BUXTON — Charles “Charlie” Tyler Sr. didn’t let his cancer diagnosis slow him down.

Just four years into retirement, he underwent a 12-hour surgery that he wasn’t expected to survive. He did so well, he was able to skip a stay in a rehabilitation unit and head straight home to Buxton.

For the next six years, he remained devoted to his family and yard, never complaining about the pain or long trips to Massachusetts for treatment, his family said Sunday.

Mr. Tyler died Saturday with his family by his side. He was 72.

He was remembered by his wife and children as a hard-working and devoted family man who courageously faced his battle with kidney cancer.

“He was pretty much everything that someone would dream of as a father,” said his son, Charles Tyler Jr. “He cared about his family more than himself.”

Mr. Tyler was born in and lived most of his life in Buxton. He met Patricia, his wife of 50 years, when they were elementary students at Jack Memorial School. He later moved away for a few years, but caught her eye when he was home on leave from the Navy.

“He was looking pretty sharp in his Navy uniform,” she said.

They soon married, and Mr. Tyler built their home in the Groveville area of Buxton. After leaving the Navy in 1962, Mr. Tyler worked for 15 years at Gorham Sheet Metal Shop, before opening Tyler Sheet Metal Shop Inc. in Buxton. He operated the shop for 24 years before retiring in 2002.

Retirement gave Mr. Tyler the opportunity to spend more time with his wife, children and grandson. He and his wife enjoyed vacationing with friends and going out to dinner. Mr. Taylor also took great pride in working on his lawn.

“He was the talk of the town,” his wife said. “They’d always tell him he had the best-looking lawn in town.” Mr. Tyler decided to grow tomatoes and cucumbers for the first time last year. He enjoyed it so much he planted the garden again this year. “He enjoyed sitting out there watching them grow,” Patricia Tyler said.

Doreen Crosby said her father worked hard to support his family and particularly enjoyed spending time with his grandson, Tyler Crosby. He attended his grandson’s sporting events and paid for him to go to college.

“It changed him as a man when he became a grandfather,” she said. “My son was the one that just lit up his world.”

After he retired, Mr. Tyler had more time for long phone conversations, even when he felt unwell, his son said.

“He was just so upbeat and you’d very seldom hear him complain,” Charles Tyler Jr. said. “He still tried to do more than he should have. He fought it as hard as anyone could.”

Patricia Tyler said she admires the courage and strength with which her husband faced his illness. “He accepted it for what it was. He had no regrets,” his wife said. “We had a good life together.”

Staff Writer Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

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