“Charlie was a visionary, so much like his dad, Charles Sr.” says Linda Larre, of her husband.
“He was always planning, inventing. There was never a ‘no’ or a ‘can not’ in his vocabulary.”
Moonlighting as a cabinet installer during his university days, Charlie Larre was convinced that he could make cabinets better than the ones he was installing. Charlie, along with his wife Linda and brother-in-law Bernie Oster, began Superior Millwork Ltd. in 1980 in the family’s garage. And the rest, as they say, is history. Over the next 24 years the business grew steadily, expanding to employ more than 250 people in Saskatoon, Calgary, and Edmonton.
Whether working at his business, riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, playing hockey, or enjoying karaoke, Charlie lived life to the fullest. “Charlie was comfortable with everyone. He loved to stop and talk to anyone, especially those society considers the down and out.
“There was one fellow in particular that Charlie was fond of,” remembers Linda. “The relationship started with Abel asking Charlie to bum a cigarette, but Charlie didn’t smoke. Abel asked if
Charlie would buy him a coffee and then asked for some toast. It became a Sunday ritual for us. We’d meet Abel and end up buying him breakfast and visiting for a while.” “That’s just the way Charlie was,” says Linda. His parents Charles and Odelia owned and operated Larre’s Department Store in St. Walburg. They were known for helping their customers when hard times hit. Not only were customers given credit, but often as not invited in to join the family for a meal.
From that caring family environment, it’s easy to understand Charlie’s commitment to his employees. “Charlie always attributed his success to his employees,” states Linda. “He cared so much for everyone. He even set up a special fund to help out employees and their families who were in financial need.” In June 2004, only hours apart, Charlie lost both his parents. Feeling the need for sun and air, Charlie took his much loved motorcycle out on a road trip to South Dakota. It was on this trip that Charlie met his end. His family believes he died happy, doing what he loved.
To celebrate the life of her husband, Linda established the Charles Larre Never Give Up On A Dream Fund at The Saskatoon Foundation.
“I wanted to keep his name alive. Charlie was such a good and giving person and believed in giving back to the community,” says Linda. “The establishment of the fund allows us to continue to support the causes that were important to him. Charlie was always the life of the party, always shared with others. Through this fund, he will continue to make a lasting impression.”