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Alex Charles (May 14, 2002 – Aug. 12, 2021)

We lost Alex this week to drowning due to complications of his medical conditions, which he battled with courage, dignity, and humour over most of his life.  Alex has left us too early to join his father David, and his grandfathers Bareld and Doug.  Alex is survived by his beloved mother Lara Charles, his younger brother Ryan, and his grandmothers, Marylke, Ruth, and Liz.  Numerous cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends from across Canada and around the world also will mourn his passing.

Throughout Alex’s too short life, he always projected joy, exuberance, and love to everyone he met, and was a loved friend and trusted teammate through his years. Alex idolized his father David, whom he lost seven years ago, and tried to always live up to the principles of kindness and compassion that were as important to him as they were to his father.

Alex loved animals and sought to share that love by working with and caring for other people’s pets as much as he did his own two cats. He enjoyed video games, mythology, watching major sports and both refereeing and playing basketball.  Alex intended to pursue a career as a chef, and his philosophy of life was reflected in his computer’s screensaver statement: “It only takes one person, and one act of kindness, to inspire others and create a change”

We can sum up Alex’s impact on us all through one of his favorite artists, Tim McGraw:

Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you

When you get where you’re going don’t forget to turn back around

And help the next one in line

Always stay humble and kind.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations could be sent to any of the following: Children’s Hospital, GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre, SPCA or Critter Care Wildlife.

A Celebration of Life for Alex will be held on August 29th at 2:00pm.  Due to current restrictions, the in-person service will be by invitation only for family and close friends.

To view the online broadcast of the service please click on this link.

Condolence Messages

  1. Paul Sloboda

    20 September 2021 3 days ago

    Dear Lara, Ryan, Marylke and family,

    I’m so very sorry for your terrible loss; you have my deepest condolences. I wish you peace, comfort, strength, healing, and love.

  2. Laura Redmond

    19 September 2021 5 days ago

    Alex, thank you for your example of openness/vulnerability/trust and for your optimism and “larger-than-life” attitude and energy. May your example inspire me to choose openness and vulnerability and trust—and may I have the courage to choose optimism and larger-than-life when it is appropriate and helpful. With love and gratitude, Laura

  3. Tania Pettenon

    15 September 2021 1 week ago

    To Lara and Ryan, I send both of you my condolences on your loss. What a moving write up to read about Alex! I send you wishes of strength and resilience to you both. You are in my thoughts. Tania Pettenon

  4. Brad Falconer

    31 August 2021 3 weeks ago

    Lara and Ryan
    I cannot express how saddened I was to hear about Alex. He was a wonderful person and always a joy to have around. Fishing will not be the same without him. He’s going to leave a big hole for all that knew him

  5. Evelyn and Rozanne

    31 August 2021 3 weeks ago

    Dear Lara, Ryan and Marylke,
    Our hearts are full for you.
    Meg’s words, her caring and compassion, spoke so well for us.
    We send you loving, healing thoughts.
    Evelyn and Rozanne

  6. Liz Hoey

    30 August 2021 3 weeks ago

    Lara and family,

    I worked closely with Alex at Fox and am deeply saddened to hear about his passing. He was such a fun, kind and passionate student. He always had a smile on his face even when school was challenging. His humour, empathy and joy were contagious. Sending you all love and strength during this challenging time.

  7. DeeDee

    30 August 2021 4 weeks ago

    What a beautiful service today. Thank you so much for sharing it with us virtually. Lara and Marylka you spoke so well. Your words really spoke to the wonderful young man he was and the beautiful family you have created. Sending all of my love and support. Xx

  8. Kim Holland

    30 August 2021 4 weeks ago

    Lara and Ryan, I was saddened to hear of the loss of Alex. Although I didn’t know him well, we met a few times hiking and when I visited your home. I remember him welcoming me into your house and how chatty and open he was with me when I fully expected a teenage boy to grunt and retreat to his bedroom. It’s clear from the messages here that Alex was a true gem and had grown into a fine young man. Lara, that is a testament to you and your strength and courage through the past many years. I’m thinking of both of you during this time.

