Charles “Chuck” Pennington has lived in Wilmington, North Carolina since 1995. Born in Hyannis, Massachusetts, he lived in Pennsylvania during his formative years. He later moved to Washington, D.C. and worked at Gallaudet University. He became Dean of Students of the Maryland School for the Deaf and pursued a dual Master’s Degree from Southeast University in Washington, D.C. His dual major was Health Administration and Public Administration. His focus was on a dual program which blended Management by Objects and Zero-Base Budgeting.
His erratic career went two-fold. He liked professional jobs, but he also liked being social. So, while he worked at prestigious firms like American Satellite Company, National Association of Homebuilders and National Governors’ Association, he also worked as a bartender, waiter, chef and maître d’. He broke out of his box one day and went to work for Bendix Field Engineering Corporation, Air Traffic Division, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Sign Language helped as he didn't speak Arabic.
His favorite career was the most cherished title, Luxury Innkeeper. In 1995, Chuck and his late partner Dennis Madsen rescued the Benjamin Beery Home, located in the heart of historic Wilmington, at the very dawn of the downtown's award-winning renaissance. Chuck and Dennis transformed the decaying 1853 antebellum mansion into a property recognized by the National Register for Historic Places. It was also recognized for its excellence internationally. At The Verandas, together they realized their dreams as a highly acclaimed bed and breakfast inn that was consistently recognized as a AAA Four Diamond property. It annually earned a coveted space on the Select Registry Distinguished Inns of North America for decades.
They were introduced by the mayor of Wilmington as “Two pioneers in the gentrification of downtown Wilmington.” They did not realize what a wonderful city it would become.
Chuck was able to run The Verandas while Dennis was deteriorating. For three years, Chuck took care of Dennis, at home, while he and a part-time staff person ran the award winning inn, and prepared for up to sixteen for gourmet breakfasts. Many of those favorite recipes are in this book.
Chuck was named Baby Boomer Man of the Year in Southeastern North Carolina for hospitality. He later received the Travel Legacy Award by New Hanover county for outstanding service on the Tourism Development Authority for 17 years. “It can be difficult, but you can add some sensibility to your life in spite of the restrictions of taking care of a loved one.”
The Verandas was sold in May 2022 (on the same day that they had purchased the Inn) and coincidentally Chuck's Birthday. He retired (yeah right). Since retiring, he has produced a Christmas CD with country singer Gail Bliss - more info on page 98 in this book!
Chuck has added 5 countries to his extensive world travels - including Uzbekistan and Masa Mara Kenya. His favorite spots include Taormina, Sicily, and Chernoble, Ukraine. He has now been to 32 countries and is planning a trip to Bhutan in September.
He has written his first book, “An Alzheimer's Caregiver Alphabet and More...” At its core, the book is a tribute to Dennis, who succumbed to the devastating disease in 2014.
Chuck's own life has been deeply impacted by Alzheimer's: Dennis's sister and mother, and Chuck's own mother, all suffered from the disease. “Caregiver Alphabet” is Chuck's compassionate reminder that self-care is essential for those finding life changed forever through loving, caring for, and losing, a significant one to Alzheimer's. In fact, he is so resilient, his friends engraved it on his tombstone! (page 128)
This alphabet is not just for Alzheimer's caregivers, but anyone being a caregiver to a terminally ill loved one.
By the way, did you notice that several letters are bolded on the cover and in the dividers? That is Chuck's way of trying to add something quirky. Those bold letters spell out his name.