Charley McIntyre
(1922 - 2008)

Charley McIntyre's Blog

George Pocock and Charley McIntyre about 1950

Charley McIntyre about 2007
Obituary Charley McIntyre (1922 - 2008)

The Seattle rowing community lost one of its best-known senior figures Wednesday when Philadelphia-born Charley McIntyre died after the Phillies had won the World Series.

"The Phillies won it all and he was ready to go," said his son, also named Charley.

Mr. McIntyre, 85, died of lung cancer.

In 1944, Jack Kelly asked Mr. McIntyre and his two brothers, Richard and Joseph, to row for the reopened Vesper Rowing Club on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. Kelly, a legendary American rower who won three Olympic gold medals, was the father of the late actress Grace Kelly, who became the princess of Monaco, and oarsman John B. Kelly Jr.

During his career, Mr. McIntyre won five national titles in double sculls (two rowers each with two oars) and many major championships in single sculls and quadruple sculls. He and his son, Charley, competed last year in the world masters regatta in Croatia.

In 1949, Mr. McIntyre and his brothers moved to Seattle, where they started a rowing program at the Seattle Tennis Club and competed nationally.

Seattle rowing icon George Pocock refined their technique and Mr. McIntyre passed on the knowledge for more than four decades. The Charley McIntyre Rowing Club is affiliated with the Pocock Rowing Center.

Mr. McIntyre attended North Catholic and Central high schools in Philadelphia, played football at Villanova, and graduated from Washington in 1951.

He was an investment broker and also taught skiing for decades at the Snoqualmie Pass ski areas.

Mr. McIntyre's son said two types of cancer were in his father's lungs. One was from a skin cancer that had moved to the lungs, and the other might have been from carcinogens inhaled during World War II shipyard work.

He is survived by his first wife, Ann Cummins, and children Bridget Cooley of Seattle, Molly Fitch of Seattle, Maura Imperatore of Riverside, Conn., and Charley of San Francisco. He also is survived by his second wife, Mary Martha Curo of Seattle, and children Joseph of Portland and Meghan of Seattle.

A memorial service will be held at noon Nov. 14 at St. James Cathedral on First Hill. Suggested donations are to the Charley McIntyre Rowing Club for purchase of a shell in his honor, or to the cancer charity of the donor's choice.

Memorial Row Information:

The Charley McIntyre Rowing Club (CMRC) invite all rowers to join us in a Memorial Row for our founder and namesake, Charley McIntyre, who died October 29th. This is a row and not a race. It will be held on Sunday, November 16th beginning at 9:00 am from Pocock Rowing Center. The intent, weather permitting, is to start the row from the Lake Washington Boathouse waters head south about half way down Lake Union then across and up the east side of the lake, past Lake Union Crew, through the passage to Portage Bay. From Portage Bay we will row through the Cut and make a large turn past Conibear Boat house. From Union Bay we return to our boathouses. Rowers can join from any boathouse at any point in the procession. We hope to be at LWRC at 9:30 a.m. The intent of this row is to take a trip through that part of Northwest Rowing History held dear by Charley. We will row past the LWRC Fremont boathouse, then south past boathouses, one of which was in a movie, Sleepless in Seattle. We will cross Lake Union taking in the Seattle skyline and spot the Garfield Boathouse of LWRC, then up the lake to the newest boathouse, Lake Union Crew. Just before we reach Lake Union we row past the location of Boeing‚s first plane plant where George Pocock and his brothers worked. As we round the head leading into Portage Bay, we will pass the Pocock Boat Works on the North Shore and the Boathouse bearing George Pocock‚s name on the South. As we approach the Cut we will see the location of the first Pocock boat shop on Portage Bay and just through the Cut, the location of the second Pocock boat works and the U of W crew house. Making a large turn in Union Bay every scene is full of rowing history. Then, back to our boathouses. With this invitation you will find a program with a map of the area and a short history of Charley. Print it out-one page-two sided-fold in half.    Please join us. Charley loved the look of orange on the water and we ask you to wear any orange jersey or t-shirt on top of regular sweats. Anyone who wants to row but is without a boat, come to Pocock Rowing Center by 8:30 a.m. and we will put something together.

Coffee at Café Louisa (Eastlake and Louisa)  after the Row is on us.

Questions, contact Jim Roe at or any member of CMRC.

My "Charley" story by Guy Harper:

During the summer of 1988, the Seattle Yacht Club organized a member men's rowing group that had the use of two light weight fours. We decided to hire a coach--who thought that the new way of rowing was to square the blades prior to entry. This did not set well with me as we used only the "Pocock stroke" in my four years ending in 1954 at the University of Washington.

Being more agitated and concerned regarding the SYC coach's demand for square blades, I decided to call Stan Pocock--our coach when we won the Freshman IRA race in 1951. Stan understood very well the situation and advised me to call Charley McIntyre--who I also hadn't seen for some 34 years. We met for lunch at the Seattle Yacht Club one afternoon and discussed "bringing back" the Pocock stroke--and decided the only way to do that was to start our own rowing club. This meant digging up some of the old UW rowers in order to establish that interest.

At that very magical moment, who walks into the SYC lunch room but Bill Cameron--who we also had not seen for years. We posed the situation to him and he was thrilled at the possibilities. He said he would call Rod Johnson and see if he was interested. Then Charley said that he would call Emmett Watson to see if he would meet with Stan Pocock and us and possibly do an article regarding the formation of such a club and ask for those interested oarsmen to "apply".

Click for larger image
That evening, I related this wonderful turn of events to my wife, Pam. She thought that sounded great and said, "You ought to call yourselves the Ancient Mariners!" And so that name stuck. The Emmett Watson article was published in the Seattle Times which resulted in ex-rowers coming in from all over the country--again, a magical moment.

And so the Ancient Mariner Rowing Club thrives today, mainly from the efforts of one, Charley McIntyre. Thanks, Charley--you have made many happy racing and personal memories since that meeting, twenty years ago! Your memory and associated wonderful stories will live in our hearts forever--and obviously get better as time goes by--along with those memorable races and practices we rowed together!" 

I will put up some pictures of Charley at Voula's and the Burgermaster--where we spent such wonderful hours after the turnouts.

My "Charley" story by Jim Buckley:

Charley recruited me to the ancient Mariniers Rowing Club one day at Green Lake in 1991 - or more aptly allowed me to drop by and row with them.

Charley and Lorna at Everett, 2003
We rowed together, got to know each other at Voula's and the Burgermaster and watched rowing videos at his house when we lived in Madison Park. Charley recruited me to help him take a couple of fours up to Salt Spring Is. to train some tall women who became the TBGs (Those Big Gals).

Charlie, more than anyone, filled me in on rowing history from his days with Jack Kelly to the present. Charley was always encouraging even to towards us "raw" Port Townsend rowers. Here's a picture of him encouraging Lorna, one of our rowers, at the Everett Salmon Row in 2003.

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