PORTLAND – Charles “Chris” Tuttle of Peaks Island, a gifted bass guitarist who opened for big-name acts such as Barbara Mandrell and B.B. King, died Saturday. He was 62.

Mr. Tuttle burst into the music scene in the 1970s, playing bass guitar for the Cobble Mountain Band, which opened for Mandrell. As a member of the Fabulous Heavyweights, he toured the East Coast and opened for acts like King’s.

He also had a small acting role in the 1986 movie “The Money Pit,” a comedy starring Tom Hanks and Shelley Long. Later, he played bass in a Texas-based swing band, and also played backup for Willie Nelson and Arlo Guthrie.

Most recently, Mr. Tuttle played for The Reelers, performing throughout Maine and parts of New England.

His wife, Susan Hafner-Tuttle, a classical violinist, said she appreciated his music. “I thought the whole band was really good,” Hafner-Tuttle said.

Mr. Tuttle met his wife 14 years ago through mutual friends in Pennsylvania, where she lived.

She said her friends would take her to see him perform when she visited Peaks Island. About five years ago, they fell in love. The couple celebrated their third wedding anniversary June 21.

“I called Chris ‘my knight in dented armor,”‘ Hafner-Tuttle said. “He had a history, going from band to band. He was not a frou-frou. He was a regular guy and it fit. Every day he told me, ‘Have I told you today how much I love you with all my heart?”‘

On Saturday, after mowing the grass at their home on Central Avenue, Mr. Tuttle went to his workshop to drill holes into sea glass so his wife could make jewelry. Hafner-Tuttle said she found him there.

“I tried to bring him back,” she said. “It was his time. I know that his spirit will always be on that island. One day, we will be strolling again, hand in hand.”

In addition to his wife, Mr. Tuttle leaves three daughters from previous marriages and four grandsons. His ex-wife Amy Cooney of South Portland said he was a loving person who taught his children an appreciation for music and the island life.

Cooney said that after they got married, he stopped touring and became a stay-at-home dad. He continued to play gigs locally at night, and was well-loved by everyone who knew him, she said.

“He was a very giving and honest person,” Cooney said. “You always knew where you stood with Chris and you never knew what you would get. He was the kind of guy who would bring people home, strangers off the street because he found them interesting.”

Celia Tuttle, Mr. Tuttle’s 22-year-old daughter, said he helped her become the woman she is today. She also said he wasn’t always easy to live with.

“He gave us tough love,” his daughter said. “He taught me about how to live on an island. That shaped our whole life. We would talk and talk for hours. He made us laugh. He was so light-hearted. He always looked at the positive side of things.”

Mr. Tuttle served a stint in the Coast Guard during the Vietnam War. He was an active member of American Legion Post 142.

Barry Harris, post commander, said Mr. Tuttle took pride in his service during the war. Harris said he was a great guy and well-liked by the post’s members.

“He was very easy to talk to,” Harris said. “He had a generous heart. He was my right-hand man, and he served that position very well. We will miss him badly.”

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

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