Charles C. Tice of New York City and South Wellfleet died suddenly at Cape Cod Hospital on Sept. 14, 2022. The cause was a stroke caused by complications of diabetes. He was 81.
The son of Merton and Elfrieda Tice, Chuck was born on April 27, 1941 in Mitchell, S. Dak., the hometown of presidential candidate Sen. George McGovern. Chuck’s family were committed Democrats in a state dominated by Republican politicians, despite McGovern’s success. His parents were both circuit court judges, as was his brother, Merton.
He grew up near the Corn Palace, a landmark convention center in Mitchell known for its annual displays of murals made from corn cobs.
Chuck never forgot his childhood years as a Boy Scout. Toward the end of his life, his friend Doug Franklin said, he would challenge Doug to see who could recite the 12 Boy Scout Laws the fastest: “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” Doug did not reveal who won.
He graduated from Mitchell High School in 1959 and began college at the University of South Dakota but transferred when he received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The Army was not for him, however, so he completed his undergraduate degree in computer science at New York University.
Chuck began his career in the formative years of computer information technology, working mainly in the New York City banking sector. Politics, however, was always close to his heart.
He was active in the Community Free Democrats on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. As an early member of the Park West Village Tenants Association, he met and became friends and a fellow political organizer with now-Congressman Jerry Nadler of New York’s 10th District.
Chuck became the first person to hold the title of president of what is now known as the West Side Democrats; the club has persevered for more than 50 years. He also served as a district leader, recruiting many people for the Community Free Democrats with the sheer force of his enthusiasm, fervor, and humor. He began the club’s renowned newsletter, manually laid out with a protractor and angled ruler, its headlines applied painstakingly with Letterpress. The work wasn’t easy, often going on all night.
Chuck’s family on Cape Cod remember him best for passionate discussions about politics while sitting on the Blackfish Creek cottage porch, and they loved his stories about growing up in South Dakota.
Chuck fancied himself a novice magician, and he took great pleasure watching Richard Archer, of Archer Magic Works in Brewster, perform tricks on the cottage porch. Best of all, though, was his annual retelling of the story of how he and his wife Pam, who were married in 1968 at the Chapel of St. James the Fisherman in Wellfleet, met and came to be a couple.
After meeting at a party in Boston, where Pam was attending Boston University, Chuck decided to pay an unplanned visit to her family’s summer cottage in South Wellfleet. Pam was not present but was due back late in the evening. Pam’s brothers, sister, and parents entertained Chuck for the afternoon and evening, which involved many awkward moments.
In 2018 at Pam and Chuck’s 50th wedding anniversary celebration in South Wellfleet, this story was acted out in a series of improvisational skits performed by nieces and cousins.
Chuck, who enjoyed watching the birds at Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Sanctuary, was loud and exuberant, with a brilliant smile. Even as his health declined over the years, he remained the life of the party.
His enduring love and vocal appreciation for his wife and her work with the Ford Foundation, the Central Park Conservancy, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the New York City Mayor’s Office, American Youth Hostels, and Bike New York First, and her volunteer accomplishments, especially her South Wellfleet historical blog, were observed keenly by the younger generation.
Chuck is survived by his wife of 54 years, Pamela F. Tice. He also leaves his brother, Judge Merton B. Tice Jr. of Rapid City, S. Dak., and sister-in-law Constance Tice; sister-in-law Deborah O’Neil of Georgia and South Wellfleet; niece Lora Hollien of New York City and South Wellfleet; niece Julie Hollien of Salt Lake City; and cousins and kindred spirits Douglas and Cynthia Franklin of South Wellfleet, Jonathan Franklin of New Salem, and Abigail Franklin Archer and Richard Archer of Brewster. He also leaves many good friends in New York and on Prospect Hill in South Wellfleet.
There will be a private funeral at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan later this fall.