  9. Heather Brown

    29 August 2021 4 weeks ago

    Dear Lara, Ryan, Marylke and family,
    I am so very sorry to hear of Alex’s passing. I have good memories of Alex’s enthusiastic nature and his kindness. He always wanted to make sure everyone was included. He was willing to chat and share himself and his beautiful warm smile with us all in the Beacon congregation. I particularly remember him sharing his latest strategies in a computer game with such infectious enthusiasm. He was a wondeful young man. Holding you in my thoughts.

  10. Amalia Mamani

    29 August 2021 4 weeks ago

    Lara, Marilka, Ryan, family and friends
    Our family remembers Alex as outgoing, charismatic, kind, considerate and playful. We recall a time when Alex and family came over for a Beacon circle dinner, Alex exclaimed; “Now, that’s what I call chicken”; a phrase which, I might add, was a far greater reflection of his kindness and consideration for others than on our culinary skills. Alex was a truly openhearted individual who included others without a second thought. He embodied Beacon Unitarian values and principles at their best. Alex will be deeply missed.
    You have the sincerest condolences from Amalia Mamani, Sean Rasmussen, Sebastian, Simon and Sarah

  11. Kay Norton

    29 August 2021 4 weeks ago

    Dear Lara, Marylke, Ryan, and Family,
    I attended this event online, (not realizing that I could go in person!). Nevertheless, it was very meaningful to witness the online service. There was such grace and thought and love evident. Meg did such a wonderful job. Lara’s tribute was very moving, as was Sean’s video tribute. Marylke, you rose to the occasion with real vitality and love.
    I knew Alex briefly, from visiting the Festival du bois with him and Ryan and Marylke. But I’ve always been aware of his larger-than-life grin and attitude. He leaves a very big hole in everyone’s life. His family is much richer, with having had Alex in their lives. But the family was remarkable and strong to begin with. Sending special condolences to Ryan, too. Thank you all for presenting this transcending ceremony for Alex and for us.

  12. Joan and Ev Morris

    29 August 2021 4 weeks ago

    Dear Lara and Marylke,
    We are so saddened to know about Alex’s death. You both shared such touching remembrances at his Celebration of Life that gave a beautiful picture to the story of his life. I loved the metaphor of pages in his life. And one short page of his life was his time with our little dog, Casey. He loved to give treats and “try” to teach Casey new tricks when Ev and I brought him to church at Beacon. It was a delight to see his engagement with Casey. Our heartfelt love to you.

  13. Bart en Jet Santen- van Kemenade

    29 August 2021 4 weeks ago

    Lieve Lara, Ryan en Marylke,
    Wat een mooi, liefdevol eerbetoon hebben jullie Alex gegeven. De gesproken woorden en beelden weerspiegelen wie hij is geweest: een fijn, mooi mens. We wensen jullie alle sterkte en goede moed toe, hou elkaar maar stevig vast. We zenden jullie in gedachten alle goeds.
    Met veel liefs van ons,
    Bart en Jet

  14. Natalie Sacchetti

    29 August 2021 4 weeks ago

    Alex invited me to his 16th birthday at laser tag, it took my by surprise at first because i though he just saw me as an acquaintance, he saw me as a friend and i regret that i didn’t hang out with him more that i could have. ill never forget him. he is happy with his dad now and they will always be with you so you are never alone. only the best wishes!

  15. Casey Stainsby

    29 August 2021 4 weeks ago

    I am so grateful for the few months that I spent with the kids and youth at Beacon and that I got to know Alex during that time. I remember him as unapologetically himself in a way that encouraged others to be the same. My heart broke to hear that his life had ended so soon. Lara and Ryan, I’m sending you so much love <3

  16. Carol Woodworth

    29 August 2021 4 weeks ago

    Marylke, Lara and others: Thank you for sharing Alex’s beautiful memorial service live, filled with beautifully expressed stories, memories, and images. Like many at Beacon, I enjoyed conversations with Alex; he was always gentle, positive, and kind: a model for all of us. I am so sorry for your loss and sending you love and support.

