Charles R. Van Nostrand, Jr. passed away on August 24, 2023, suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 85, following a successful hip replacement surgery at Garnet Health Medical Center in Middletown, …
Charles R. Van Nostrand, Jr. passed away on August 24, 2023, suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 85, following a successful hip replacement surgery at Garnet Health Medical Center in Middletown, NY. A resident of Lake Placid, Florida at the time of his passing, “Charlie” as he was known to most, had been a long-time resident in the Catskill Mountains, beginning in Claryville, and later in Grahamsville.
Born in Queens, New York, to Helen Louise and Charles R. VanNostrand, Sr., he grew up in Port Washington, NY. He attended Blair Academy in NJ during his high school years and then served in the US Army in the mid-1950’s as a chopper pilot.
During his working years that followed, Charles served as President and CEO of Samuel French in New York City, and Chairman of the Board of Samuel French Ltd., London, for 14 years from 1992 until his retirement in 2006. He presided over the agency, which published the works of many major playwrights, composers and lyricists and licensed the works of thousands more to professional theaters, amateur groups, and high school drama clubs throughout the world.
Samuel French was founded in 1830 by his great-grandfather T. R. Edwards and was the oldest and largest publisher and licensor of plays and musicals in the English-speaking world until it was acquired by Concord in 2019.
His greatest joy, and the happiest days of his life were spent atop a tractor in the fields of his beloved Van’s Farm on Merritt Road. The end of the day would be spent with a JWB (with a “kazoom” of water) in hand, perfectly content with his view from the mountaintop. Despite not having grown up on a farm, Charlie was an excellent farmer, raising hogs and beef. He was always concerned about his animal’s welfare and their comfort. He was also concerned about the health of his farm, evidenced by his being awarded a prize for his conservation practices by New York State. He combined his city life with his country life seamlessly during these days. The saddest days of his life were having to sell his farm and auction off the equipment. He never got over that.
A generous and compassionate man, he made everyone feel that they had a special bond with him. He was a great listener, an even better advice-giver. A storyteller beyond compare. And oh, so smart. He was the go-to-man for any project, large or small, as he had a mind that could look at the task from many angles to find the exact right solution.
Charlie had zero tolerance for those who betrayed him, however. He could also be stubborn in his ways and his opinions at times. Those who chose to engage with him on issues, usually walked away with another viewpoint and new knowledge, appreciating that they would just disagree on the subject.
His hobbies later in life consisted of boating, fishing, reading, and watching movies. His greatest challenge was attempting to understand technology and the point of the ever-changing world we live in. He will be sadly missed by all.
Arrangements will be private. A Celebration of Life will be held in the Spring, hosted by his Goddaughter Cindy Heaton and her husband Ken.