I’ve been a bit absent lately so I’m not sure if this sad news has been shared yet. Former Jalop and “virtual friend” for many years, Charles Barrett has passed on. Oldtimers will remember Charles well, as the man was absolutely unforgettable. He was 6'6" of smile and uplifting cheer delivered with a brilliant wit. Charles was a delightful fixture in the comments of Jalopnik articles from practically the moment I began to lurk on the site back in the Spinelli days. His wonderful example helped shape the very culture of that OG community and I believe we still benefit from that today, several years after he stopped visiting because of The Great Inconvenience.
For some, Charles was the first gay person they ever closely interacted with. Charles was out and proud but “gay by the way” at the same time. His orientation was an important part of his identity without actually defining him. I believe he opened quite a few eyes and, just by being his own inimitable self, was a huge part of why this community is so close and tolerant (especially for an anonymous Internet community) as it is today.
I never met Charles in person but felt I came to “know” him well over the years, first via Jalopnik and then as FB friends and various car sites/groups. For those lucky enough to have met him irl, there seems to be an overarching thing about Charles, he was an extremely kind and gentle soul who could lift anyone’s spirits in a moment and have them giggling like a fool is no time at all. He was devoted to his partner Randy and the community of Sedona he lived in. Everyone loved Charles and our world is a little dimmer now that he’s gone.
Rest in peace dear Charles; you were well and truly one of the good ones.