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Bricklayer, Square-Dance Caller and Sometime “Bear”

Published: 5/20/2011
Charlie Tuffield (The Denver Post)Charlie Tuffield, a bricklayer by day and square-dance caller by night, 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.

Share your condolences in Charlie Tuffield’s Guest Book.


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.

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