Charlie Burgess

Recommended Posts

Charlie Burgess, long a familiar figure at DZs in New England and Florida, died earlier this week after a long battle with cancer.
He was the husband of Sally Burgess, who has participated in most of the large RW records over the past decade, and Charlie was always there with her. His exuberant celebration at the 400-way in Thailand was captured by BBC television news and broadcast around the world.
Although he had not jumped much in recent years, he was active in the life of drop zones both in his native Massachusetts and in Florida, where he had had an ownership interest in a DZ in the Tampa area.
Many jumpers first met him soon after they landed off the DZ, or at the far end of the field; his white van quickly showed up to give them a ride back.
Others met him when they were struggling to straighten out a canopy hopelessly tangled after a cutaway, or when they were struggling to pack a new canopy. He quickly took over the situation, straightening out the mess or giving direct, no-nonsense packing lessons.
His generosity and kindness were usually hidden behind a gruff, Boston street-wise exterior, often perceived as grumpiness until you learned that he really liked you and really wanted to help -- he just didn't want you to know it.
He will be missed.
In celebration of his life, there will be a missing-man skydive and circle of remembrance Saturday, May 31 at 5 p.m. at the Pepperell, MA skydiving center. The dive has been designed by Tom McLaughlin.
As Tom and Wendy will be in Florida at that time, Tom will organize a similar dive at the same time at Skydive City, Zephyrhills.
There will also be a Celebration of Life Sunday Jun 1, at 1 p.m at Magnolia Beach in Gloucester MA.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to
The Home for Little Wanderers
271 Huntington Ave, Boston MA 02115


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't remember meeting Charlie, but I knew Sally from the big ways. Sally, please pass on my condolences to your family. [:/]

"Mediocre people don't like high achievers, and high achievers don't like mediocre people." - SIX TIME National Champion coach Nick Saban

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
It’s a sad day. Charlie was a great guy. I met him many years a go when we hit it off and finished his AFF training at Z-hill.

Under that tough Boston persona was a man who had a heart of gold. He would give you the shirt off his back and not think twice about it. He will be missed by many. My thoughts are with you Sally.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
The DZ will never be the same. Charlie was always around. I first met him when he picked me up from a long spot. He taught me how to pro-pack even though I never asked. He was always helping out fellow jumpers. Great sense of humor too!
My thoughts and prayers with you Sally.
-Peter Blake

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Sally. I'm sorry to hear of your loss. It was always a pleasure to run into you and Charlie. Both of you always greeted us with such a kind, sweet spirit and friendly disposition. I hope you will be encouraged by friends and family, as I'm sure you will greatly miss Charlie. I will tell Annie & Rosalyn. You will be in our thoughts. Love, Olivia

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
charlie picked me up in his van after i landed at the far end of the field last month during my recurrency jump after the long winter. it was my 39th jump. the first thing he said to me was, "you fly like shit!"

charlie had followed my canopy from opening to landing, and that comment, together with the knowledge that charlie was watching out for me both in the sky and on the ground, made me appreciate even more just how special a person he was.

i feel blessed to have been "harassed" by charlie and am certain i will be a better skydiver thanks to him. he will long stay in my heart and head.

blue skies, charlie.

sally, you found one hell of a guy. sincere condolences from both me and jeanne.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
I heard sad news the other day,
Another friend had passed away
Leaving those he love behind
With thoughts and pictures to remind.

He was a gruff one, hard to read,
But quick to help someone in need,
And glowing tales are being told
Of the crusty guy with heart of gold.

He took so many under wing
To teach and guide in skydiving,
And taught, or tried to, how to pack
Parachutes...he had a knack.

My own memory of him is fond
And I'm sorry he is gone,
Though there never really is an end
When someone has been such a friend.

He showed me how to pack my stuff,
Patient, quick, a little gruff,
And once even helped to fix my ride
When my alternator died.

Thank you, Charley, for being there,
And for showing all how much you care
For the people and community,
And I hope somewhere your soul flies free.

Sandi Canfield

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
There are stars in the sky,
so far away we only see their light
long, long after the star itself is gone...

And so it is, with people that we love
their memories keep shining
ever brightly though their time with us has passed

And the stars that light up the darkest nights, these are the lights that guide us

As we live our days, these are the ways
we remember

Charlie, I am counting on you to be the brightest light of all, guiding us now as you have always

with love,

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
What I will miss most about Charlie is his sincerity. When he spoke to you, it came from the heart. It didn't matter what the subject; parachutes, yard work or just life in general. He was like that with everyone as far as I could tell. Life long friend or new jumper on the DZ, when you were talking with Charlie or just hanging out, he was always sincere.

I will also miss the way Charlie treated people. He was always helping others. It didn't matter whether it was helping pack a parachute, running down the road in his van to pick up stray jumpers, helping set up a tent, or even helping carry groceries to a barbeque, if Charlie saw that you could use a hand, he always stepped in and helped. You never had to ask for help, because he just did it, and he would never accept the "thank you" that would follow. He treated us all well like that. I'm really going to miss that about Charlie.

I made 3 jumps with Charlie over the last few years. All hop n pops. All unplanned. Just hopping on a last minute load. "Hey you want to launch a two way?" he'd ask; "Sure thing" I'd say, and out we'd go. I say this only because 1) I used to brag to Mary that I had made 3 jumps with Charlie to her O jumps, and 2) because seeing Charlie in freefall reminded me of why we all skydive. Those jumps were maybe 15 second delays, yet every second of the delay, Charlie was grinning ear to ear. It makes me smile as I think back to those jumps.

So those are two of the things I wanted to share about Charlie. Two of the things I will miss the most about him.

Charlie was an original recipe, that's for sure. A real life American Bad Ass, but there was also a kind, caring side of him that Mary and I were fortunate to see quite often when we were with him.

Sally, our thoughts and prayers are with you. Mary and I will be flying up on Saturday for the memorial and service.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.