Charles with The Great Republic by his driveway

Age doesn’t stop Charles Crecelius, 84
By George Boardman, August 30, 2005)


Charles Crecelius may be president of the Rough and Ready Chamber of Commerce, but that doesn't mean he can't do his part on the chamber's road clean-up crew. In fact, Crecelius is usually the first to arrive at the stretch of Rough and Ready Highway adopted by the chamber and is well down the road before other members show up, said secretary Everette Burkard. Not bad for somebody who is 84 years old. But then Crecelius is not one to sit around. When he's not looking after the six rental properties he owns in the Rough and Ready area, he can be found pulling weeds and doing other work around the house.

"I like to be outside puttering," he said. "If nothing else, I like to pull weeds. It may not look like work, but I work at it."

And he's not likely to use labor-saving devices when he works. "I've never been a machine guy," he said. "If there's a machine and a shovel, I'll take the shovel."

Crecelius retired to Rough and Ready in 1990 after 18 years in education and a second career developing the market for Amway products in Australia. But "retirement" didn't mean taking it easy.

He joined the chamber to meet people in the community and was recruited to serve on the board. Eventually, Burkard and others convinced him to become president.

"We recognized his leadership ability," Burkard said with a chuckle. "We're going to make him continue until he's unable to function."

Crecelius has a different recollection of the effort to recruit him as president. "Ev promised, 'If you'll be president, we'll do all the work,'" he said.

He hasn't waited for others to do the work. Among other things, Crecelius has instituted a monthly speakers forum that brings government officials and others to the Rough and Ready Grange to discuss issues of local interest. The forums have helped boost membership by about 30 percent to 130 in the community of 1,500, and has increased the turnout at the chamber's monthly meetings, according to Burkard.

"Most organizations limit their activities and put them in a box," Crecelius said. "I wanted to broaden our interests."

He was also one of the first members of the Nevada County Economic Resource Council (he's currently an honorary board member) and has been a supporter of the California Association of Business, Property and Resource Owners.

"I have a big mistrust of government," Crecelius said. "I think the best government is the one closest to you. I like local government because I can get to them."

His wife of 53 years, Jeanette, died in 2001, but except for a cook who prepares "one good meal a day" for him, he has no need for any assistance.

He still drives, doesn't need glasses to read, and has managed to live 84 years without any pills. But he does take an array of vitamins daily along with an enzyme he believes is good for the heart.

"I really believe you start with the least offensive treatment," Crecelius said. "Drugs are for emergencies."

He could be running the chamber for some time to come. "As long as somebody is doing it well, somebody else doesn't have to do it," explained director Red Sagraves.

Charles playing the guitar.

(Epilogue by Rosemary)

The newspaper photographer was supposed to get some action shots of Charles at work, but he didn't use them in article. So here's one (pumpkin above)...he has been working diligently on moving his garden to a spot closer to the house so when he gets a little less ambulatory he can get there easier than down the hill. Also I can see him out my office window. One of his rentals (mobile home) burned and he scavenged a lot of it and is using some tin for gopher control under root veggies. And he used the lumber for the sides of the plots. He is a scavenger and a pack rat and a recycler. He puts ashes in his garden from the fireplace and he won't use any newspaper with colored ink on it to start the fire. He's very conscious about being organic. I remember going to your folks garden with Mrs. Luschen at their Republic.
 I painted the tin that Charles is pictured in the paper with. I have more pieces laying around here that I want to paint our flag on. Charles is very patriotic though. He didn't secede from the U.S. We just do the R & R flag for fun. Charles does not use any pesticide anywhere on his property here...He has six acres that he pulls weeds on!!! He is stooped over all the time that is partly why he can't stand up straight. Today he is working on fences.
We are going to harvest the pumpkin today. It was a volunteer from seeds I throw over the porch. Good sheep fertilizer.