R.I.P., Charles Cala

I wasn't on Facebook much last week, and so I missed various people posting about the fact that our friend Charles (a.k.a. Rev. Buck Nakid) had died, until Kam mentioned it this evening.

I hadn't seen or heard from or about him in probably at least ten years. But I'm very sorry to hear about his death.

He was hit by a truck while bicycling in Austin, Texas, where I gather he'd been living for a while.

In case anyone reading this is interested and doesn't already know, there'll be a convocation/wake in his memory this coming Friday evening, at Fibber McGee's in Sunnyvale. I'm not sure whether I'll be going.

Various people who knew Charles have posted some comments on a Facebook post from Jeff Saunders (mostly from people who knew Charles from the Spangenberg Auditorium stage tech days). Not sure whether people who aren't on Jeff's friends list will be able to see that.

The people who ran the fireworks show at Shoreline this past weekend apparently included an 8" shell in the finale in memory of Charles. Seems like a very fitting tribute.

I think my iconic memory of Charles was that Beltane on the beach in 1992, when Charles and I carried a wooden shipping pallet down to the beach for a bonfire. We had a little moment of theatre-tech bonding there, in the course of acknowledging that each of us could carry one end of something while walking backward.

He also figured prominently in the La Tierra roleplaying campaign that Ananda ran in 1993 or so. Charles played a radical semi-terrorist, who had grown up with our group and was still part of the group, but kept getting us in trouble by blowing stuff up. His character, I admit, made some things about the game difficult, and caused some tension; still, I think he also added some interesting complications.

Back in real life, I think it was around the time of his father's sudden and pretty awful death that Charles drifted away from my social crowd, and I'm sorry to say that I didn't make an effort to stay in touch. But when I occasionally thought of him, I was always glad to think that he was still out there, still grinning and talking casually and openly about sex and explosives and other stuff not so often discussed in polite company.

It feels weird to say that I'll miss him, given how long it's been since I had any contact with him. But I'm sad to know he's gone.

11 Responses to “R.I.P., Charles Cala”

  1. jeannie

    It’s July 19,and I was at work today when [someone] told me Charles had passed away, he was so interesting and intelligent, I am in shock. I too have rescued cats, and Charles never judged me when I told him how many I have, he always asked me about them, knowing my pet family means everything to me, he always asked how my music was coming along, and really listened when I had life crises concerning work, husband, etc. Charles was an amazing man, I have been working for 9 years and he made it bearable when he was in house. Why him, a good man, so many mean spirited people in the world, why him, I am very concerned about his cats.

    [Comment lightly edited by Jed at commenter’s request.]

    • Jed

      Thank you for your note, and I’m sorry not to have replied sooner.

      I too hope his cats are okay; I don’t know what happened to them.

      If you’d like to get in touch with other people who knew him better than I did, you could try following the link in this entry to Jeff’s Facebook post. (You might need a Facebook account, I’m not sure.) And then you could send a message to Jeff and tell him you’re a friend of Charles’s; he could probably put you in touch with others.

      I hope you’re holding up all right.

      • Patricia Cala

        I wrote a long note to Jeb (Jeff) Please keep in contact. I am trying to sue the truck company. I don’t even want to imagine the accident. I read the accident report and saw the diagram and read the text of the wittnesses oral testimony. The wittnesses said he was on one of the low bikes, riding with the green light, the truck came from a side street and made a right turn on a red light without stopping. It was very tragic and a disaster.
        That is all I can say for now. Yes, his father died after Paly, then his brother Thomas died of cancer and now my Charles, too early, has left us.
        Patricia Cala

    • The Shefman Law Group

      If you were a friend or knew Charles Cala would you please call us as we are representing the estate of Mr. Cala and need information about him from his friends. Thank you.

      [Note from Jed: I don’t know anything about this organization, so I can’t speak for the accuracy of what they’re saying.]