  17. Regina Ogmundson

    29 August 2021 4 weeks ago

    such a beautiful memorial service. I am so glad I was able to join with you online, Lara, Maryllke and Ryan.
    The words and songs were a lovely tribute to Alex.

    big hugs
    Regina

  18. Eva Perjes, Gavin Grandish, Ariel and Rayka

    29 August 2021 4 weeks ago

    We are so saddened and shocked by Alex’s passing. He was such a gentle and compassionate soul. He was so caring to younger children at camps. Lara, Ryan, and Marylke, we are holding you in our love and we wish you strength to carry on.

  19. Barbara Cameron

    29 August 2021 4 weeks ago

    Lara, my heart shatters each time I think of you and your son Ryan who now have to soldier on without Alex. I never met your boys but have read all the comments and know for sure that he was one special man. I spoke with Brian Watts yesterday as well, who fondly remembers hiking with you, Alex and Ryan and who has only good things to say about him. My thoughts and prayers are with you today, and as you move forward in this journey through shock and grief. Know that your HOIC friends are always just a quick call away, ready for a chat, a walk, and a shoulder to cry on if needed. May you be blessed with some comfort in the days ahead. xoxo

  20. Erika Bliss

    29 August 2021 4 weeks ago

    Lara and family,
    I am so sorry for your loss – Alex was indeed the sweet, positive, outgoing and loving person described in the obituary. From the few times I met him I could tell this was the case. It has to be one of the worst losses to lose a child, my heart goes out to you Lara. Please take care and know that in his short time here, Alex made an imprint on all who met him and will not be forgotten. Love, Erika

  21. CHRISTINE LUDLOW and Jorja Both

    29 August 2021 4 weeks ago

    Lara,
    I can only imagine the pain of losing a child. Alex was a real gem. My granddaughter, Jorja and I met him at Cedar Drive School. He always has a big smile for us. It always amazed me that he remembered us from Family Place. We will remember him with kind thoughts.
    Take care of yourself and Ryan and know many people are praying for you.

  22. Brian Watts

    28 August 2021 4 weeks ago

    Lara and Ryan. I was very saddened at the sudden loss of your beloved Alex. I joined you all on a few hikes some years ago so I knew how much he enjoyed the outdoors. Be strong a remember all the good times together with happiness.
    God Bless Alex
    Hugs

  23. Samantha Coutino

    27 August 2021 4 weeks ago

    Dear Lara, Ryan and Marylke,

    I am very sorry for your loss. I send you blessings to your heart so you can find peace. My sincerest condolences.

  24. Arnette Friesen

    27 August 2021 4 weeks ago

    Lara, Ryan and family, I’m so sorry for your devastating loss. I will miss Alex’s gentle spirit in the TF library. Alex always made time to smile and chat about his day. He was always kind to other students and would willingly give up his computer so others could use as well as stopping his game to explain a game move. My condolences.

  25. Lynn Sabourin

    27 August 2021 4 weeks ago

    Dear Lara, Ryan and Marylke and family,
    I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of your dear Alex. I met him at Eliot camp and loved seeing how gentle and sweet he was with the younger kids. I am holding you all in my heart.
    Love, Lynn

  26. Amber, Hannah, and Jacob Strocel

    26 August 2021 4 weeks ago

    To Alex’s family,

    We are all deeply saddened to learn of your loss. We have so many happy memories of Alex, and we will all remember him as full of life, outgoing, thoughtful, and kind. We will miss him. We are keeping you in our thoughts, and sending you love at this time.

  27. Britt Walton

    26 August 2021 4 weeks ago

    Lara and family,
    I was fortunate to get to know Alex throughout my time at Terry Fox Secondary and I am deeply saddened to hear of Alex’s passing. I have many fond memories of and with Alex. I knew firsthand of his wonderful humour, his kindness, his love of nature and his perseverance and resilience. A remarkable young man with an incredible smile. Sending strength and prayers to you and your family.

