(25 April 1947 – 11 October 2020)
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium (NCU) has cataloged 61 vascular plant specimens collected by Charles “Chuck” Lewis McCartney, Jr. Most specimens were collected in the vicinity of Granny Squirrel Gap, Cherokee County, North Carolina, though he also deposited specimens collected in other mountainous North Carolina counties including Clay, Graham, and Macon. About one-third of McCartney’s specimens curated by NCU are orchids, reflecting his life-long love of these plants.
Other herbaria curating specimens collected by Chuck McCartney include Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (SEL) and University of South Florida (USF).
“Charles Lewis McCartney Jr., 73, passed away Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in Hollywood, Fla. Chuck, as he preferred to be called, was born April 25, 1947, in James Archer Smith Hospital, Homestead, Fla., to Charles Lewis McCartney Sr. and Katharine Orphanedes McCartney. A fourth-generation South Floridian, he attended Neva King Cooper Elementary School and Homestead Junior High, graduating from South Dade High School in 1965. Chuck earned a Bachelor of Science degree in English Education from Florida State University in 1969.
After teaching high school English at Miami Central High School, he followed his first love as a journalist and editor, working for newspapers in his native Homestead as well as in Hollywood, Fla. He retired in 2009 after nearly 19 years as a copy editor with The Miami Herald’s Broward Edition serving the Fort Lauderdale area.
In the mid-1980s, he worked as an editor for the American Orchid Society and wrote numerous articles on orchids for AOS publications as well as for California’s Orchid Digest, England’s Orchid Review, and publications of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and the Florida native Plant Society, of which he was a lifelong member. His special interest was the native wild orchids of South Florida as well as the Southern Appalachians, where he maintained a second home in Granny Squirrel. He was an avid photographer of orchids and other flower species, often a sought after speaker for horticultural and orchid societies, native plant groups, garden clubs and natural history organizations.
Chuck was preceded in death by his parents, and his sister, Frenda Gerene McCartney Velez. At his request, there will be no funeral services.” (1)
Colleagues in the Florida Native Plant Society noted Mr. McCartney’s death:
“Chuck McCartney passed away on Sunday, October 11. He was a fourth-generation South Floridian and life-long orchid enthusiast. Through his longtime membership in the Florida Native Plant Society in the Dade and Broward chapters, he also become interested in Florida’s wildflowers. Chuck earned a bachelor’s degree in English education from Florida State University. However, except for a short stint as a high school English teacher in Miami, he was a journalist and editor, working for newspapers in his native Homestead as well as in Hollywood, Florida, where he lived. He retired in 2009 after nearly 19 years as a copy editor with The Miami Herald’s Broward Edition serving the Fort Lauderdale area. In the mid-1980s, he worked as an editor for the American Orchid Society and wrote numerous articles on orchids for AOS publications as well as for California’s Orchid Digest, England’s Orchid Review and publications of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and the FNPS Palmetto magazine and chapter newsletters. His special interest was the wild orchids and other wildflowers of his native South Florida as well as the Southern Appalachians, and he spoke on these subjects to orchid societies, native plant groups, garden clubs and natural history organizations. Chuck led many chapter field trips freely sharing his considerable knowledge and love of wildflowers with all of us. A longtime friend put it this way, “Chuck was an unapologetic punster. Over any length of time, he would bring forth at least one groan from whomever was sharing the conversation, and he never failed to slip at least one joke slide into his presentations. He was my favorite curmudgeon, with a heart of gold covered by a gruff exterior.” Marjorie Shropshire, the editor of our Palmetto magazine laments: “I’ll miss working with him on Palmetto and getting a Christmas card from him with one of his beautiful photos on it.”” (2)
- Obituary: Charles Lewis McCartney, Jr. 20 October 2020. Cherokee Scout [newspaper]. https://www.cherokeescout.com/obituaries/charles-lewis-mccartney-jr . Accessed 30 October 2020.
- Brownscombe, Richard and Patty Phares. October 2020. Longtime member, journalist, and orchid enthusiast Chuck McCartney has died. Florida Native Plant Society Blog. https://www.fnps.org/news/blog accessed on 30 October 2020.