      • Simona Vanecek

        Hello, I am the wife of Thomas Vincent Cala his brother who died from an overdose of mustard gas for his cancer treatment. 916/708-4680

    • Sarita

      Jeannie – I’m not sure if you found the information you were looking for back in 2010 about Charles’s cats… but I have them. Dot and Jenna traveled to Minnesota. They have been taken in by my younger sister and her boyfriend. I was seeing Charles before his death, and in those days after he was killed, I made it my mission to find the cats and bring them here to Minnesota.

      They seem to be happy with my sister… they are given lots of love from all of my family.

      Jeff -thank you for this… I keep looking for his friends and their memories of him… I miss him… I’m glad I found your page.

  2. Patricia Cala

    Jeff – I do remember you. I was planning on making it to Austin as soon as I retired from working with Valley Medical Center. I was so pleased to hear from so many of his friends from Austin and Palo Alto. Some messages get delayed.
    Charles was cremated and burried in Jamestown, NY the day before his birthday, September 12. He would have been 42. Your stories about the fun you all had was good news. I remember that he learned a lot about fun in Palo Alto. Cow tipping was one of them. Riding the cardboard with the ice from the Stanford cafeteria was another. And, one night after working at Cubberly, he came in at 1:00 am and had taken some of that gas that changes your voice. My husband and I were in bed, Charles came into our room, he thought he sounded very funny. I did too, but I don’t think his father did.
    I prayed very hard to have a child and I finally had Charles. He was a spitter and did not sleep well, so we spent a lot of time together from day one.
    When we flew from Conneticut to CA the airport police came to me and said, we would like to see your son for a minute, we will bring him back. He carried a rifle in his duffle bag through the airport. He knew the law, It was when he was going into 10th grade. Then in Paly he put explosives into the trash can.
    I try not to remember those times too often.
    Pleae write back. Lots of love, Pat Cala (PS sorry I missed Fibber McGeehs.)

    • Simona

      I received sad news that Patricia Cala passed away in March. She had to endure such horrific trials and tribulations in her life. She outlived the tragic loss of her husband, then her son Thomas Vincent Cala who was given a lethal dose of Nitrogen Mustard Gas which was given as part of his chemo treatment having Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Then the loss of her other son Charles Cala III who sadly was hit on his bicycle by a truck. He loved to ride motorcycles and knew how dangerous they were surviving a few accidents. Then in the end it was the bicycle that killed him. Very sad. Then it was IIeanna Cala the daughter who past away from cancer. Such pain this family endured, My positive thoughts are with them all hoping that in death they can find peace and happiness together that in life they could not. I will always love you Thomas and I remember what you told me: “I am always with you”. ~Simona

      • Tina Cala Brown

        Just saw this and I want you to know I’m the keeper of the Cala plots in Jamestown. Everything is up to par and I’m waiting for a quote to have the large monument cleaned.

  3. https://me.yahoo.com/a/vxdB5ilhvJq0v9Z8z2PSX2KBtPHCqMovCA--#bc99a

    Hello to anyone who refers back to this page. My name is Fabian and Charles was a good friend of mine in Austin.
    I miss him. I moved back to California and returned to Austin and its not the same. We met in early 2008 while working and ended up being roommates later that year. 2008-2010 as I knew him he was doing things like tinkering with getting Linux running on a cell phone, trying to create a more efficient ammunition magazine & eternally online.

    He was the best friend I made in Texas, though we were both transplanted from California. He had a great way of breaking things down into logical pieces and as I’ve read here and on the Convocation facebook page, he did like to blow things up lol. Memories?.. I got to help him hold down a cat he semi adopted while he cleaned and crazy glued a wound shut… never again, but thank you Charles.

  4. Simona Vanecek

    Dearest Charles, you were a very bright man with good character. You cared for your family very much and had experienced tremendous loss after your father and brother passed away tragically. My heart and thoughts are with wishing that you are happily reunited with your family now. With the warmest regards, SIMONA


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