Charles C. Deeley, dental supply salesman

Sales executive had served aboard the USS Missouri during World War II

  • Charles Carey Deeley
Charles Carey Deeley (Baltimore Sun )
November 19, 2012|By Jacques Kelly, The Baltimore Sun

Charles Carey Deeley, a retired sales executive of a dental supply business and a World War II veteran, died of complications from congestive heart failure Nov. 13 at the Pickersgill Retirement Community in Towson. The Roland Park resident was 88.

Known as Skip, he was born in Baltimore and raised on Hawthorne Road, the son of Haskin Updegraff Deeley Jr. and Lillian Carey Justice. He attended Roland Park Public School and was a 1942 graduate of Polytechnic Institute, where he played lacrosse. He was an Ocean City lifeguard during summers. He spent a year at the Johns Hopkins University, where he played end on the football team and attack on the lacrosse team.

Family members said that the summer after his freshman year at Hopkins, he volunteered for service in the Navy and was assigned to its V-12 program, designed to educate future officers. He was sent to Harvard University where he took pre-med courses. He was assigned to the USS Missouri as a pharmacist's mate and ran its ear, nose and throat clinic.

As a member of the Missouri's crew, he participated in several battles, including a raid against Iwo Jima and another at Okinawa. He recalled witnessing a kamikaze plane hit the ship's deck.

When Japanese officials signed the instrument of surrender aboard the Missouri in Tokyo Bay, he was on a landing party that secured the Yokosuka Naval Air Station as a temporary Marine base. He spent two months assisting in the operation of its medical clinic before returning to Baltimore.

He had fallen in love with his future wife, Nancy L. "Polly" Price, a Union Memorial Hospital nurse. The couple was introduced by a mutual friend and met in the reception room of the nurses' quarters.

Family members said that Mr. Deeley chose to go into his family's dental supply business. In 1946, he became a salesman in the business, Deeley Dental Supply on West Mulberry Street in downtown Baltimore. He rose to manager and became regional manager after the firm was sold to Healthco International based in Boston. He then supervised a sales force at branch locations outside Baltimore.

"He was a great sales motivator," said a former co-worker, Cliff Jackson of Pasadena. "He himself was a good salesman and a hard worker. He led by example. His integrity was impeccable."

Mr. Deeley retired from Healthco International as a zone vice president in 1993 and then joined the Patterson Dental Co. as a consultant until his second retirement in 1996.

"My father was deeply positive," said his son, Carey Deeley, a Baltimore resident. "At dinner, when dentists would call the house for supplies to be delivered the next day, I would ask him if he wanted to speak with them. He would smile, say, 'You bet,' leave the table and take the call."

Mr. Deeley said his father believed that life was as much about attitude as aptitude. "With both, he said, anything was possible. Obstacles were steppingstones, not stumbling blocks. He told us, 'Life does not come to you. You have to go outside and meet it.' "

Mr. Deeley enjoyed mischief. On one occasion, he hid under the Bethany Beach, Del., boardwalk with a string attached to a wallet, pulling it away quickly when a pedestrian would attempt to pick it up. Family members sat nearby and enjoyed the stunt.

He enjoyed presiding at meals and would start a gathering with a prayer or a remembrance of a family member.

He had coached a Little League team, the Falcons. He enjoyed travel, sailing, oil painting and racquetball.

"He was a great husband, father and grandfather. He had a great intellect to the very end, as well as a wonderful sense of humor and a kind word for everyone he met," said his daughter-in-law, Karen Deeley of Baltimore. "He loved his family more than life itself."

Mr. Deeley was a docent at the Johns Hopkins University's Homewood House and was the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House's executive board president.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. David's Episcopal Church, 4700 Roland Ave., where he had served on the vestry and was a Sunday school teacher. He was a lifelong member of the congregation.

In addition to his wife of 66 years and son, survivors include a daughter, Mary Haskin "Muffy" Deeley of Timonium; and three grandchildren.

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