Charles “Charlie” Gardner Butterworth

Charlie Butterworth was a free spirit and the happiest of souls. His impact on every single person he encountered in his 20 years is profound. He was a pillar of strength in his community and his passion has reminded us of the importance of chasing a dream. Charlie longed for adventure in his life and the same for those who surrounded him. In his eyes, fellowship was one of the most righteous gifts one could give. Charlie’s fellowship had a way of pushing his friends and family to do amazing things, even when it seemed out of their personal bounds.

Charlie’s paper on faith explains that fellowship, an interaction amongst peers, brings benefit and allows for self–development and exponential growth because of one’s relationship with others. Charlie advises us that “through fellowship of friends and family with a common goal, one can grow spiritually, physically, and emotionally.” He reminds us of the infinite value of peer–group involvement in the personal struggle to define ourselves spiritually. This symbiotic relationship among comrades may serve to replace the traditional means of teacher–student instruction, allowing for boundless maturation of the spirit. Charlie recognized that strong fellowship is necessary to take ones faith in a higher power to that next level, where life experiences allow it to take on a more tangible dimension.

Charlie’s loving push led people to become more than they ever thought they could be.

As an Eagle Scout, he learned skills necessary to care for others and survive in the wilderness. Very much a talker, he shared these wisdoms with all that would listen. When he died, Charlie possessed an amazing list of accomplishments longer than most would accrue in 100 years. He left us incredible memories of these journeys: fly–fishing and rowing the waters of the Adirondacks with family, rafting the Grand Canyon with his father, an uncountable number of backpacking trips with his friends, and serving underprivileged children in Uganda and Kenya with his church.

Charlie lived his life to the absolute fullest, day after day. He was never one to sit around and let life pass him by. This “get up and go” attitude took him places most people would never dream of; his hunger was insatiable. There was always another river to paddle, another rock to climb, and another trail to hike. His motto: “Carpe Diem.” Charlie was a friend to everyone. He never left anyone behind and his companionship was accepted everywhere he went. He always had a grin on his face and open arms to give one of his amazing hugs.

Doing justice to a spirit so great is no easy task. The Appalachian Trail presents the ultimate opportunity to honor Charlie’s philosophy and inspire others to do the same. An organization called World Vision enabled Charlie’s service work in Africa. On this site, there is soon to be a link to donate to this beautiful foundation.

His legacy and spirit lives on in all who love him. We love you Charlie! You’ll be with us on the trail, keeping a watchful eye and likely influencing the size of our fires. Thank you for inspiring, for fellowship, and for being you.

Emulate his spirit... it’s as easy as smiling!

Charlie’s Life of Service


Happening is a spiritual retreat for High School students that Charlie participated in during the fall semester of his freshman year. He was so moved by the experience that he volunteered at the seven other Happening events that took place during his high school years. His goal was to offer the same life changing spiritual experience for other youth.

Costa Rica

Charlie traveled to Costa Rica on a mission trip with St. John’s Episcopal youth group. He spent the week assisting in the renovation of a mission church in San Jose.

New Orleans

For two years in a row Charlie spent his spring break vacations on a mission trip to New Orleans to assist in the reconstruction of the area after Hurricane Katrina.

Room In The Inn

On Thursday evenings during the winter months you would usually find Charlie doing homeless people’s laundry as part of the church’s Room In The Inn program.


In August of 2006 Charlie was chosen to travel to Uganda as a representative of World Vision. Through Invisible Children’s food distribution site, he worked to feed malnourished refugee children from Sudan and built a lasting relationship with a 13 year old boy named Ronald. Charlie credited this trip as a life–changing experience.

World Vision

Charlie was chosen to be the youth national spokesperson for World Vision’s 2007 30 Hr. Famine. He was featured on the promotional video that was distributed to over 20,000 schools and churches in America.


Read Charlie’s final essay regarding fellowship »