Cover photo for Park Ranger Captain “Chuck” Harris Ret.'s Obituary
Park Ranger Captain “Chuck” Harris Ret. Profile Photo
1954 Chuck Harris 2024

Park Ranger Captain “Chuck” Harris Ret.

May 13, 1954 — June 28, 2024


Charles James Harris, age 70, known by his friends as “Chuck”, of Franklin, Virginia, formerly of Myersville, Maryland, died on June 28, 2024. He was born on May 13, 1954, in L’Anse, Baraga County, Michigan, to James Carlton Harris Jr. and Doris Beatrice (Martell) Harris, who preceded him in death, and a sister, Michele Adams.

Chuck was born in the Western Upper Peninsula (U.P.) of Michigan in the village of L’Anse but grew up in Maryland. He was a 1972 graduate of Edgewood High, Edgewood, MD, a 1974 graduate of Harford Community College, Bel Air, MD, and a 1976 graduate of the University of MD, College Park with a B.S. in Botany. He moved to Frederick County in 1977 where he worked for the Maryland DNR’s Park Service for 30 years as a law enforcement ranger. Starting as a “Park Ranger”, he was promoted through the ranks and held several positions throughout Maryland. He retired as the Western Region Deputy Regional Manager at the rank of Park Ranger Captain. Jack Elrod immortalized him as “Ranger Chuck” in the Mark Trail Cartoon Strip. The strip ran in the summer of 2001. Chuck received the Edmund Prince Ranger Award in November 2006 for a career of service that epitomized the role of a Park Ranger. He was active in CISM as a law enforcement peer, Wilderness Search & Rescue as a trained Search Manager, Field Team Leader, and a Maryland EMT-B. He served on the Garrett Co. Company 8, S.F.P.S. Search Team, as a board member and president while employed by the Maryland Park Service.

Chuck enjoyed being the family historian, gardening, Scouting, fishing, and deer hunting with his U.P. cousins and friends. He was active with the National Capital Area Council Boys Scouts of America, the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, the Frederick County Fire & Rescue Association, as a member of Myersville VFD, Middletown VFD, the MIEMSS Region II Council, and past Chairman of the Frederick County EMS committee. He was an Emergency Medical Technician, Rescue Officer, firefighter, and an American Red Cross CPR instructor. He was awarded several Boy Scout awards: he earned the “Arrow of Light”, “Eagle Scout”, “District Award of Merit”, “Silver Beaver”, and the “St. George” award. 

Chuck was a charter member of Troop 217 and served as Scoutmaster. He served in several volunteer positions on the National Capital Area Council, the former Appalachian Trail District Committee & the Francis Scott Key District. He was a Vigil member of the Order of the Arrow, Amangamek-Wipit Lodge 470. He attended “Wood Badge in the 21st Century” in the fall of 2004 and became a “Fox” patrol member. Chuck was an adult trainer and served as Troop Guide on Wood Badge Course NE-IV-187 (NCAC 82-89) and as Scribe on Wood Badge Course N6-82- 12-2 (NCAC 82-103) and program director during the 2015 NCAC Powder Horn Adult Leader Training. At the time of his death, he was a committee member of Thurmont Troop 270 and served on the FSK Ordeal cook crew.

Chuck was raised Roman Catholic. He was a founding member of Holy Family Catholic Community in Middletown and was a third-degree member of the Knights of Columbus, a Greeter, and was chairman of the landscape committee for many years. He also served as chair of the Pastoral Council and as a member of the Facilities Committee and was a greeter/usher. At the Church of the Good Shepherd in Smithfield, Virginia where he was a member for nine years, he volunteered on the grounds committee, as a member of the Men’s Club, as a Lay Eucharistic Minister, as an adult alter server, and was a member of the pastoral council from 2018 through 2022.

Chuck married Patricia Denise Menser 42 years ago on June 1, 1982, in a small ceremony at the Church of the Holy Comforter, Lutherville, MD, and remarried in the Catholic Church on April 4, 1987, at Holy Family, Middletown, MD. They made their permanent residence on the Frederick City Watershed, in Frederick County, until 2016 when they moved to Southampton County, Virginia. He is survived by his loving wife, Patricia; a daughter, Charlotte Harris Bordino (Chris) of Hampton, VA; a son, Major James G. Harris (Stephanie) of Chelsa, Alabama; a sister, Jean Fitzgerald (Bill) of Eldersburg, MD; Brother-In-Law Dan Adams of Frederick, MD; grandchildren - Emma, Margaret, and Anthony Bordino of Hampton, VA; several cousins, nieces, and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Holy Family Catholic Community, Middletown, MD.,7321 Burkittsville RD, Middletown, MD 21769.

The family will receive friends one hour prior to services at Holy Family Catholic Community, a funeral mass will be held at 11 am on Friday, July 19, 2024. Burial will follow after mass, at Christ Reformed Cemetery, Middletown, MD. A luncheon will follow at the church.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Park Ranger Captain “Chuck” Harris Ret., please visit our flower store.


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