  28. Susan

    25 August 2021 4 weeks ago

    Dear Lara, Ryan, Marylke – I am so so sad to hear about the passing of Alex. He was such a bright light in the congregation. And it’s terrific to know that his compassion for people and other beings was so part of his character.
    My deepest sympathies to you all.

  29. Holly Williams

    25 August 2021 4 weeks ago

    I am so very sorry to hear about the loss of Alex. I remember him always being such a friendly, kind, thoughtful and caring kid who always had others best interests at heart. We will forever miss his energetic and lively conversations, positive spirit and his awesome smile.

  30. DeeDee, Ian and Emma Dunsmuir

    25 August 2021 4 weeks ago

    Lara, Marylke, Ryan and family,

    We are so sad and heartbroken to learn of Alex’s passing – such a tragedy to lose a life that young. We cannot begin to imagine the heartache you are all feeling. Know that he is reunited with Dave. Sending love, light and condolences to you. Thank you for sharing his quotations – they are beautiful and speak volumes or his heart and who he was as a person. May you hold his memories close 💕 and find support from your community.

  31. Brian & Jeo

    25 August 2021 4 weeks ago

    Lara, Ryan, Marylke and all family and friends – Jeo and I are so very sad to see this news!!!! Lara I am so deeply sorry at you having to face another loss. We fondly remember walking along the Salmon Bake beach – talking with you – and watching the boys find shells and wade in the water one evening. My heart just fell once I realized I knew the connection – as did Jeo’s – we both remember him at the Eliot camp! We will hold you and all his family in our hearts for the many days, months to come – it will never be easy.

  32. Brian Lewis

    25 August 2021 4 weeks ago

    Lara, Ryan, Marylke and all family and friends – It was so very sad to see this news!!!! Lara I am so deeply sorry at you having to face another loss. My heart just fell once I realized I knew the connection and remember him at the Eliot camps! I will hold you in my heart for the many days, months to come – it will never be easy.

  33. Joyce Gudaitis

    25 August 2021 1 month ago

    Dear Lara, Marylke, Ryan and family,
    We are heartbroken to learn of Alex’s passing. Losing a child or grandchild is devastating and so beyond the natural order of things in any circumstance but to lose him just at the beginning of his adult life – the pain must be incredible. He was a wonderful young man and will be remembered fondly. Sending you love and strength.

  34. Bev

    25 August 2021 1 month ago

    What devastating news. Lara, Ryan, and Marylke — my heart goes out to you.

    I fondly remember Alex at our Eliot camps. He was always so kind and attentive to campers younger than him. The Eliot community, and the world, has lost a wonderful human being.

  35. Debbie Gorenstein

    25 August 2021 1 month ago

    Dear Lara, Ryan and Marylke,
    I am very sorry for this deep loss. Alex is with all of us right now. I will remember him always. May you find a semblance of peace knowing you have raised a wonderful human being.

  36. Nareeta

    24 August 2021 1 month ago

    My condolences and love to Alex’s friends and family. He was a bright spark with a beautiful heart full of love and courage. The world was a better place for him being in it. May the legacy of his memories live on in our hearts.

  37. Beth Connelly

    24 August 2021 1 month ago

    My heart is heavy with sadness. My thoughts and love go out to all the family. Alex was so kind to my daughter when she first came to Beacon.

  38. Cathy Soares

    24 August 2021 1 month ago

    I was so sad and heartbroken to hear the very sad news about Alex. Life is not fair to take such a young man. Thinking of you Lara and Ryan in such a very hard time. My prayers are with you both. RIP Alex. ❤️❤️❤️

  39. Chris Cathcart

    23 August 2021 1 month ago

    Alex’s big heart will be missed. He was always so kind to those around him. Our heart-felt condolences to the family all that had the pleasure of knowing him.

