"This diary contains diverse views and opinions on what goes on in Cherry Grove, the nation ad the world. Racism and bigotry have no place here. Please do not engage in personal attacks on other users. The cardinal rule here is to respect others." -- Richard LaFrance

The opinions published here are those of individual writers and may or may not represent those of our publisher/editor or any other members of our volunteer staff.

"My primary purpose in writing these articles is to help provide gays with a sense of their history outside of Stonewall. I feel we have to grab it wherever we are living it and get it down for the generations that will follow in our footsteps."--Mary Kapsalis.






September 22, 1913--February 20, 2009


February 20, 2009 -- Cherry Grove icon Reverend Doctor Charles Whipple died today at his home on Perry Street, Greenwich Village in Manhattan after a long illness. The following is the obituary that has been given out to the press.

WHIPPLE, THE REV. DR. CHARLES E., age ninety-five, died on February 20, 2009. Sometime Rector, Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Falmouth Foreside, Maine, sometime Canon of St. Luke's Cathedral, Portland. Professor Emeritus and Director of the Student Center at Brooklyn College. Administrator of the Cherry Grove Dunes Fund, President of the Cherry Grove Civic Fund, Chaplain Cherry Grove Fire Department. Member of the Society of St. Charles, K. M., the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, and the Guild of All Souls.

Viewing: All Soul's Chapel, St. Mary the Virgin, 145 West 46th Street, Manhattan on Sunday, February 22 between 2-4 pm. A Solemn High Mass of Requiem will be held at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, 145 West 46th Street, Manhattan, on Monday, February 23 at  10:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Cherry Grove Civic/Memorial Fund, New York 11782.

Before his death, Charles prepared the following, which he wanted read at his funeral mass. It doesn't contain much on his invaluable years of service to Cherry Grove, which he loved so much. To complete his story, please send your remembrances, photos and anecdotes about his life to and they will be published in the Letters to the Editor section below.

REV. CHARLES WHIPPLE was a typical Yankee who grew up in a town given to his ancestors by King Charles I (given to them perhaps to be rid of their annoying puritanical presence.) Later in life, he honored King Charles with ardent membership in the society St. Charles King and Martyr and the Royal Martyr Church Union. Perhaps this was all reparation.

C.W., as he was often called, grew up in a town where members of the Whipple Family were very involved with politics and at an early age he was a town hall habitué. A typical Congregational background was overshadowed by a maternal Grandmother's Book of Common Prayer. When he wasn't pedaling his bicycle around with Vote for Hoover flyers or some such, he found time to create an animal cemetery, where pets were buried with full Church rites. If business was bad, he was not beyond extinguishing a snake of pigeon to create business for his graveyard.

In high school, he picked up on the principal's mention of a dream of an improved school building. Inspired by this, he conducted a newspaper campaign and had the satisfaction of having the town meeting vote for a new school building where his photograph was placed in the cornerstone.

Off to college, he was determined to prepare for a life of community service, no doubt with Washington in mind. But God spoke to him at a Maundy Thursday Watch before the Blessed Sacrament and to the shock of all who knew him; he announced that he had been called to be a priest.

Cambridge and Boston provided a myriad collection of churches and the home of the Cowley Fathers, where he served at the first mass in the new monastery. Then, he spent a year of Anglo Catholic bliss at Nashotah House in Wisconsin. During his senior year back at Cambridge, he had Sunday duty in a tiny mission, which prepared him for a brief curacy in a Massachusetts mill town. At the age of twenty-five, he became rector of a sometime summer chapel on the coast of Maine.

The avid missionary became a fisher of men. The parish thrived and grew and he was able to enlarge the parish house, complete the stone Norman Church, and glaze the windows with medieval glass, creating a spiritual gem. The Bishop made him a Canon of the Cathedral, where he celebrated the early mass one day a week and was Master of Ceremonies at all official functions. Later, he became Secretary of the Convention, Secretary of the Standing Committee, Secretary of the House of the Good Shepherd for orphans, Chairman of the Finance Department of the Diocese, Editor of the Dioscan Paper and Deputy to the General Convention, where he served on the Committee on the Dispatch of Business. All this added to his parochial duties.

In 1953, God had other plans for him. He left his parish and returned to the University, sat for his doctorate and accepted a position as a Guidance Counselor in Student Services at Brooklyn College. Three years later as a professor, he built a Student Center which became the social and cultural center of the campus. As well as an administrator, he was a counselor and pastor to students of a cross-section of nations. His high church leanings helped him especially identify with a predominantly Old Testament enrollment and he was elated when he was designated an honorary Orthodox Jew by a student group.

Sundays found him at St. Mary's Church in New York City, which he yearned to give a facelift. He chaired the first committee that raised the initial funds for the restoration, which was eventually completed by others with a successful fund drive. The new enriched beauty of holiness pleased him.

His first trip to England as Chaplain to his Bishop at the first Lambth after the war gave new zeal to the budding Anglo, who was certain that he had not missed visiting a single cathedral. He became a member of the Monarchist League and a friend of many Brits and their churches.

