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Bricklayer, Square-Dance Caller and Sometime “Bear” / Nick Ehrhardt

Bricklayer, Square-Dance Caller and Sometime “Bear”

Charlie Tuffield (The Denver Post)Bricklayer by day and square-dance caller by night, Charlie Tuffield began calling square dances by chance.

The obituary written by reporter Virginia Culver for The Denver Post says:

Tuffield started as an accordionist for the dancers, but one night the scheduled caller didn’t show up, so he stepped in, Lewis [his daughter] said. He had no training but seemed to be a natural, she said.

He took his square-dance expertise to academia:

He also helped the University of Colorado and University of Northern Colorado set up square-dance programs in the 1970s.

Culver also told the story about how Tuffield turned his children into a pack of dancing bears.

About 15 years ago, he bought each of his children bear outfits — all different Disney characters — and took them to Children’s Hospital and other care facilities to entertain patients.

Even some of the grandchildren and other family members are dancing bears, Lewis said.

Her father spent $600 on each costume — at a time when he really needed to buy a new car.

"He said he was sure the dancing bears (which he called the Square Bear) would be a lot more entertaining to more people than a new car," Lewis said.

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This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer who lives in Northeast Ohio. She is director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers and chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers.