Charles B. Gareau, formerly of Truro, died peacefully at his home in Millbury on Nov. 21, 2022 with his family by his side. The cause was Lewy Body Syndrome. He was 76.
The son of Bernard and Adrienne (Landry) Gareau, Charles Bernard Gareau was born on Sept. 11, 1946 in Worcester and grew up in Northbridge. He was proud of his French-Canadian heritage, which he displayed by wearing a French beret and adding a dash of brio via saddle shoes, ties, and vests.
Charlie attended Assumption Preparatory School in Worcester, graduating in 1964. He majored in psychology at Notre Dame and earned pocket money by helping a French professor grade papers.
At Notre Dame, he met his lifelong friend Jim Bisceglia of Truro. With little social life on campus, Jim said, the two traveled a lot, mostly by hitchhiking. One year they set out for New Orleans for the Mardi Gras. They never made it, said Jim, for once drivers heard their New England accents they refused them rides. One year they did make it to the Kentucky Derby, however.
Charlie earned a master’s degree in education from Worcester State University and went on to teach social studies and geography for 35 years at Grafton Middle School, where, his wife, Christine, said, “He was admired by fellow educators and adored by his students.”
When not in the classroom he was most often on the tennis court. He enjoyed both playing and coaching the varsity team at Grafton High School.
It was at the Grafton Public Schools that Charlie met Christine Colaizzi. After a long courtship, they married on Dec. 30, 2006, each bringing two children from their previous marriages. It was, said Christine, “a wonderful bond of love and friendship.”
They lived in Shrewsbury for many years, but they loved Truro. After years of visits, Charlie and Christine bought a house off South Highland Road, which they named “Life’s Dream.” They shared 15 years there.
Charlie loved riding waves at his favorite Truro spot, Coast Guard Beach. He also loved solitude in nature: he would walk the beach with two fly swatters sticking up out of his backpack, and he could often be found meticulously caring for his yard, picking up pine needles and carefully placing rocks that he collected from the beach and separated by color in his garden.
In addition to peaceful moments alone, Charlie embraced many loved ones who frequently filled the house and gathered around the family’s table.
Charlie loved simple pleasures: Coca-Cola, Dairy Queen (large chocolate, chocolate dip), and Snickers. “He was intelligent, pure of heart, humble, and even quirky, easily recognized by his warm smile,” said Christine.
He leaves his wife, Christine M. (Colaizzi) Gareau of Millbury; his children, Bryan Gareau of Uxbridge, Maggie McNeil and husband Brian of Worcester, Matthew Cotto and partner Jordan of South Burlington, Vt., and Paul Cotto and wife Courtney of Boston; his grandchildren, Oliver, Sadie, Harlen, Vincent, and Quinn; his brother, Bernard “Joe” Gareau and wife Donna of Homer, Alaska; and his sister-in-law, Maryann Colaizzi of Somerville.
Family and friends remembered Charlie’s life on Dec. 3 at St. Peter’s Church in Northbridge and at Highfields Country Club in Grafton. In lieu of flowers, donations in his name may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 309 Waverly Oaks Road, Waltham 02442.