Charles “Charlie” Prefontaine of Mattapoisett died on Sunday March 25, 2018 at home. He was born in New Bedford and was the son of the late Louis “Fred” and Natalie (Park) Prefontaine. He resided in Mattapoisett for forty years.
Charlie became a registered pharmacist in 1974 after completing five years at the University of Rhode Island and an internship at Guy’s Pharmacy in Fairhaven. Shortly after graduation, he took a position working for Fairhaven Pharmacies at their newly acquired Mattapoisett location, Seaport Pharmacy. He was a staff pharmacist for one year and then was made manager of the store. After eight years he purchased Seaport Pharmacy with the “Wind Tunnel” soda fountain. He sold the business to Shaw’s Supermarkets in 1996 and became a pharmacist for them at their Fairhaven store. He worked there for five years and then transferred to Hyannis where he worked for nine years.
As a child he spent many enjoyable and exciting summers at Camp Cachalot. He enjoyed swimming in the pond and had a fast time for the mile swim. He started as a camper and later, after the forest fire of 1964, as a helper to his dad, who was a ranger, cleaning up. In addition to doing general repairs, they built a new trading post. He became the trading post manager for two summers when the camp reopened.
He was an avid surfer only missing one year since 1967. He was a member of the U.R.I. surf team.
When he was in his late 20’s he took up running and ran with the Greater New Bedford Track Club for several years. He completed several half marathons and two marathons. When he owned Seaport Pharmacy, he became involved with the Mattapoisett Fourth of July Road Race a five mile race. He was a participant, sponsor and a committee member.
After a stint with motorcycles (six years at Laconia), he decided sailing would be a lot safer and bought a boat. He earned his Master 100 Ton License from the U.S. Coast Guard and ran Helios Yacht Charters for many years. Being an avid racer, he and his loyal crew participated in many area races, most notably the Mattapoisett Yacht Club Wednesday night series for twenty five years, and winning the Whalen Trophy for being the top boat in Class A six times. Starting in 1988 Helios and crew started a streak of thirty years participating in the annual Figawi race weekend. The race is held on Memorial Day weekend racing from Hyannis to Nantucket. Helios and crew placed first in class fourteen times, placed in class every year but one and was first overall in the cruising fleet (135 boats) twice. In 2017 he won his class and received the Howard K. Penn Spirit of Figawi award.
Charlie and his wife Nancy enjoyed cruising around New England relaxing and having adventures on Helios. Their favorite spots were Hadley’s Harbor and Cuttyhunk.
He is survived by his wife and first mate Nancy (Victorino) Prefontaine, a brother Dennis and his wife Kathy of Holliston, his former wife Linda of New Hampshire and their four children Douglas of Gilford, New Hampshire, Timothy and his wife Almy of Fort Worth, Texas, Christopher of Mattapoisett and Nicole O’Leary and her husband Pat of Mattapoisett, ten grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
His visitation will be held on Sunday April 8, 2018 from 2-6 PM at the Saunders-Dwyer Mattapoisett Home for Funerals, 50 County Rd., Route 6, Mattapoisett. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Dana Farber Cancer Institute and/or Figawi Charities. For directions and guestbook, please visit www.saundersdwyer.com.