Former Port of Grays Harbor Commissioner Chuck Caldwell, known for his volunteerism and work with a foundation that’s funded many college scholarships for Grays Harbor students, died Monday morning at Montesano Health and Rehabilitation Center. He was 87.
Caldwell served as commissioner from 2002 until 2018, a time that saw the Port move from being a log export port almost exclusively, to add a wider variety of cargo and the infrastructure to handle it.
Executive Director of the Port Gary Nelson said Caldwell would always ask about family first when making calls about port business. “That’s the kind of guy he was, family focused, community focused. The next generation was his top priority,” he said.
Upon his retirement in July last year, the port credited him with contributing to its growth and diversification during his tenure including increased international trade and commercial fishing activity, adding the Satsop Business Park to the port’s property portfolio and more than $50 million in port infrastructure projects.
Caldwell was also an advocate for recreational access to the waterfront. He strongly supported enhancements to the Westport Marina boat launch, the 28th Street landing and boat launch and the establishment of Friends Landing in Montesano.
“Chuck was a great advocate for the county and the communities within the county,” said Stan Pinnick, port commissioner who served with Caldwell for 15 years.
Pinnick said Caldwell’s emphasis on the diversification of industries was key to the Port’s growth.
Before being elected to the commission, Caldwell built a successful real estate business, Price & Price Real Estate in Montesano. He also worked with the Kelsey Foundation which awards scholarships to Grays Harbor graduates.
Grays Harbor County Commissioner Vickie Raines said he would be remembered by those who worked with him as a great man with a wonderful heart.
“He truly was one of a kind,” she said.
“Chuck and his wife Linda were both great people … always a smile on their faces and a hand to lend. Chuck loved his family and friends tremendously; he also loved Montesano and the Port and Grays Harbor. He was a generous man and had a smile I will never forget. I will miss him, and will always remember his love for our community and the sound of his laughter,” said Raines.
Harrison Family Mortuary is planning services. Details will be announced when they become available.