A Little Personal – My Friend Charlie



Five years ago today I lost a dear friend.  His name is Charles L. Gruner but I always called him Charlie.

Charlie and I met in 1982 when I made a move from the East coast to the Midwest. The company I worked for was headquartered there and I was given an opportunity which I couldn’t refuse.

I really can’t remember how I met Charlie and his wonderful wife. I think it might have been a gathering at a neighbor’s house. Charlie lived a couple of blocks over and so it must have been at one of the neighbors. All I know is we hit it off immediately. He is one of those guys who you immediately like. He had a laugh that could be heard across the room. So, if you didn’t know Charlie you knew of Charlie.

Our relationship became closer as we both went through periods of challenge.  I finally moved away from the area to pursue a new position on the West Coast. We stayed in touch and then I got some heartbreaking news in 2006. Charlie had Cancer. Well, he beat it that time, and we went on as if nothing was wrong. Although we talked on the phone, I didn’t see Charlie again until 2011 when I traveled back to the midwest. It was if we had never been apart. We caught up and the time flew. Before the time together was over, Charlie told me he was going to write a book. He wanted to impart some of the knowledge he had acquired in his business life. Charlie was very successful CEO, and such a book would be a treasure.

One dismal day in December his wife called and told me Charlie was not going to live. I was struck dumb. Twenty-nine years of our friendship was over way too fast. I was able to talk to him one last time and told him how much I loved him.

Charlie did write his book and became published after he was gone. As I indicated in my review, it is a great tool to be kept hidden. If discovered, the secret of the reader’s success will be uncovered.

I still miss Charlie and carry some fond memories.

  • We used to bark like dogs when I drove by his house
  • Charlie would blame the holiday for his overeating
  • He got a pilot’s license and then thought flying too tame
  • He formed his own racing team and drove his race cars
  • He loved his wife and his family more than anything
  • He believed it a mark of distinction to be fired from a company
  • He was always willing to help others
  • He always supported whatever I did even if I made mistakes

Charles L. Gruner

Charlie’s book is titled Turning Losers into Winners and can be found on Lulu



  1. Charlie sounds the kind of man it’s nice to know. I’m sorry you lost such a friend John.

    1. In retrospect he is not really lost since he is in my heart. Thanks, David.

  2. What a wonderful friendship you had. I have a friend like that also. We have known each other over thirty years. We live different lives but she is my best supporter. She’s always there for me, no matter the circumstance.
    Have a beautiful fourth Advent, John.
    Shalom aleichem,

    1. Thank you, Pat. Aleichem shalom

  3. Sounds like a great and one of a kind guy. Love his stance on being fired.

    1. Charlie often said he didn’t trust someone completely unless they had been fired at least once. He told me that after I had been fired. Thanks, Charles.

      1. I think I can see how that works. Though nowadays, you have to figure out if you’re fired, laid off, let go, released, canned, or pink-slipped. 😛 Seriously, I really do like that motto. Something about it makes me smile.

      2. Made me laugh out loud at the time. 😀

  4. Sounds like a great guy and friend.

    1. Very true, Craig. Thanks.

  5. Gwen Plano · ·

    We kinda know someone through the friends they keep– which tells me you are amazing as well. Beautiful tribute, John.

    1. Thank you, Gwen. A very warm comment and very much appreciated.

  6. What a lovely tribute to your pal, Charlie. Being able to pick up where you left off is a sign of true friendship.
    “We used to bark like dogs when I drove by his house.” I can picture you doing this, John.
    Thank you for introducing us to your dear friend.

    1. Thank you, Jill. I’m sure anyone witnessing that sight was tempted to call the police. We did get away with it though. 🙂

  7. That’s a beautiful tribute to Charlie, John. It sounds like the two of you had a wonderful friendship. It’s hard to lose someone dear any time, but especially near the holidays. It is, however, a blessing to remember them.

    1. Thank you, Mae Clair. The memories are a blessing.

  8. Oh John… I’m sorry for your loss — no matter how long ago.
    You know something of my situation at work, so I’m happy to know about Charlie’s book along with the kind of person he was. I will certainly check it out.
    Mega hugs,

    1. Thanks for your sentiments, Teagan. The Gov is a perfect place for some of the tenants. (Keep it out of sight though.) Hugs

  9. He believed it a mark of distinction to be fired from a company

    Now there is a wise man.

    1. I think so. He was well experienced.

  10. This is a great tribute to your dear friend, John. As you said, he’ll always be with you in your heart. We are so blessed to have a friend like Charlie in our lives. 🙂 — Suzanne

    1. Yes we are, Suzanne. Thank you.

  11. So sorry for your loss, John – friends like that are few and far between. You’re lucky to have found each other.

  12. That kind of friendship is priceless, John. I’m glad you were able to have Charlie in your life.

    1. Me too, Kevin. Thanks.

  13. Anniversaries like this are hard, John. The beauty is, you had such a good friend for nearly three decades, and a friendship like yours lives on in the hearts of those who knew and loved Charlie. Sounds like a good book, too.

    1. Thank you, Debbie. Perfectly said. 🙂

  14. Nice remembrance.

  15. John, it sounds like there was a very special bond between you & Charlie. To have left such an imprint on your heart speaks volumes about the friendship you shared.

    1. Thanks, Lynn. It is so true. Loved your comment.:-)

  16. Amazing tribute, John. Charlie sounds like a hell of guy. You’re certainly lucky for having known such a man.

    1. I was so lucky. Thanks, Phillip.

  17. Not everyone has a Charlie-type friend in their lives but there are lucky ones who do. Sorry for your loss, John, though as you say he’s in your heart. XX

    1. Thanks, Tess. Good place to be.

  18. At least you were blessed to have known Charlie at all, John.
    And you’ll see him again someday.
    Be well, my friend.

    1. Thanks, Hook. I believe it to be true.

  19. It’s always tough to lose a dear friend. I hope the memories you shared with us today bring you some peace, and comfort knowing you were blessed to have had such a good friend.

    1. It has been very helpful, Deborah. I should have done it sooner. Thank you.

  20. What a lovely and kind review. Thank you for sharing Charlie with us, John. You two must have been a joy to be around. My condolences. xx

    1. Not sure about others, but we had so much fun. Thanks, Audrey

  21. Such a beautiful and lovely tribute to a dear friend, John. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

    1. Thank you, Natalie

  22. So sad, John. Sorry for your loss.

    1. Thanks, Traci. Great memories though.

      1. Those are always the best. I lost my dad some years ago and there are times I see a truck like what he’d drive and hope for the barest second…but the memories remind me I’ll see him again someday. Hugs on your loss.

      2. Thank you so much. 🙂

  23. It’s always shocking to lose someone like that, I’m sorry for your loss, John, Charlie sounds like a top bloke.

    1. He held the top spot for sure. Thank you, Dale.

%d bloggers like this: