Chuck Parry sailing on the Chesapeake Bay

Charles G. Parry, a retired insurance executive and lifelong sailor who passed along his enthusiasm and knowledge of sailing to his youthful students, died Friday, December 3, 2010 of bladder cancer at his Chestertown home.

He was 74.

Mr. Parry, the son of a Philadelphia lumber company executive and a homemaker, was born and raised in Camden, N.J. He was a lifelong Quaker and a direct descendant of James Logan, who was William Penn’s secretary.

He was raised in Moorestown, N.J., where he graduated in 1953 from Moorestown High School.

His interest in sailing began in his childhood during summers spent at Bohemia Hill, his parent’s farm that was on the Bohemia River near Chesapeake City, and at Seaside Park Yacht Club in Seaside Park, N.J., and the Island Heights Yacht Club in Island Heights, N.J.

He earned a degree in Latin American affairs and economics in 1957 from Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y., where he was a member and competitor for the university’s sailing team.

After college, Mr. Parry served in the Navy as a damage control officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid and attained the rank of lieutenant junior grade.

Following his naval service, Mr. Parry went to work in 1964 for the Reliance Insurance Co. in Philadelphia, and was assigned to company offices in New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York City.

In 1975, he became a chartered property and casualty underwriter and was the company’s senior compliance officer at the time of his retirement in 2000.

“He didn’t define himself as an insurance man but rather as a sailor,” said his wife of 46 years, the former Linda Platt, a former newspaper reporter.

The former Medford, N.J., resident who moved to Chestertown full time in 2001, was also an experienced boat builder.

“He crafted boats ranging in size from Penguins, Optimists and dinghies to a 26-foot one-design heel boat, Gardyloo which is still raced in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay out of Annapolis under new ownership,” said Mrs. Parry.

Mr. Parry was a member of the Rock Hall Yacht Club. During his four year tenure from 2002 to 2006 as commodore, he established the Rock Hall Yacht Club Sailing School for children from 5 to 14, who endearingly referred to their instructor as “Mr. Chuck.”

“He always wanted a place for children to learn how to sail. He was a very humble and modest man who didn’t want any accolades. He just wanted to give kids confidence on the water,” Mrs. Parry said. “His legacy will be those more than 670 kids he taught to sail.”


Charles G. Parry, sailing school founder

By Sally A. Downey

Inquirer Staff Writer

Charles George Parry, 74, formerly of Medford, a retired insurance executive, an avid sailor, and founder of the Rock Hall Yacht Club Sailing School, died of bladder cancer Friday, Dec. 3, at home in Chestertown, Md.Mr. Parry was with Reliance Insurance Co. for 36 years in offices in North Jersey, Detroit, New York, Haddonfield, Radnor, and Philadelphia. He became a chartered property and casualty underwriter in 1975 and retired as Reliance’s senior compliance officer in Philadelphia in 2000.

Mr. Parry grew up in Moorestown and summered in Seaside Park, where he learned to sail.

He and his wife, Linda Platt Parry, lived in Medford for 25 years before moving to Chestertown in 2001. The next year, he became commodore of the Rock Hall Yacht Club. During his tenure, he established the sailing school for children 5 to 14. He taught more than 600 students, who called him “Mr. Chuck,” his wife said. Among them were children with learning disabilities.

One of his proudest achievements was bringing the USA Junior Olympic Chesapeake Bay Open Sailing Festival to the Rock Hall club in July, his wife said.

A craftsman, he built boats ranging in size from dinghies to a 26-foot keel boat.

A lifelong Quaker, Mr. Parry was a descendant of James Logan, William Penn’s secretary. He graduated from Moorestown High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University, where he was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity and competed on the sailing team. After graduating, he served in the Navy in Newport, R.I., and aboard the aircraft carrier Intrepid.

In addition to his wife of 46 years, Mr. Parry is survived by a son, Albert; daughters Vanessa Ross and Kathryn Mathis; two sisters; and seven grandchildren.

A memorial service will be at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 7579 Sandy Bottom Rd., Chestertown, Md. Donations may be made to the Rock Hall Yacht Club Sailing School, Box 163, Chestertown, Md. 21620.


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