With the passing of long-time resident Chuck Winslow of Ashcroft, a good chunk of Ashcroft’s history went with him.
A superintendent in Bethlehem — a mine that Spud Heustis, one of those visionary promoters, created in a once-pristine wilderness valley — Chuck became part and parcel of the mine. He knew the mine depended on a secure workforce, and he spent his working life at the mine making sure it had one. He knew every one of the mine workers, knew their histories, their nature, and their potential as persons. All twelve-hundred of them.
The purpose and clarity of Chuck’s character could never have been in doubt. Yet Chuck’s personality reflected the common working miner’s. No personality shifts of temper. No elevation of his role, responsible as it was. Chuck identified with the working miner in every respect.
Loyalty was the hallmark of Chuck’s character: as a working professional, as a father, as a husband, and as a provider. Chuck hated to see a workman attempting to take time off to nurse a hangover. Put your work boots on and get to work. The mine needs you and you need the mine. No quarrel there.
But there were other parts of the man that were no less impressive, such as his ability to grow almost everything. Chuck might well have spent his entire life farming in some lovely part of the province. His garlic, for example, the size and quality of which would have impressed the most fastidious cultivator. Chuck’s interests were broad, as cultivated as the vegetables he grew in his Tingley Street garden. Well-informed, Chuck’s opinions were listened to and respected, even when opinions politically differed.
I hope these personal reflections of Chuck, whom I considered a friend for many years, might serve as a reflection of some of the character and the gentle unobtrusive personality of a gentleman.