Eventually, he spent his summers on Fire Island, where he soon became an environmentalist, ending up being Administrator of the Dunes Fund. Father, Doctor, the Rural Dean (as he was sometime called), assisted with the summer services held in the community house. He usually celebrated the first Eucharist of the season. This frequently occurred on Pentecost, but does not imply in any way that anything about the man was Pentecostal. The presidency of the Civic Memorial Fund, which provided living memorial village improvements, was a natural extension of the annual Memorial Day program, which he conducted with compassion, insight and glib tongue, giving interesting vignettes of those who had died during the past year.

Another insight into his personality is stated in a letter he received from the Controller of the Diocese of New York on his eight-fifth birthday. "Best wishes on your birthday. I hope you have a wonderful day. If the Lord decides to keep me around until my eighty-fifth, I hope I will have half the wit, half the strength and half the alertness you have."

Even in death, he spreads himself about. His ashes will be in the churchyard he founded in Maine, in St. Clements in Philadelphia, where he spent several happy years, and in the dunes of Cherry Grove, Fire Island, one of his special concerns.

It is easy to think of Priest and Doctor Charles Everett Whipple stirring things up in the celestial city by starting a drive to add a few rubies to the pearly gates.

Goodbye, Charles. You will be sorely missed!


(Send your memories, anecdotes and photos of Charles Everett Whipple's life to and they will be published here.)




When we visited Charles's old parish in Falmouth-Foreside, Maine, The Church of S. Mary the Virgin (their truncation, not mine), in the summer of '07, we were assured by the rector that Charles himself had needle pointed this kneeler (below) as part of a project to replace all kneelers in the church. And sure enough, there are Charles's initials on the side of the pillow-like aid.


P.S., I have also included a shot I took of the church itself (right). That's quite an edifice to have been so largely responsible for building. But then, Charles was quite a man.


Best, John


Thanks for this. An icon indeed!



Dear Richard and Richard,
Thank you so much for letting us know of Charles' passing.  I know he meant a great deal to both of you and I therefore extend my sincere condolences on the loss of your friend.   Sarah and I both loved Charles and considered him a dear friend, a generous and kind mentor and a loving priest.  The Grove lost more than a man today - it lost a part of its very soul. 
Kathy Friend


May he rest in peace.

John and Steve



May we be comforted by the following-

Wordsworth wrote-

What though the radiance that was once so bright, be now forever taken from our sight     Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, of, glory, in the flower          We will grieve not-rather find strength in what remains behind.

By the way Richard, I will feel privileged to officiate a memorial for Charles this summer.

In Spirit,

Rev. Eleni

"It is not doing the things we like to do, but liking the thing we have to do that makes life blessed."



So sorry to hear about Charles Whipple.  What a wonderful man and what a loss to Cherry Grove and the world. 



A man is not measured by how "Great" he was.
He is measured by the "Great" things he did with his life.
Sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. And such a great loss to the Grove Community.
Kenny & Richie


So sad about CW.  He will be sorely missed, not only by the people of FI but also the island itself.
And I'm continually reminded what an important community resource yr website is.
Thank you.


Thanks for a great background. I enjoyed Rev. Whipple's quick smile and dry wit. Every memorial Day, he wondered if he would be there for the next. And a part of him will always be in Cherry Grove, because he gave so much to us all. He will be missed! I was pleased to have him as a staunch supporter of The Violet Letter.
Dell Harbin


Richard dear,

That was a lovely, dignified piece on Charles. Your tone was just right, and the picture of him walking away (to Heaven we presume) was lovely.

His service was as HIGH as one can get in the Anglican church (unless you are a Royal). It was a fitting ‘send-off’ (as we say in Ireland) for this great gay guy who just happened to be a priest!.

Much love,



Dear Richard and Richard,

Thank you for keeping my email address and for letting me know about some of the important Grove occurrences. I would have been even more upset than I was when I learned the sad news, if I had learned it after the fact and had not been able to be there at the Mass for Charles.

Warmest regards,



Why hasn't anyone mentioned Charles Harmon, his long time companion?  in 1990 they celebrated their 30th anniversary. unfortunately, Charles Harmon died too soon, but he shouldn't be forgotten. They are both missed.


Editor: I might be wrong, but I think that Charles Whipple always thought of himself as a priest first. Everything else in his life was secondary. That is not a judgment, simply an observation. RLF


Dear Richard and Richard,
I remember those days in 1952 when Charles and I were working in Boston at the Episcopal General Convention meeting in Symphony Hall in Boston.  What a time!  It was a cout de foudre.  I had never met anyone like Charles - so poised and so clerical.  We were working in the House of Deputies.  Charles was the Chairman of Dispatch of Business and I was an Assistant Secretary.
Who could not be drawn to Charles?  Everyone loved and respected him.  His humor kept all of us alive in the midst of sometimes dreary deliberations.  When he invited me to come to a clergy dinner at the Ritz Carlton Hotel where he was staying, I readily accepted.  I don't remember much about the dinner but after the meal, we had a long and happy meeting.  Charles was very good to me and I knew that he loved me.  Those days soon passed and I went home to California to my parish with my memories.  I wanted to stay forever near him but it could not be.
When I moved back to New York, I saw him once again at his apartment and we had a wonderful reunion.  I would hear wonderful things about his life on Fire Island from friends of mine who also went there.  I am grateful for our time together and for my wonderful memories of it. 
May the angels lead you into Paradise, dear Charles, and may the choirs of saints receive you.  My memories of you are very precious.

Copyright by Richard LaFrance, 2009 All rights reserved. Do not duplicate without permission.