So long, cheer­ful Char­lie

Pop­u­lar care­taker at All Hallows school in North River re­tires


Ev­ery­one at All Hallows El­e­men­tary knows Char­lie.

Char­lie Fil­lier, the full-time care­taker, has been work­ing at the North River school for 10 years. In that time, he has be­come as well known to staff and stu­dents for his cheer­ful smile and friendly teas­ing as he is for his hard work and re­li­a­bil­ity.

As he walks briskly through the school’s cor­ri­dors on June 22, a cho­rus of high-pitched voices wish him a happy birth­day. It’s his 69th, and the en­tire school knows it.

But the good wishes go be­yond your typ­i­cal birth­day greeting. It’s also his sec­ond-last day on the job.

Char­lie re­tired last week af­ter a long and sat­is­fy­ing work­ing ca­reer.

“I’ll miss hav­ing con­tact with the young­sters all the time,” Fil­lier said. “I tor­ture them, mess­ing up their hair and that.”

Fil­lier worked for 20 years with the school board. Be­fore he be­came a care­taker, Fil­lier worked with New­found­land Hard­wood for 24 years. While he ad­mits the tran­si­tion to be­ing an el­e­men­tary school care­taker was dif­fi­cult at first, he has learned to en­joy all the noise and en­ergy that comes with the job.

“ The prin­ci­pal al­ways in­tro­duces me as Mr. Fil­lier, but soon all the kids just call me Char­lie,” Fil­lier said with a smile. “ I don’t mind; none of the kids here are cheeky; they’re all good.”

His work­days be­gan at seven in the morn­ing and end at five in the evening, with a twohour break around noon. “It’s a hard work­load,” Fil­lier ad­mit­ted. Prin­ci­pal Kevin Giles de­scribed Fil­lier as a “ happy, fun-lov­ing guy” in a de­mand­ing job. He said Fil­lier’s en­ergy and op­ti­mism will be greatly missed around the school.

Giles said Fil­lier is never im­pa­tient or ill­tem­pered.

“He never gets up­set when some­one dirt­ies his clean floors,” he added. “ He is well­re­spected by the staff and the kids.”

Won’t be lonely

While he may be re­tir­ing from All Hallows, Fil­lier has no in­ten­tion of slow­ing down. He looks for­ward to de­vot­ing more time to his three young grand­sons. “ They’ll keep me busy with their soc­cer and their tae kwon do,” he said.

When his wife Linda — a med­i­cal records tech­ni­cian at Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal — re­tires in a few years, Fil­lier said the two of them might do some trav­el­ling around the prov­ince. Un­til then, he said, he won’t be lonely.

“My grand­sons have a way of hang­ing off of me.”

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