“Charlie served on Counterpart’s Board of Directors and played a critical role in helping Counterpart transition from its founding as a grassroots endeavor to one that takes center stage as a global partner in development.
His tireless commitment contributed to so much of our success including professionalizing our operations and ensuring we could adhere to the rigors of U.S. government funding.
Even when his tenure on the Board ended, he continued to serve as a Counterpart Ambassador, representing our mission of serving others and modeling the best of our organizational values. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him and we are better for the time and talents he gave to us.”
— Ann Hudock, President and CEO
Charles Phillips Eddy III — environmental attorney, outdoorsman, and loving father and husband — passed away on Thursday, June 25, 2020 after a ten-year battle with amyloidosis. He was 79 years old.
Charlie was born on April 2, 1941 in Westfield, New Jersey, the oldest son of Charles Eddy Jr. and Maria Cabanellas. He attended Westfield High School before heading to the University of Colorado, Boulder on an NROTC scholarship. After graduation, he served four years in the Navy, winning a Bronze Star for valor during his two tours in Vietnam.
Returning to the States in 1967, he rekindled a romance with old flame and longtime friend Brenda Broz, and they were married in June 1968. They remained flames and best friends for fifty-two years.
Charlie graduated in 1970 from Cornell Law School, after helping found the Cornell Legal Aid Clinic for low income clients. He later established a Dean’s fund to help alleviate student debt for alumni working in the public interest. True to his love of the outdoors, he specialized in environmental law and went to work in Washington, serving in the White House on the President’s Council on Environmental Quality and later in the Department of the Interior as Deputy Assistant Secretary, Energy and Minerals.
In 1980, he moved to Los Angeles, which remained his beloved home for nearly forty years. Here, he advised and later ran companies with a focus on environmental policy and protection. Throughout his career, he applied his considerable legal and management talent towards causes near to his heart, including helping found both Friends of Franklin in support of the neighborhood elementary school and the High Sierra Energy Foundation. He also served on the boards of Counterpart International and The Friends of the Los Angeles River and somehow found the time to coach numerous baseball and soccer teams for his three kids.
An iconoclast with an unshakable moral compass, Charlie was always a champion of the underdog, a taker of the roads less travelled. He was a source of wise counsel and support to all those lucky enough to know him.
He died peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by his entire family: his wife Brenda, their three children, Marisa, Billy and Matt (and their spouses Mike, Sandie and Staci), their seven grandchildren, Brody, Drew, Evie, Bayler, Camden, Charlotte and Brendan, and his two sisters Bambi Arellano and Sue Fleischli.
Donations on Charlie’s behalf can be made to Counterpart International (counterpart.org), the Cornell Law School (lawschool.cornell.edu), or the Friends of the LA River (folar.org).
“Eddys don’t come in ones. They come as a collective embrace, with a vibrant vision of a better world, and an appetite to support those working hard to make it happen. And so it was with Charlie Eddy and Counterpart. Charlie and his wonderful wife Brenda both go so far back with Counterpart that they are woven into its original fabric – back in the days with Father Stan Hosie, Betty Silverstein, Arlene Lear, and Lelei Lelaulu.
Charlie would tell stories of visiting Russia with Counterpart shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He saw American mayors coaching their Russian counterparts, who were hungry to find solutions for their communities without guidance from a distant central committee. Charlie witnessed progress towards democracy in real time. He told me how it inspired him.
By the time I arrived at Counterpart in 2010, Charlie had stepped back from the Board. And yet he has always been a presence for me, even from Los Angeles. He embraced risk-taking, knowing that the challenges we were tackling needed new solutions. He kept his business head, asking hard questions that sharpened our thoughts and arguments. And he kept his enthusiasm, always believing that Counterpart makes an important difference in the world.
What I know: I am a better person when I reach for the bar set by Charlie Eddy, and I am a happier person when I live with the exuberance of Charlie Eddy. He will forever be an original and a guide.
— Joan Parker, Former Counterpart President & CEO