January 21, 1926 – December 29, 2018
A Remembrance by Rev. R.C. Smith (former pastor of College Hill Presbyterian Church of Easton)
When I started my ministry at College Hill Presbyterian Church in August of 2000, Charlie Staples immediately volunteered to take me around to introduce me to the “shut-ins” and members in nursing homes. Thus began a deep friendship that lasted throughout my 17-1/2 years in Easton. During that time I was blessed by dozens of gracious encounters with Charlie. These included conversations in the church office, luncheons at local restaurants (where everyone knew Charlie), and then, in the last few years, visits at Country Meadows. Every visit included at some point a discussion of events in Lehigh Presbytery and its churches.
To borrow a phrase, Charlie was a man in whom there was no guile. He was genuine, humble, and totally unapologetic for his extroverted and loquacious nature. There was no such thing as a “short conversation” with him. He would call me at the church and begin by saying, “Now I’m only going to keep you a minute,” even though we both knew that would not be the case. I welcomed each and every call.
Charlie was a man of great generosity. He lived simply, he shared much. For me, his generosity mainly took the form of lunch invitations…and books. On one of my last visits with him he gave me a wonderful book by the Catholic writer and editor, Robert Ellsberg. All Saints is a compilation of “daily reflections on saints, prophets, and witnesses for our time.” In his introduction, Ellsberg writes, “[We] recognize that there are certain people whose lives, in some extraordinary fashion, proclaim the mystery of the gospel….To be a saint is to live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God did not exist.”
I am ever thankful to have been blessed by the saintliness of Charlie Staples.