  40. Andrew O'Neill

    23 August 2021 1 month ago

    I’m absolutely gutted to hear of the passing of such a great kid. Alex’s kindness, empathy, and leadership in my class was unequaled. My sincere condolences to Alex’s family.

  41. Ryan Cho

    23 August 2021 1 month ago

    Alex was such a light and good heart who brought so much to others around him. We hope your family has the support it needs in this time of loss.

  42. Linda A Eterman

    23 August 2021 1 month ago

    Dear Lara, Ryan, Marylke, Ruth, and family, my heart is breaking for you. I remember Alex as kind soul who exhibited much courage in his life, overcoming many challenges. Through his kindness and compassion for others, he left a powerful legacy. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

  43. Dena and Lisa Gigliotti and families.

    23 August 2021 1 month ago

    Lara and Ryan, our hearts are truly heavy thinking about your incredible loss. Alex was always the bright light in the room and we are so very sad for you. Please know our family is here to support you through this unimaginably difficult time.

  44. Mireya

    22 August 2021 1 month ago

    Lara, Ryan and family:
    My thoughts, condolences and prayers are with you all during this very difficult time for your family. I looked after Alex and Ryan when they were younger and recall them playing together and always being kind to my own children who also remember them.
    Wishing peace and acceptance
    Mireya

  45. Sara-Jeanne Hosie

    22 August 2021 1 month ago

    Oh Lara, Marylke and family,

    I am so so sorry to hear this news. I enjoyed meeting Alex several times at Uncle Sean’s and Auntie Janet’s and I can’t imagine what you’re all going through. Holding you all in my heart and thoughts.

    Warmly,
    Sara-Jeanne

  46. Brenda Pasichnyk

    22 August 2021 1 month ago

    Dear Lara, Ryan and Family,
    I am so sad to hear of your loss. I worked with Alex in the LC at Terry Fox for a couple of years. I remember him dearly. He was always kind, compassionate, and respectful and I enjoyed our conversations so much. He brought such joy to so many. Sending love and healing to you all.

  47. Cathy Tingskov

    22 August 2021 1 month ago

    I was so deeply shocked and heartbroken when I heard the news of Alex’s sudden loss. So sad..
    I remember from Beacon Unitarian how much Alex loved spending time with my two dogs after church and at a year-end picnic. He always sought them out, and them him. When approached by strangers, Phoebe and Molly would always bark—but not with Alex. There was something indescribably beautiful within his persona–a gentleness, tenderness, unconditional acceptance of others… things unique to Alex that people and animals were naturally drawn to him. I remember how he was always so kind to me and others around him.
    I was also aware of some of his life’s challenges. Even though I only knew him for brief periods of time, his ‘soul’s” light and energy had quite a positive impact on my life, which has inspired me to become a better person. I have no doubt this is also true for the many others his life touched—particularly in seeing him face his challenges with dignity, and using them as an example for good.
    So, yes, like the screensaver statement on his computer stated, “He was one one of the persons in my life, that inspired me to do better, to be better”. Thank you Alex.
    Forever in my heart. Sending love, caring energy, and condolences to his family.
    ~Cathy

  48. C Stanford

    22 August 2021 1 month ago

    Heartbroken for you and the unimaginable loss of your boy. Thinking of you and your family.

  49. Paula

    22 August 2021 1 month ago

    My daughter went to school with you…and weived in the same neighbourhoid.
    You always carried the biggest smile..it made me smile. You would always stop and play with belle our pup whenever we met in passing…your infectious smile and kindness will be missed in our community.
    Reast peacefully young man

  50. Hannah Myles

    21 August 2021 1 month ago

    Dear Lara and Family. My deepest condolences. We are so sorry to hear of Alex’s passing. He was a sweet, kind person. I remember his love of video games and computers, working with him in Science 10 and his kindness with my two older children (Clara and Cam). He will be so missed. Sending you love and strength from our family to yours.

  51. Julia

    21 August 2021 1 month ago

    To Lara, Ryan and family,
    I am so sorry for your loss, I hope the memories bring you some comfort.

