling around the table. Having him say Grace was always a highlight of every occasion. The whole family fondly recalls many Fourths of July, when a day spent outdoors all together was topped off with a Granda-led prayer before a BarBQ and a viewing of the Boston fireworks and Pops performance – where Charlie could often be heard humming and singing along. Each of his grandchildren enjoyed their “one-on-one” time with Granda when he was their greatest champion, supporter, teacher, coach, tour guide on many trips, and fun storyteller. He reveled in their successes, from pre-school through college and beyond, and was there for them during their challenging times, making each feel special and always deeply loved.

Charlie embraced and held dear his roles of husband, Dad, Granda, and Great Granda, as well as Brother and Uncle. He was the much beloved husband for sixty-four years of the late Josephine T. “Jo” (Penton) Maher. He will be deeply missed by his daughter Catherine Burns and her husband Bob of Pinehurst, N.C., daughter Dr. Elizabeth Maher and her husband Dr. Robert Bachoo of Colleyville, TX., son Charles Maher of Manchester, N.H., daughter Mary Jo Blackington and her husband Jay of Lakewood Ranch, FL., and son Peter Maher and his wife Nancy of Charlestown. His grandchildren cherished their time with him, especially their special trips to wonderful places. Stephen Burns and his wife Keeley, and their children Teddy and Lincoln; Jennifer Burns; Charlie Blackington and Sara Blackington; Meghan Backoo and Emily Backoo; and Christine Maher.

He was the dear brother of Shirley MacKeigan of Whycocomagh, Nova Scotia, Canada, and was predeceased by Madeline Mueller, Bernard Maher, and James Maher.

Charlie is also survived by nieces, nephews, and their families, whom he loved to hear from and chat or visit with. His incredible memory would bring joy and laughter to get-togethers, especially when telling family stories of the early days in Flat Rock, Torbay, and St. John’s, Newfoundland. All will long remember him.

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated in Saint John the Baptist Church, 44 School Street, Quincy, on Friday, June 28, at 10 a.m. Relatives and friends are invited to attend. Visitation at the church prior to the Mass from 9:00 – 9:45 a.m. Interment St. Joseph Cemetery, 990 LaGrange Street, West Roxbury.

For those who wish, donations in Charlie’s memory may be made to Saint Joseph Church, c/o 556 Washington Street, Quincy, MA 02169.

Arrangements under the direction of the Sweeney Brothers Home for Funerals, 1 Independence Avenue, Quincy. You are invited to visit www.thesweeneybrothers.com or call 617-472-6344.

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