The passing of my friend Jack Charlton:
On Friday morning June 10, I received a call from Judy Charlton with the shocking, sad news that my good friend and business associate Jack Charlton had passed away from an unexpected illness on June 9, 2011. My heart is filled with sadness and my eyes with tears as I write about this wonderful man, who showed passion for everything which he liked in life. Jack was one smart man, who exuded integrity, honesty, and unending love for his wonderful wife Judy. He also had a passion for sailing the high seas, and spending quality time with friends and family.
Jack will be remembered by those in the fly fishing industry as the person who engineered, designed, built, and fished, with the finest fly reels in existence. His Charlton signature fly reels were world class, Jack gave me my first one in 1995. When he told me that he was going to “do it one more time” in late 2004 (Mako Reels), I was thrilled. Jack and Judy Charlton’s Mako fly reels are recognized as the standard of excellence today in the fly reel world, Jack will be missed.
Just last year Jack, Judy, and several friends joined me for a rare (for Jack and Judy) vacation to Guatemala, it was Jack’s dream for Judy to catch a Sailfish on fly, on a Mako fly reel. Well Judy caught a really big fish on that reel, and Jack was so proud, he captured that fight on his new hi def camera. There are many things that I can say about Jack Charlton, but mostly I am proud to say that he was my friend , I feel like I have lost a family member, and I will miss him a lot. Please keep Jack, and Judy in your prayers.
– Jake Jordan
Jack Charlton was born on September 16, 1946 in Montebello, Ca. After a childhood in Tucson, Jack moved to Los Angeles and began working in a machine shop at the age of seventeen. His next employer specialized in machined aerospace products. In this job he demonstrated a real flare for precision machining and intricate design, these talents later manifesting themselves in the production of fly fishing reels. Jack met Judy Keen at the Scottish restaurant in Simi Valley (McDonald’s). This led to sailing in the Channel Islands and 39 years of marriage. A purchase of a getaway in British Columbia eventually initiated a move to the Pacific Northwest.
Jack liked to say because of peace breaking out, and because of a challenge, he designed and produced the first Charlton Flyreel in 1993. The first showing was in Livingston Montana, displaying Signature series 8400 and 8500 reels. In 1996 at the Fly Fishing Dealer Show in Denver Jack’s Charlton 8550 received best in the show for his revolutionary configurable reel. In 1999 Charlton Reels joined Streamworks, later being acquired by 3M. Jack continued to work for 3M until 2003. In 2005 he started Mako Reels which has continued to set the standard for the fly fishing industry.
Jack died of a sudden unexpected illness on June 9, 2011, he will be missed by many. Any one wishing to should make a donation to Hospice should make it in memory of Jack Charlton._