Charles Waddington died peacefully in his sleep Dec. 27, 2009, at his beloved home on the beach in El Sargento, Mexico. He was 94.
Charles William Waddington, known as Chuck, was born in Memphis, Tenn., on Sept. 17, 1915 and later moved with family to Pasadena, Calif. As a teenager in California, he learned to surf and to ski in the 1930s and skiing became a lifetime passion for him. Trained as a machinist, he was stationed in Washington, D.C. and served in the Navy during World War II. After the war, he lived in Europe to ski for a number of years.
In 1949, Chuck arrived in Aspen, Colo. and became one of Aspen’s original skiing pioneers. Chuck was one of the early employees of the Aspen Skiing Corp., working on the Ski Patrol on Aspen Mountain. He felt this was a great job to have in a great place to live.
He met Lorna Body in Aspen in December 1952; they were married in April 1953. Determined to build a lodge in Aspen, Lorna and Chuck lived and worked in California for two years to earn enough money to finance construction of a new lodge. They returned to Aspen in 1955 and built the Chalet Lisl lodge on three lots facing Little Nell. They owned and operated the Chalet Lisl until 1976. The Chalet Lisl is still in business in Aspen.
In 1976, the Waddingtons moved to Durango, Colo. In the 1980s, Chuck took up wind surfing which eventually led them to the purchase of property in the Baja community of El Sargento, Mexico, an emerging wind surfing community. They were one of the first non-Mexicans to build a home in the community.
He was known to all for his wide-ranging interests, his active intellectual curiosity, and his ability to fix all types of machinery and tools. He enjoyed a wide circle of friends in Colorado and Mexico. He was a weekly volunteer at the Durango Methodist Thrift Shop for many years. He also donated and then keep in repair sewing machines for many Mexican women in the El Sargento village.
A sister, Mellie Ann Espey preceded him in death. Chuck is survived by his wife, Lorna; daughters Liz McCormack and Ruth Rydiger, both of Durango; four grandchildren, Craig and Erin McCormack and Amanda and Kerry Rydiger, also of Durango; son-in-laws Steve McCormack and Bob Rydiger; nieces Katie and Barbie; and nephew Charles Espey.
He was buried in the El Sargento cemetery, the first gringo buried there. A memorial service date will be announced at a later time.
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