Remembering Charlie McAleer, 82, who worked for the Star for 44 years, died July 2 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He had diabetes. A Star contingent including Ludy Forbes, Steve Aug, Tom Love, John Mathews, Sheilah Kast and Jody Beck joined Charlie’s family and Rep. Connie Morella, R-Md., at the July 5 funeral. Ludy told our group a story about how Charlie used those plastic cards that automatically dialed the telephone numbers of local police departments from his phone in the newsroom.
His calls to Bowie were answered by a nice woman who always said nothing was going on. One day, the Daily News broke a story about a multiple murder. The Star did not have the story, so Charlie put the Bowie card back in his phone and asked the nice woman why she hadn’t told him about it. She said she didn’t know about it. Charlie asked her why not, if she was the dispatcher for the Bowie police. She wasn’t. The card had the wrong number busy to talk with a lowly intern, Charlie was always willing. He even arranged for a birthday cake to show up when I turned 21, on Aug. 18, 1977. He was a good man.”punched into it. The Bowie housewife thought it was extremely considerate of the Star to check with her every day to see if anything was going on.
And Charlie’s relatives joked about how nice it was that the funeral was at St. Catherine Laboure Church in Wheaton, even though Charlie had accidentally run his car into the building a few years ago. While parking during holy week in the early 1990s, Charlie stepped on the gas instead of the brake. The building was unusable for months while several thousand dollars of repairs were made. Charlie had been planning to hire the same driver and limo that brought him to our 18th reunion so he could make the 20th.
Former Star intern (now St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist) Greg Feeman sent a tribute for Charlie: “When I was still wet behind the ears and barely knew which way was up, Charlie was always kind and patient and showed me the way. I’ll never forget the way he would make time in his busy police coverage to talk with a lowly intern, Charlie was always willing. He even arranged for a birthday cake to show up when I turned 21, on Aug. 18, 1977. He was a good man.”