Charles George was born at home, on Monday, September 25, 1939 to Thomas Oscar and Christina Dunn (Waldrum) Burley. The Burley family resided at 495 Glenholme Ave. in York Township. Charlie was not alone as his twin Thomas also made an appearance that day. Charlie and Tom were the eldest of nine children; Bob, Bruce, Audrey, Roy, John, Christine and Bill. In fact, there were twenty-two years between the twins and Bill, the youngest.
The boys attended Rawlinson Public School while the family lived on Oakwood Avenue in Toronto. School was not their forte, so they jumped into the real world after Grade 8. It was during these early years, that the boys were introduced to the Hoskin family and their family farm near Sunderland. The two family connection was quite unique. Charlie’s father, Thomas, had given blood for the purpose of helping another with a blood transfusion. The recipient? A member of the Hoskins family of course. From then on the families were pretty much inseparable.
Every summer Charlie and his twin brother Tom, would head to the Hoskin farm for the summer months. This gave them an opportunity to get out of the city and see what country living was really like. In addition to a more laid back lifestyle, the boys worked hard at a variety of tasks to earn their keep. These couple of months every year created countless stories that are still told to this day. The farm and the Hoskin family played an important role throughout Charlie’s life.
After leaving school, Charlie went out to find work. He worked at a few factories in the area but after a few years headed west to Alberta. While living in Calgary, Charlie became a father, welcoming Stephen into his life. However, by 1961 he had returned to Ontario and began working. It was during this time that Charlie was introduced to a young lady by the name of Beverley Ann Miller. Bev was a classmate of Charlie’s younger brother Bruce and the two soon started dating. Charlie was 21 and Bev was 15. At this time, the Miller and Burley families called Thistletown home. They became a family on August 31, 1963 and soon called the area of Jane & Wilson in Toronto their home.
During these years Charlie spent time working for Canada Cartage and made extra money working part-time in a garage, as well as driving a taxi. The Burley family soon began to grow with the additions of Donna in 1964 and Rick 1965. In 1966 the family relocated to Esterbrooke Ave. in North York.
Charlie then went into the dairy industry to work with his father. He followed this by doing an internship in the tool & dye industry which lasted a couple of years. Unfortunately, Charlie was allergic to his surroundings because of an unknown allergy, and he was forced to leave this field. He then went on to selling cars for Volvo, and at one point was the 13th best salesperson for the company in the country. Shortly after he was introduced to Peter, who operated an office coffee service. Charlie then began working in sales for Peter before eventually becoming Sales Manager. In 1974, Bev and Charlie completed their family with the addition of Paul. A year later, he was given an opportunity to purchase a portion of Great Canadian Coffee. Throughout the next several years, Charlie helped run the business, eventually taking on new partners.
In 1978, the Burleys moved to Pickering. Life in the coffee business continued until 1986, when he was bought out by his partners. He then spent some time managing the local bowling alley. In 1988, a new opportunity presented itself, and the Burley family moved to Normandale to operate the Normandale Century Store. In addition to operating the General Store they also sold gas. By 1990, Charlie’s health was starting to affect his everyday life and they knew a change in lifestyle was soon needed. But like most of us, Charlie was a little stubborn, and they continued to operate the General Store until 1995, when they moved back to Brampton to work for Real Star Property Management. One might say this was Charlie’s true calling, as he loved to be around people, and excelled at this position. They managed Brampton Tower, beginning in 1996 before getting promoted to Widdicombe Apartments in 2000. Charlie loved interacting with the tenants and helping them with their every need. Unfortunately, during this time period, Charlie’s health continued to greatly affect him. He suffered aneurysms, heart attacks, vascular problems and a final fall in 2011 that forced him out of a position he absolutely loved. His body was simply wearing out!
When not busy working and providing for his family, Charlie enjoyed woodworking, a hobby he got from his father. During the kids’ youth, he coached baseball and helped out with the local youth bowling associations. The Burley family also did a lot of camping when the kids were young. The destination was always Outlet Beach (now known as Sandbanks Provincial Park) where Charlie would do everything from set-up to preparing all the meals. He loved Johnny Cash, taking Rick to his first concert at Maple Leaf Gardens. Charlie’s children were all very important to him. He was ecstatic at becoming a Papa when his grandchildren, Charles Jr. (Little Charlie) and Amanda came along. When able, Charlie also liked a good book, with crime or murder mysteries being his favourite. In recent years, television and the computer helped fill in his days, whereby he enjoyed Netflix, YouTube and even the odd casino game! He also loved his animals. Spike and Casey, were favourite dogs through the years and who could forget Bart, the talking parrot. No night was complete without saying “good night” to Bart as you made your way to bed.
Charlie loved to make people laugh. He was funny, with a wide variety of jokes always at his disposal. These strengths allowed him to interact with a variety of people, whereby most would take a liking to his easy-going, fun personality. If Charlie had a fault, it would be that he was a little too trusting at times, but we all learn by experiencing things in life.
Bev and Charlie retired to Chesley in 2011. They had bought a house in the community a few years prior as two of Charlie’s siblings were living in Chesley at the time. He continued to enjoy visits with friends and family, always trying to make the best of his situation. In the last couple of years, his health issues started to affect Charlie further. Bev and Rick continued to care for him at home, in the surrounding he was comfortable with. Sadly, Charlie passed away surrounded by his family, at South Bruce Grey Health Centre, Chesley on Friday, February 21, 2020 in his 81st year.
Beloved husband of Beverley (Miller). Loving father of Donna of Bolton, Richard of Chesley, Paul (Teresa Kerry) of Simcoe and Papa of Charles (Katelyn Versluis) and Amanda. Charlie will be missed by his siblings, twin brother Tom (Sharon), Audrey (Doug) Walsh, all of Chesley, Roy of Toronto, John (Cheryl) of Carlisle, Christine Atwood of St. Catharines, Bill (Kim) of Tillsonburg and sister-in-law Faye Burley of Winnipeg. He will be fondly remembered by the entire Miller family, his many nieces and nephews and his wonderful Farm family. Charlie was predeceased by his brothers Bob and Bruce, son Stephen and his parents Thomas and Christina (Waldrum) Burley.
The family wish to thank Dr. Winterton and the staff of the Chesley Hospital for all their care and compassion of both Charlie and their family during his illness. Your kindness will never be forgotten. Thank you!
A celebration of Charlie’s life will be held at a later date and details will be made available when finalized.
Memorial donations to Diabetes Canada or the Heart & Stroke Foundation would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.