by Lisa Tome
"He was the nicest person in this fire company."
That's how Community Fire Company of Perryville President John Jones described Charles "Amey" Todd.
Todd, a lifelong Perryville resident, father of three, grandfather, great grandfather, and brother, died on Monday, May 23, at the age of 86.
He was retired from Aberdeen Proving Ground.
He spent most of his life outside of work in service to others, as a foster parent and community volunteer. Todd was a member of the fire company for more than 70 years. He had been on the board of directors, and was also ambulance captain, fire police captain, and served on numerous committees. He was also an honorary member of the ladies auxiliary and was inducted into the Harford Cecil Hall of Fame.
"Everybody loved Amey. He was a genuinely nice person and ornery," said fire company chaplain Sue Hornbarger.
"He was extremely dedicated. He worked so many hours in the kitchen and was Mr. Fix It around the firehouse," said company treasurer Dale Deweese.
"He was my very best friend," said Carl Ewing. Ewing and Todd had been best friends since 1955. The volunteered together at the fire company and Susquehanna American Legion Post 135.
"In 1968, we painted the fire house every night. For years, we made food for bingo. For 33 years, we cut up chicken at the legion. He was a wonderful man," said Ewing. "I cried when I heard."
"When the fire company had the carnival, we built the stands...he directed traffic. He did a hell of a lot for the fire company and the legion," said Ewing.
Ewing said Todd also did other community service. When the soup kitchen started at Perryville United Methodist Church, Todd volunteered to feed those in need.
"I remember so many Fridays that we would be working early in the morning in the firehouse kitchen. But by 2 p.m., Amey would be headed for the legion so they could cut up chicken for the evening special," said his friend, Fred Packard of Florida, formerly of Perryville.
Todd served in the U.S. Army Airborne during the Korean conflict. He had a favorite stool at the legion bar, the fourth stool on the left. "His eyes were always laughing," said Legion member Tom Ward.
Legion auxiliary member Trish Weinzirl said that when a group needed a fourth to play cards, Todd signed on. "He played cards with us on Sundays and he loved it," said Weinzirl.
At the funeral service, Todd's grandson, Jay Bannon, daughter Luerena Daugherty, and nephew Tony Dunford honored Todd. Bannon called Todd "the best roommate he ever had." Daugherty said that her father loved "both his family and the fire company."
Dunford's speech was about his uncle's service.
"In the times I remember, I never heard Uncle Amey complain about his life. In fact, it was just the opposite. He would reflect on all that was right. No matter what adversity came in life, Uncle Amey would square his shoulders and drive on like a hero," said Dunford.
He was buried in Asbury cemetery with military honors. A few hours before the funeral, Post 135 members decorated all the veteran graves in that cemetery with flags. They said they performed that task earlier than normal to honor Todd.