F. Gould Charshee Jr., an environmental planner who worked for decades on improving water quality in the Baltimore metropolitan area, died June 11 of complications from Parkinson's disease and a series of strokes at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson.
The Roland Park resident was 66.
Mr. Charshee was born and raised in Summit, N.J. He attended the Johns Hopkins University in the mid-1960s. He met his future wife, Pamela Ford, then a student at Roland Park Country School, after a mutual friend introduced them and they went out on a blind date.
After graduating from Hopkins in 1966 with a biology degree, Mr. Charshee and Pamela Ford married and moved to Bethlehem, Pa., where he attended Lehigh University and received a master's degree in education. He began his career as a biology and earth science teacher in a town near where he grew up in New Jersey.
Pamela Charshee said that after several years of teaching, her husband became interested in working in the field of water quality protection. The couple returned to Baltimore in the early 1970s and Mr. Charshee got a job with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
One of his first tasks involved working on a study of water quality in Baltimore's Inner Harbor — an effort that pre-dated requirements set forth by the federal Clean Water Act in 1977.
"He really was itching to be part of this water clean-up effort," Pamela Charshee said. "We heard that a lot of interesting things were happening here [in Baltimore], and Gould really wanted to come back."
During his work for DNR in the 1970s, Mr. Charshee also developed and implemented the first statewide program for public participation in water-quality planning.
"He was passionate about doing anything he could to educate people on what causes degradation of water quality so they could change their behaviors to improve it," said Ken McElroy, Mr. Charshee's former supervisor at DNR and a lifelong friend. "He had a great passion for involving the public in improving water quality."
Mr. Charshee also volunteered with local conservation groups, including the Maryland Conservation Council and the Baltimore Environmental Council, in the 1970s.
Mr. Charshee would go on to work for other state agencies. In the 1980s, he worked for the Maryland Department of the Environment, where he oversaw state programs for water quality and sewer planning.
In the early 1990s, Mr. Charshee worked at the Maryland Department of Agriculture, where he directed the state's main program for helping farmers pursue pollution control measures. As concerns about pollution and run-off in the Chesapeake Bay watershed mounted, Charshee oversaw a program that distributed $11 million in payments that enabled 2,100 run-off control projects among the state's farmers.
Mr. Charshee retired from state government work in 1996, and later attended the University of Baltimore, earning a master's of public administration.
In 2002, Mr. Charshee returned to environmental work, serving as liaison for the reservoir management program for the Baltimore Metropolitan Council. His work with the council, where he strove to protect the Baltimore region's reservoir system, may have been the most gratifying of his career, his wife said.
"He found it very satisfying to bring folks together who might not necessarily be on the same page, to find common ground," Pamela Charshee said. "He knew a lot of people at that point. He knew people all over the state, and it helped him in his work."
Mr. Charshee's son, Campbell, 25, said his father's enthusiasm for the outdoors in Maryland rubbed off on him. He recalled his father taking him on long hikes at Gunpowder Falls when he was younger.
"He loved nature," his son said. "I think my love of the outdoors came from him."
Mr. Charshee is survived by his wife and his son, of West New York, N.J. The family is planning a memorial service at the Memorial Episcopal Church, 1407 Bolton St., in Baltimore, on Wednesday.
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