Island Cremations & Funeral Home ~ Merritt Island, Florida ~ 321-454-3331



December 17, 1926 - August 24, 2017

U.S. Veteran

A Celebration of Chuck’s life is planned for Sunday, November 19, 2017, starting at 1:00 pm until closing, at the Tortoise Island Clubhouse, 727 Loggerhead Island Dr., Satellite Beach, FL  32937.  If you have photos, please bring them to share along with your memories of good times with Chuck. Come and share your stories and anecdotes of Chuck with us all!

         Charles Edwin Reed, “Chuck Reed”, “Big Charlie”

December 17, 1926 – August 24, 2017


A Larger than Life Sailing Figure, Captain, Pilot, Journalist and encouraging friend to many, died at his home at the young age of 90, the passing of the last surviving member of a Brevard pioneer family.


Due to an outbreak of scarlet fever in 1926, Chuck was born in a hospital in Orlando. His mother, Mary Clare Reed, was quarantined in Orlando while Chuck’s grandmother Reed took him home to Indianola until Mary Clare returned.


Chuck often spoke of his great grandfathers, Copeland and Reed, who left Georgia immediately after the Civil War to settle on Merritt Island to avoid ever seeing another Yankee. This was a humorous anecdote, which Chuck referred to frequently. Politically incorrect or not, Chuck was a proud descendent of those Florida Crackers: The Fields, Copelands and Reeds.


At the age of 8, after his father passed away, his grandfather built him his first boat. Grandmother Reed taught Chuck how to sail from Indianola to Cocoa.  She also taught him how to fish, hunt and eat “cold clabber, corn bread and canned coot”. He grew up boating and sailing on the Indian River, which remained his first true love. Chuck lived in Cocoa and later Rockledge where he attended local schools, was active in athletics, and won a scholarship to Georgia Tech, where he graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering.


He pursued many successful endeavors in New York City, Chicago, Minneapolis, California, British Virgin Islands and Central and South America.  In the late 50’s, he returned to Cocoa and began working in real estate with Mary Clare and her second husband Joe Moore. Shortly thereafter, he returned to sailing, his first passion.


Chuck was an accomplished sailor; sailing locally, the East Coast, Bahamas, Caribbean, Venezuela and numerous Atlantic crossings. He captained for foreign diplomats, celebrities and regular folks. Chuck was an inspiration to those who loved sailing, racing and boats. He enjoyed flying for many years and encouraged many “Young Eagles” in the Experimental Aircraft Association program.


Here are a few people fortunate enough to have called him “friend”, and, who gave him support and love recently, up until the end:


Bob and Holly Harper (Rummell)

David Hendry

Dave, Mary and Jack Smith, Family

Sarah Fellows (Strickland)

Marcellus Rambo Jr. and Debbie Benson

Larry Johnston

Nick Wynne

Irving Rubin

Family members of Julio Sousa Sr. (R.I.P.)

Ricardo and Desiree Sousa

Eduardo Sousa

Harry and Pat Bennett

Jeanne and Jim Kenaston

Phyllis and John Atkinson

Travis Ringo

Ash Hough

Dr. Edward “Tiger” Lewis

Dr. David Woolsey

Joe and Diane Whitley

Drew O’Brien

Brad Whitmore

Grant Hoskins, and Family

Chris and Mary Ann Syms

Janet Dart

Many of his “Big Charlie and the Good Ole Days” friends include:

Marsha and Jerry Davis

Ty, Judy and Bruce Harris

Jim and Francheska Dawson

Roy and Mary Berry

…and many others who lived the “Sailing Racing Circuit” with him years ago.


(We are sorry if we have omitted anyone. However, if you make it to the Celebration of Chuck’s Life you will have a chance to share your experiences of Chuck with us all!)


Chuck’s daily presence will be forever missed by Diana B.-Rymsha, his dear friend, medical “go-to” and loving companion since 1996. He will also be missed by Fern Crowder, his caregiving assistant and friend in the last days. Many sincere thanks to Hospice of St. Francis, especially Ann Frances RN, and Donna McKinney PCA, for their compassionate, mental, physical and spiritual support provided to Chuck, Diana and Fern during Chuck’s last days at home.


He missed his departed friends, who include:

Dick and Holly Rummell

Julio Sousa Sr.

Steve Davis

Dr. Robert Sakolsky, “Doc”

Barney and Dee Waters

Bennett Scheuer

Mrs. Betty Ann Smith

Mrs. Betty Hough

Penny Turtle

Marcellus Rambo Benson Sr. and wife Jean

Hoot Ringo

Ty and Phyllis Harris

Ella Doolin

Henry Kipp

Dr. Dean Woolsey

Vince Barber


Chuck’s love of words, reading and curiosity molded his intellect, keen wit, sense of humor and love of life. His various activities usually involved projects, such as boat designing and building, mentoring the EAA “Young Eagles” and his love of people. He remained active and involved in the Cocoa Historical Society Museum Library and Mosquito Beaters, AOPA, Moose and Elks Club. In his youth, he was a very active President of the Cocoa Jaycees organization.


He also wrote a very popular column, first in the Merritt Island Press, and later in the Florida Today Newspaper, entitled, “Those Days Remembered”, which featured descriptive banter, (much of it the real history of early Cocoa and Rockledge area), between Chuck and his alter ego, “the Old Timer”.  His stories emphasized positive morals and ideals from the past in a humorously entertaining, yet enlightened way.


Chuck was slowed down in the last two years by severe age-related macular degeneration, which halted his beloved ability to read or travel on his candy-apple red electric chariot. He had become a recognizable icon on River Road, riding his red scooter with the American Flag proudly flying behind.


A wonderful raconteur, his stories of adventures – sailing, racing or flying – were always fresh and entertaining.  He counted among his friends people from every walk of life. Many of those people benefited greatly from his experience, encouragement and expertise. His legendary accomplishments in sailing, knowledge of boats, racing and cruising were always welcome.


His spirit remained indomitable and his curiosity and interest in world affairs never waned until three days before his death. His passing has left large voids in the lives of those who loved him well, but now he has “Crossed the Bar”, setting sail for a new, unknown adventure.




In lieu of flowers, you may wish to contribute in Chuck’s memory to the Mosquito Beaters, to the Library of Florida History, . (This is a 501 (c) (3), non-profit, tax exempt organization).

  • On the right side of the page, click on one of the donation dollar amount boxes.
  • Please type in the “Write a note” box, “For Mosquito Beaters in Honor of Chuck Reed”.
  • Finish filling out the fields with your information, and click “Donate Now”.

Or, call 321-690-1971. Mosquito Beaters and the Library of Florida History are both located at 435 Brevard Avenue, Cocoa, FL  32922.


You may also wish to donate to the Experimental Aircraft Association at the Aviation Center “Young Eagles Program” by going to  (This is also a 501 (c) (3), non-profit, tax exempt organization).

  • In the “Use my Donation to Support” box, type “Young Eagles”.
  • Then, click on “Dedicate this gift to a friend” and in the “In Memory Of…” box, type “Chuck Reed.
  • If you have further questions, call the EAA at 920-426-4800


I would like to extend my gratitude to the following for their input and patience in helping me compose Chuck’s obituary:

Holly Harper Mentillo

Bob Harper

Rambo Benson

Jeannie Kenaston



Diana B.- Rymsha