Charles Herbert McAdams

May 08, 2024

Charles Herbert McAdams, age 95, of Harwich, MA, passed peacefully at his home on Monday, April 29th, surrounded by his sons Tim, Chris and Chip. A Boston native, serious Bruins fan, avid sailor, and a true gentleman he will be remembered as such by all who knew him.

Charlie is survived by his sons Timothy, his wife Maureen of Cotuit, MA, Christopher, his wife Kelly, of Harwich, MA and Chip and his wife Susan, of Old Lyme, CT. He has had a profound influence on his grandchildren, Cailin, Colby, Abigail, Meagan, Dan, Jack, Bryan, Charlie, and Malachy. And great grandson, Roger.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Charles T. & Velma I. McAdams (Young), his beloved wife Nancy (Sheehan) and his sister, Velma Cook.

Born in Brookline, Massachusetts, Charlie graduated from Brookline High School, Class of 1948. He was an athlete, playing right end on the football team for four years, winning the state championship twice. He also played hockey for four years. After high school, Charlie joined the U.S. Navy serving in the Korean War and was assigned to the USS Petrel, an American Submarine Rescue ship. Charlie also trained in Key West FL as a deep-sea Navy Diver. Model handsome, and photogenic, he was asked to pose for a painting to be used as the cover of a magazine highlighting the Navy deep sea divers, which is a treasured family heirloom.

After the Navy, he attended the General Motors Institute in Flint, Michigan, training as an auto mechanic while simultaneously working in that trade in Somerville, MA. He ventured to Cape Cod, to run a filling station and oil trucking business where he met his beloved wife, Nancy Sheehan in 1958. Charlie and Nancy wed in 1960 and lived on Cape Cod and welcomed their first son, Timothy. They moved to Connecticut in 1963, where Charlie worked at General Dynamics in Groton, as a Nuclear Re-Fueling Engineer. While working at General Dynamics, Charlie attended the University of New Haven and graduated with High Honors with an Associates Degree in Business Administration.

Charlie and Nancy raised their three sons in Uncasville, Connecticut where they spent weekends in the summer on their family sailboat, NANSEA, cruising on Long Island Sound along the New England coastline with favorite stops on Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard and Cuttyhunk.

Later in his career, work as a consultant at General Dynamics would take them on many adventures including Idaho Falls, ID, where the family enjoyed snowmobiling and skiing and seeing Yellowstone National Park together. He was also called in to consult after the nuclear disaster at Three Mile Island in PA. After 29 years at General Dynamics, Charlie retired and he and Nancy moved back to Cape Cod, settling in Harwich in 1996.

Charlie and Nancy were always busy with neighbors, their great group of friends (Romeos & Juliets) and of course his second career working as a deckhand for many years on the Freedom Line Ferry out of Harwich. They loved to travel and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and Charlie’s 80th birthday on a fun family cruise to Bermuda. The McAdams’ were never without a family dog and his buddy Benson, a Boston Terrier, was a true companion to Charlie after his beloved Nancy passed away in 2013. He loved seeing all his “Grand-dogs” when his grandchildren often came to visit.

A man of many interests, Charlie was a skilled woodworker and has gifted many beloved pieces of furniture for every McAdams’ family home. He was a formidable cribbage player, and to receive one of his beautiful hand-made boards was an honor he bestowed on family and many friends. Charlie would often host his family with a supper of his famous homemade Boston Baked Beans and coveted scratch fudge brownies. Up into his late 90’s, he could often be found working up on a ladder on his house, busy creating in his wood shop or driving down to Saquatucket Harbor to greet the boats with Benson riding shotgun.

Boats were always a serious passion for the McAdams’ and a great thrill for the entire family was winning the Family trophy in the Marion to Bermuda yacht Race in 2007. Tim, Chris, Chip, and cousin Tripp Sheehan remember that singular experience with great awe as Charlie, the oldest crewmember in the race, at 78, rode the rail with great pleasure.

Cheering for the Bruins and sharing this joy with his children and grandchildren became easier when, at 88 years young, Charlie got his first iPhone. “Go B’s” was a frequent text received by many family and friends, and he was not afraid to use emojis to stay in touch with his many fans.

Charles Herbert McAdams lived his life with kindness, quiet dignity and joy, surrounded by his close family and is remembered as a devoted partner and a hardworking man with a stoic outlook on life until the very end. He possessed a quiet humor and was the best kind of representative of the Greatest Generation. We wish you fair winds and following seas Gramps.

The family will hold private services.

Notes of comfort may be made to his family at