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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : local May 26, 2016

2/2/2013 2:40:00 PM
Chuck Mabery: 'He was always willing to help'
Chuck Mabery
Chuck Mabery

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter

Chuck Mabery was one of those guys who was easy to know. He tended to be everywhere and have one of his fingers in every pie. The Verde Valley could count him among the soldiers of good society and civil development. If you didn't know Chuck, you missed your chance. Hopefully, there will be more like him.

An Arizona native, Mabery was born in the desert in Yuma, Dec. 4, 1926, and graduated from Yuma High School. He spent a year in the postal service before enlisting in the navy, went to San Diego to train and was assigned to the Battleship Wisconsin.

After he was discharged, Chuck went to what was then called Arizona State College at Tempe and graduated with a love and gift for writing. That gift got him a position as a sports and farm reporter, first, at the Yuma Daily Sun, editorship of the Arizona Wildlife-Sportsman and eventually, managing editor of the Prescott Courier in 1958.

It was in 1960 that he moved his family to Cottonwood.

He and Dorothy first owned and operated the Western Auto Store on Main Street. He worked for several years at the Verde Independent and then worked as an insurance agent for Leonard Sexton, eventually opening Mabery and Associates, in 1971 with son, Dan. Dan took over that business while Chuck began managing Yavapai Title

Former County Supervisor Carlton Camp remembers "Chuck was always a big supporter of mine, even after I was elected County Supervisor. "

Camp became a U of A County Agent. He had been teaching "ag" at Mingus Union High School. Camp was one of son Rick's teachers. "I can remember Chuck coached Rick in Public Speaking and he went on to the state competition.

"Chuck was always ready to help and he had a lot of devotion to his family."

Family members have gone on to become leaders in the family tradition.

Bob Gillies was the former Sedona District Ranger for the Coconino Forest. "Our kids grew up together. He was always a nice guy and enthusiastic."

Chuck and his second wife Creta began growing organic vegetables on the Cottonwood ranchland until the flood of 1993 destroyed the irrigation system. That was the impetus for the Mabery family to raise and open the Blazin' M Ranch Old West Dinner show, which continues to attract crowds today.

During 40 years, Chuck was involved in the growth and improvement of Cottonwood and was among its visionaries. He served as a board member on the Cottonwood Progressive Association, the Verde Valley Chamber of Commerce and finally, the Cottonwood Chamber.

He was co-chair of the Cottonwood Parade for eight years with George Thomas and was named VVCC "Man of the Year" in 1965.

In addition to the popular Blazin' M Ranch, perhaps Chuck is best know among the founders of the Verde Valley Fair Association.

Mabery was a hard worker too.

"When we were building the Verde Valley Fair, we worked all day and then stayed all night guarding the place," said old friend Don Godard.

In recent years, Chuck had been living in Prescott's Arizona Pioneers' Home.

Godard had just visited Chuck last week and knew that time was getting tight. "He was still asking about a lot of old friends. He was well loved in this community," said Don. "I didn't know anyone that had a bad word for him."

Mabery also served as board member for the Camp Verde Historical Society, Verde Valley Manor Retirement Center, Cottonwood's first Planning and Zoning Commission, and spent 31 years on the Yavapai County Industrial Development Authority. He also served on the board of governors of Yavapai College and was instrumental in establishing the Verde Campus. He was the recipient of its first honorary degree.

It's hard to put your finger on the most important contribution, but Godard believes that the Blazin' M Ranch Supper Club and Dinner show was among his finest. He said, "We always went there a lot and took our friends."

Chuck Mabery had four children, 13 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, many of whom still live in Cottonwood.

Related Stories:
• Commentary: If ever there was a 'Mr. Cottonwood,' it was Chuck Mabery
• Obituary: Charles F. ‘Chuck’ Mabery 1926 - 2013

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Article comment by: Jay Greenstein

I am sorry to hear about Chuck's passing. I will forever remember his rendition of Cinderfeller... I loved hearing it during our Thanksgiving time visits...

