News of Madison Valley

Charles McDade: The Kindness Man


Charles McDade was the vice president of the Greater Madison Valley Community Council (GMVCC) for 20 years. That term must be some kind of a record for voluntary community service! For Charles, service and kindness to others are the guiding principles of his life.




Charles grew up on a family farm in Winnfield, Louisiana during the 1940s. He found life extremely difficult during this period. His family struggled financially, racial tensions were stressful, and corporal punishment was a household norm. He was miserable. Even as a child, Charles frequently contemplated death as a deliverance from what he viewed as a hopeless existence.

Then one day, Charles had an experience that changed his life.

At the age of 11, Charles had a vision of a great tree falling and crushing him into the ground. Over the next two years, he had this exact vision on multiple occasions. He began to think that perhaps this was the death and release for which he had yearned.

When Charles was 13, he was helping his brother chop down a tree on their property. Suddenly, the tree snapped prematurely and came crashing down towards him. He recognized it as his vision and felt the weight of his whole life, both past and future. Instead of embracing the death he had sought, Charles leapt from harm and saved himself. He describes this experience as an epiphany. In that instant in which he chose life, Charles matured and felt in control of his destiny. “I decided then to start living. I had a realization that if I led a life of kindness towards others that everything would go well for me.”

Charles moved with his family to Portland, Oregon when he was 18, and then on to Seattle a couple months later. He began work collecting garbage for a Seattle disposal company and quickly became a favorite among the customers. One couple offered him a job with their advertising company. His facility with people enabled him to assist the company as a worldwide representative. He traveled not only for business but was able to visit many countries for pleasure. These experiences served to confirm his belief that we are all one people and deserve only kindness from each other.

After other employment and retirement, Charles sought community service in his neighborhood as a means to practice his beliefs in kindness. He boldly confronted sex workers, violent gang members, and drug dealers, asking them to take their business out of the neighborhood. He has offered assistance to the elderly and has helped organize block parties. His calm presence has often been requested at the bedside of a dying neighbor. He is well loved and appreciated by all who know him.

As our community council vice president, Charles served as a voice for all volunteers. He reminds members that service as a volunteer does not mean overextending yourself or stressing about projects. Our responsibility is to serve as a forum for neighbors to come together and to create interest groups in order to accomplish goals together.

After the 16 years of service, this reporter hypothesized that Charles would be our vice president for life. Alas, this was not to be. He served us in that capacity for another four years and then: Enough!! He now enjoys himself with friends and family but does keep up with community issues.

Gratitude is an inadequate word for our heartfelt feeling for Charles.


Topics: Community Council, People
Shanti Mai (10:03 am Aug 4)
Lovely to read about my friend Charles! I recognized the light in his eyes and the loving smile on his face when I met him in 2002. He really stood out! Last I saw him was 5 years ago. We were both grooving to a Soul oldie and realized who we were dancing towards, the only two people in the aisle. ❤️. I now very rarely go to Seattle...
Anonymous (9:13 pm Feb 15)
Greetings Charles McDade. This is your brother Ellis McDade saying hello to you. I haven't spoken with you in quite some time because you have been sort of a recluse to me. I love you unconditionally and that will always be no matter what. You can leave me alone on my Facebook page if you like and I would be glad to hear from you and glad to know that you're doing well. With the best that life has to offer to you I will simply say. May the blessings be. I am light and sound. LS.
Sherrie Dixon (6:06 pm Feb 12)
My 2 favorite quotes from my Good friend Charles: "Love is everywhere - just breathe it in" "I try to be kind to everyone all the time- especially the mean ones!" I'm trying too, my friend! Love you!
Anonymous (4:25 pm Feb 12)
Its so good to hear about Charles. Many of us hold gratitude for his beng as well as his work!
Ed Clark (9:26 pm Nov 15)
Great article about a great and truly loving man.
Amber (as he calls me his angel) (7:22 pm Nov 6)
Kindness he is. Jehovah is watching all his kind deeds as we are. Thanking you Charles for your smiles and kindness!
Katie Posey (10:33 pm Nov 2)
Kindness to all my brother is a great way to live !
Penny Bolton (2:25 pm Nov 1)
I so enjoyed getting to know Charles back in the day when we were organizing the Madison Valley Community Council. Whenever something needed to be done he volunteered to help. We had such fun doing the first Night Out parties, the Spaghetti Dinner (with so many of our older neighbors) and I loved to see him riding his bike through the neighborhood. Always a man with a great hug and a smile! He has brought so much love and light to the neighborhood and has truly shown us how a life can be lived with integrity and love. Thank you so much for writing about him. I am glad Charles is here.