October 21, 2008. Not believing the day was here, I stood before an audience of hundreds to speak.
I had much to say, but my words wouldn’t come. Only tears. Tears because I did not want to be standing on this stage.
I wanted my father to be standing on the stage. It was his honor day. How
unfair life seems.
I remember watching a movie with my Dad, a documentary about someone’s
life. We sat there in awe of all this person had done. And sadly they never got to see the accolades... they died before the
glory came to light. Dad shook his head in sorrow for the lost opportunity. Then puffed up proud for the fact that it did
come to light.
Ironically here I was, standing in for my Dad, who passed away almost six years
I stood with his friends of many years, his partners, his cohorts to adventure. I felt the
‘mouse’ amongst men.... but it is here I had to be.
was my time to speak my words and all I could do - sentimental female that I am - was cry.
My acceptance speech for Dad
It is hard to believe this day is finally here.
I was asked to accept
this award on behalf of my father. I do this with great honor.
Sadly he has been gone for almost six years now... it is still mind numbing to
First, I want to make sure you know his real name...
Charles Fred Hagenmayer. To me, Dad.
‘Dodge’ was a nickname
given to him by his friends Mike Sforza and Otto Qualliotine back in the early days. It had to do with the engines he
I have been listening with great pleasure to many stories
from many people - simple stories... gripping stories... crazy stories... All relay in one form or another
- adding to my own existing memories - the essence of a man that was, himself, driven.
This man, my dad... Charlie... was self taught and not afraid to take risks
or try new approaches. He was creative and innovative, and had the skills
to follow through with his ideas. Putting a tool in his hands was like handing him a magic wand. He had a great
eye for detail... and was touted as a true artist.
He was passionate on many levels. He was exhilarating and infuriating all at once...
strong minded and demanding - many times to the aggravation of others.
One of my fathers motto's was "Don’t tell me you can’t
do it - tell me how you’re gonna do it!"
by the way, I was reminded of by my dads good friend Jamie. Perfect timing, it helped me get on this stage...
My dad was such a pivotal man, not only to my life, but to so many others.
I think the best words used to describe him so far... was that ‘he was a man
I want to further share something that was written
for my dad after he passed. Andy Schwartz worked at Pacer’s one summer - only one. From those few months a
life long bond was formed. That is the type of man Charlie was... it prompted Andy to write these words.
The emptiness left by the passing of a man draws the thoughts and reflections of those who shared his times. There
is felt a need to sum up, and put in perspective, who and what he was. To explain, and to comprehend the depth of our sorrow,
and the wretched ache and fear of parting.
For the loss of Charlie Dodge, a daunting
I knew Charlie for half his life. Boss, mentor, counselor, close friend,
disciplinarian. I know no man who so profoundly affected me. My patterns of thought, my approach to life’s tasks, problems,
challenges, and rewards are his. The things I learned to value: a devotion to craftsmanship, uncompromising attention to detail,
a clear duty to complete the job at hand, to experiment with new fields, and master them. All from Charlie. I’ve spent
so much of myself trying to gain his approval, to please him, to make him proud. To be, in what small capacity I could: him.
How rare are men that inspire such goals?
The simple platitudes usually uttered
at a loved one’s passing are woefully inadequate for Charlie, for his influence was so very much beyond simple poetic
phrases. In truth, he lives because we live. Because so many of those whose lives he touched tried so much to become like
him. And in so doing, perpetuate and live by what were his strengths and his loves. Imitation is our ultimate testament.
If wealth be measured by the number of devoted friends and loving family a man leaves, Charlie
was rich indeed. It leaves ourselves and our world so much the poorer for his passing.
would all like to leave this earth knowing we made a mark... or had a memorable impact.
As I am sure you can understand, this day is bitter sweet. We all wish it was my dad standing here accepting this
award. I’m sure he is watching- that is, of course, if he is not too busy revamping the golden gates...
Dad was comfortable knowing his accomplishments... There is great solace in that, especially