Posted: Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Article comment by: Paul Peck

From the Peck family to the Mabery family: We will greatly miss Chuck. Just the short few years we knew him, we enjoyed him. Rest in peace Chuck, and "Rindecella"

Posted: Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Article comment by: Jeff Blair

What a wonderful guy Chuck was. The Verde Valley has lost a true original. Godspeed to you, my friend.

Posted: Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Article comment by: Gayle Mabery

Thank you all for your kinds words and concern. Chuck passed away on January 31, 2013. The obituary will be on-line tonight and printed tomorrow. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, February 23rd from 11am-1pm at the Blazin' M Ranch. Details will be in the obituary.

Posted: Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Article comment by: larry mosher

Adios Amigo, the world will be less without you

Posted: Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Article comment by: Marguerite Lauri

I have so many memories of Chuck. He could give a euolgy that could bring you to tears and laughter, ( John Bell was one) or sing a song or tell a story (the original Blazin' M cowboy!--remember his Cinderfella tongue twister?) to lead an organization (pretty much all of them in the Verde Valley) to write a novel! He was such a good sport--when he agreed to share his health story for VVMC's Wellness today magazine, (then) 81 year old "Mr. Cottonwood" nimbly cruised all over the Blazin' M ranch --the cover shot is Chuck climbing a fence! When Chuck moved to Prescott, he still was working on a novel about the wild west. He was amazing, and will be sorely missed.

Posted: Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Article comment by: Teri Von Gausig

Chuck Mabery was one of the first people I met when I moved to town more than 32 years ago. His smile and good nature were the first things I noticed about him. His walk was even happy go lucky and he was filled with an energy I had never been around up to then. There are few in this town who can hold a candle to his friendliness and willingness to help. You are missed, Chuck.

Posted: Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Article comment by: Dennis Schuyler

Working with Chuck at the Blaz n" was one of the highlight's of my life. Happy trails Chuck. I miss you and all the ranch family.

Posted: Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Article comment by: Verde Valley Old Timer

Great guy, he'll be missed for sure. The article doesn't say when he passed on, or if there will be a memorial. Does anyone know? Thank you and my condolences to his family.

Posted: Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Article comment by: Brian Carlson

Chuck was one of the good guys. Always enjoyed seeing him at the Blazin' M Ranch.

Posted: Monday, February 4, 2013
Article comment by: Maryanne Fabritz

So sorry for your loss of chuck mabry and for all of the Mabry family at this time you are in my prayer when is his service?!

Posted: Monday, February 4, 2013
Article comment by: John Clarke

I had the honor and privilege of working with Chuck at the Blazin' M Ranch. I didn't know him as well as some others but this I can say without fear of contradiction. Those "Rindersella" shoes will never be filled the way Chuck did. We will meet again good friend.

Posted: Monday, February 4, 2013
Article comment by: Margie Beach

Chuck Mabery will be missed indeed. Your article never actually stated that he has gone on to his next big adventure. He and my dad, George Thomas, will have lots of catching up to do as they meet beyond the pearly gates to share stories like they used to.
Chuck made lots of good things happen in Cottonwood and the Verde Valley, and his legacy lives on in his wonderful family. My sincere condolences to all the Mabery clan.

Posted: Sunday, February 3, 2013
Article comment by: Mike Gardner

Happy Trails, Old Friend....

...until we meet again.

Posted: Sunday, February 3, 2013
Article comment by: Perry Conrad

Another special soul for our lord to hold close. God bless you Chuck.
Only thing I see missing here is Chuck's love for and talent for music.
I helped build the Blazin' M and during that time became friends with Chuck, which was about the easiest thing to do anybody ever did. I don't think anyone who met Chuck wasn't up for a friendship with him. What a true American and family man.
Lord, Bless those left behind who loved Chuck and give them peace and solace with his loss.

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