  52. Michael Scales

    21 August 2021 1 month ago

    This is just the greatest sadness! My heart goes out to all of you in Alex’s family. It is a tragedy beyond words.

  53. Margaret Koren

    21 August 2021 1 month ago

    Dear Lara, Ryan and family,
    I saw this through HOIC sharing and am so very sad for you! I send you all the love and comfort in my heart and wish all of you the very best.
    Lara, you are the best mom to Alex, and I’m so awed by all the adventure you gave your boys, hiking, camping, travel, aports, etc.
    I know you will shine on, Take care <3
    Margaret (Mark, Maida, and Stephan)

  54. jake (mantis) mcewan

    21 August 2021 1 month ago

    alex was a kind soul and a great teamate always putting others first his soul will be missed rest easy up there chief

  55. Elisabeth Haase

    21 August 2021 1 month ago

    Lara, Ryan and family. I am so sorry to hear of Alex’s passing. Like others, I was shocked to hear of such a great loss! This takes me back 7 years ago when I was equally shocked to hear of Dave’s passing! May the legacy that Alex left behind minister to your hearts as you go through the very difficult process of grieving the loss of your child, brother, nephew and grandson. Hugs Elisabeth Haase

  56. Sue Sparlin

    21 August 2021 1 month ago

    Dearest Laura, Ryan and Marylke
    I am so sorry to hear of Alex’s passing. I remember playing chess with him and watching him grow tall and hearing his voice deepen. He was always kind and warm to me. My heart goes out to you in this time of sorrow.

  57. Lisa Bovay (aka Ms. Chalmers)

    21 August 2021 1 month ago

    I am so sorry to hear of this loss. Alex has always, and will always have a special place in my heart. Sending lots of love and strength to Lara, Ryan, and family. Xoxo

  58. Elizabeth Campbell

    21 August 2021 1 month ago

    This news is devastating for all who knew him. Alex had a kind word for everyone and we enjoyed talking to him during coffee hours. We followed what he was doing and enjoyed hearing about his referring and his other interests. We are saddened by this and hold this family in our hearts.

  59. Laura Ramsay

    21 August 2021 1 month ago

    I am so shocked and sorry to hear of the passing of Alex who was such an inspiration in the way he lived life to the fullest despite his challenges. My sincerest condolences to Lara, Ryan, and Marylke and cherished friends on this tragic loss!

  60. Téa K.

    21 August 2021 1 month ago

    Alex and I met in grade 10 gym class.
    There were truly a force to be reckoned with and had great times being so!

    Early that yeare when was 15, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and Alex was of the Friends who got me through one of the most difficult years of my life.
    After grade 10 we remained close friends going on more adventures and both being in a good place to laugh like nothing was wrong in life, for a time.

    Due to my intense mental health battle, I did not like walking the whole way home alone so Alex and I became walking buddies since we lived close enough to the same area and thxs to that we had many memorable conversations, became clever pranksters, so many good laughs emotional moments and absolute inspiration and empowerment.

    Heck, Thanks to him I rediscovered the absolute magic of “walks and talks”!

    This recent past year was a tragedy
    that did for some time keep us
    apart save for a few more priceless memories that I never could have imagined would mark the end of our friendship on Earth.

    I hope Alex is jumping across the clouds and stars
    on the other side,
    finds a joy and peace in his reunion with loved ones that passed before him and always feel the love of friends, family and to both, I give you condolences send my love.♥️

  61. Nancy Rupert

    21 August 2021 1 month ago

    Lara, Ryan, Marylke and all Alex’s family and friends, I am so saddened to learn of Alex’s passing. He was a kind, gregarious person who we were able to watch mature into a youth leader. Holding you all in my thoughts.

  62. Dan Theal

    21 August 2021 1 month ago

    This is too sad for words. Alex was always a joy to talk with and it is lovely to read about his compassion for pets, wildlife and people. This is devastating news. My condolences for his family and friends.

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