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Shelter Island Reporter obituary: Charles Wallace Tiernan, Jr.

Charles “Chuck” Wallace Tiernan, Jr. of Shelter Island and New York, died on Thursday, Feb. 23 on Shelter Island after a valiant battle with cancer. He was 78.

Born on Feb. 5, 1945 in Washington, D.C., Chuck was  the second child and first son of Charles Wallace Tiernan (1918-1990) and Louise Dietze (1920-2011).

He grew up in Essex Fells, N.J. and attended the Lawrenceville School, the University of Vermont, and Rutgers University, where he earned an MBA. The family spent every summer at their home on Ram Island beginning in the mid 1950s.

Chuck married Carol Hutton Stark, the daughter of Louis B. Stark (1908-2009) and Edith Monks (1915-2011) on Sept. 26, 1987 on the Island, and they were a brilliant team.

Chuck had a long and successful career in New York as a financial adviser and account executive, ultimately for Wells Fargo.

An avid sailor, Chuck sailed competitively for most of his life — early in Wood Pussies, Lightnings, and Star boats and later in several of his father’s yachts named Kona. In recent years, he sailed with his brother, Dick, on Buccaneer. Chuck was proud of the fact that he had sailed for more than 60 consecutive years in the Off Soundings Club regattas.

He, together with Carol, competed together for 40 years in the summer series for H-12 1/2s at the Shelter Island Yacht Club. He served as a trustee and secretary and remained an honorary trustee. For many years, Chuck could be found cruising the waters of Peconic and Gardiner’s bays in their sturdy workboat the Carol T.

Chuck loved Shelter Island’s waters, bays, and inlets and its people — both summer people and year rounders. He was an ardent clammer, gardener, and fisherman. The round corner table on the Yacht Club’s deck was reserved every summer Saturday at noon for “The Lunch Bunch.”

He was knowledgeable on the subjects of the East End’s waters and he liked learning about them and educating others. As a trustee of the Mashomack Preserve of the Nature Conservancy he enthusiastically spearheaded Mashomack’s shellfish restoration initiative.

Chuck was an excellent “stick and ball” player and, in his day, played very competitive tennis, and ping pong. He was a good and widely-traveled skier and a feisty hockey player, having captained the Lawrenceville varsity hockey team.

He and Carol were regular golfers at Gardiner’s Bay Country Club — often with a regular morning daily tee-off time — and played to a respectable handicap. He followed sports, including his beloved New York Yankees, the PGA tour, and the University of Vermont Catamount hockey team.

Chuck was devoted to Carol and to his family, his brothers and sisters, and his many cousins and nephews. He had an exceedingly large number of good friends that he enjoyed being and communicating with and who will now miss terribly his lively and humorous commentary on life.

Chuck is survived, in addition to Carol, by his brothers, Richard and Timothy Tiernan, and brother-in-law, Charles Stark, all of Shelter Island, and his sister Susan Madrigan of Brattleboro, Vt. He was predeceased by his sisters Christine L. Tiernan of Santa Fe, N. M. and Carroll Jane Tiernan of Scarborough, Maine.

A Memorial Word Service is planned for Saturday, June 10 at 10:30 a.m. at Our Lady of the Isle, Shelter Island Heights. 

The family extends its gratitude to the dedicated team at Mass General
Hospital, led by Drs. Britain W. Nicholson and Noopur S. Raje, for their support and assistance.  

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to MGHfund.org, 125 Nashua Street, Suite 540, Boston, MA  02114, or Friends of The Shelter Island Library, PO Box 2016, Shelter Island, NY  11964, or the Tiernan Trophy, Shelter Island Yacht Club, PO Box 546, Shelter Island Hts, NY  11965.