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  • At the request of the Magothy River Association, the Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks installed a park bench honoring longtime volunteer Charlie Nolte, who passed away in 2015.
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    At the request of the Magothy River Association, the Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks installed a park bench honoring longtime volunteer Charlie Nolte, who passed away in 2015.

Bench Overlooking The Magothy River Honors Charlie Nolte

Sharon Mager
View Bio
April 3, 2018

As a tribute to a respected, beloved volunteer who treasured the Magothy waterways, the Department of Recreation and Parks recently installed a bench at Beachwood Park in honor of Charlie Nolte. The Severna Park resident and Magothy River Association volunteer passed away at the age of 79 in December 2015, but he will be remembered for years to come.

Charlie’s mother died when he was just 2 years old. He and his dad lived with Charlie’s grandparents and other relatives in a home at the end of Lake Shore Drive on the shores of the Magothy River, during the days of World War II.

“Charlie was a dear man, beloved by all,” said Maureen Carr-York, president of the Greater Severna Park Council. “He was generous, kind and sweet. He developed a tremendous attachment to the Magothy tributaries.”

As a teen, his love for the waterways grew. Charlie had a 14-foot Lyman runabout boat with an outboard motor, and he spent his free time exploring the creeks.

When the family moved to Baltimore, Charlie returned every summer to the house and his beloved Magothy, where he continued boating and went fishing and crabbing.

Charlie met his wife, Susan, as a teenager and together they enjoyed the waterways. The couple married in 1956, and in 1977 they returned to the area and settled in a house on Cattail Creek in the community of Fair Oaks. “He bought a boat before we settled in the house,” Susan Nolte said with a laugh.

Carr-York said, “I remember standing in their [Charlie and Susan’s] backyard and Charlie pointing where his grandparents’ house was, where he grew up and how important it was to him as an adult to be on same body of water, working to preserve it and how much it meant to him,” Carr-York said.

Charlie retired from the food brokerage business 20 years after their move to the Severna Park area, and he began volunteering in the community, helping with local activities, planning lunches for retirees, coordinating golf outings and scheduling tennis with the Fair Oaks community. He also served on a special committee for the YWCA called Men Against Domestic Violence.

Susan said Charlie especially enjoyed playing the piano. “If he heard something, he could play. He absolutely loved it,” she said, adding that he never took a penny for playing.

His passion through the years was to preserve the Magothy waterways. He joined the Magothy River Association and became the representative from his community association.

“He never missed a meeting,” Carr-York said. “He was especially helpful in matters concerning the environment. It was just a joy to have his many years of experience and wisdom. He would say, ‘When I was a boy, I could stand on the dock and look down and see the bottom. Look how muddy it is now, full of runoff from development.’ It was really helpful to have that perspective and point of view.”

In Fair Oaks, Charlie handled the water-testing reports so swimmers would know that the water was safe, and he participated in projects focused on growing oysters and sea grasses.

Charlie’s enjoyment of the water and his love for nature prompted Magothy River Association President Paul Spadaro and other volunteers to have Recreation and Parks install the new bench that overlooks the Magothy.

“Without asking, he always stepped up to help with MRA programs,” Spadaro said. “He was always the first to volunteer to man educational displays or self-floating gardens. He is greatly missed. He was a very kind, caring person.”

Susan said Charlie passed on his love of water to their children, David Nolte and Linda Blankenship. David, who lives in the community and has several boats, walks his three spaniels in the park, where he now gets to see his dad’s bench.

Susan said it’s a beautiful tribute. “The Magothy is the only place he wanted to live,” Susan said.

A dedication service is being planned for June 12 during Magothy River Day.

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