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Charles J. Soffron

Charles J. (Charlie) Soffron, 92, of 27 Green Street, Ipswich, died on January 14, 2014 at Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester, after a brief illness. 

Son of the late James and Stella Sofronas, he was born and raised in Ipswich, and graduated from Ipswich High School in 1938. After graduation he worked at Robinson’s Boat Yard in Ipswich. In 1942 he joined the service as a merchant marine on a ship attached to the Army, trained as a ship engineer, and was assigned to the engine room. Carrying supplies around the globe during World War II was a dangerous occupation; one in twenty-six merchant marines lost their lives, a greater percentage of war-related deaths than all of the other services. Mr. Soffron was justly proud of his service; indeed, it was a rare to see him without a well-worn Merchant Marine cap perched on his head.

After the war he embarked on a work career that included a wide range of occupations, both here and abroad. For several years he worked for the Aramco Oil Company in Saudi Arabia. His years there led to an abiding interest in the Middle East, one that he maintained his entire life. When he returned to the U.S., he earned his living through a variety of pursuits, including managing an apartment building, working as a real estate agent, and owning and operating two bowling alleys.  

For a number of years he also owned and ran the Taboo nightclub in Lynn, where one night he noticed a pretty girl in a cotton red dress; her name was Dorothy Stone. Dorothy received a phone call from Mr. Soffron soon thereafter, and a few years later they married. In the early sixties he and Dorothy settled in Carroll City, Florida, where they raised their daughter Irene, and where he worked for many years as a salesman, repairman, and installer for a terrazzo floor company. In his spare time he trained greyhounds at a dog track in Miami Beach. In his later years, after returning to Ipswich, he worked in the commercial fishing industry in a variety of capacities, including fishing for scallops and swordfish in the outer banks, and his specialty, repairing boat engines. 

Despite his varied and interesting career, Mr. Soffron’s first love was not work; it was people. He had a sincere interest in the lives of others, and would engage in conversation (often lengthy) with nearly all that he met.  No one benefited more from his thoughtfulness and wisdom than the members of his family. “I lost my dad when I was a young boy,” said his son-in-law Kevin. “Charlie taught me how to be a man.”

His grandson, Charlie Flynn, remembers his grandfather fondly as a teacher from whom he learned a number of useful skills, such as how to tip a hotel clerk (before your stay) and how to eat a tomato off the vine. His family remembers him as a man who was deeply generous with his time and his money; who had great style (especially his shoes); whose favorite expression of displeasure was “beans on you;” who was exceptionally proud and supportive of his daughter Irene and his grandchildren; and who was a devoted husband to his loving wife Dorothy.  

Mr. Soffron was a member of the Masonic Lodge and the Assumption of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church of Ipswich. 

Besides his wife of fifty-four years, he is survived by his daughter, Irene R. Flynn and her husband Kevin of Springdale, ME, and three grandchildren, Charles Flynn of MD and Keziah and Abigail Flynn, both of ME. He was predeceased by his brothers Anthony and George Soffron, and by his sister, Annie Soffron. 

His funeral service with military honors was held on January 18 at the New Highland Cemetery in Ipswich. Arrangements were under the direction of the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home of Ipswich. Donations in Mr. Soffron’s memory may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Way, Memphis TN  38105.

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