Charlie M’Clary

Charlie M'ClaryCharlie passed away on May 4, 2007. With his passing the club again lost one of it’s original founding members. Charlie was an icon of kiting in Southern California and beyond.


No last name was usually needed, one just had to said “Charlie” and the kiting world pretty much knew it was the self-proclaimed KYTE BUM (as his license plate would state) Charlie M’Clary. Charlie was one of the founding members of the San Diego Kite Club way back in 1990, his membership number is number 5. He volunteered to hold the position of “Archivest” and he had held that position since the club’s inception.

Just about everything in his life revolved around kites. He had designed a number of sport kites and fighter kites. He used to come to my office and ask me to plot out his latest kite design he had done on CAD. Charlie saw himself as a kiting expert and built several kites. In fact, one of his designs was picked up by a commercial manufacturer and was on the market. If he ever saw a newbie struggle he would walk over and offer to help. Anytime a new kite was on the field he would offer his opinion and ways he would improve it.

One evening while watching a news magazine story about a man hitch-hiking across the nation, Charlie was this man’s final ride to Santa Monica Beach. Needless to say many of us were surprised when we found a few facts about his past life for the first time on TV. But Charlie lived a full life and enjoyed as much as he could. I know he has traveled far and wide in pursuit of a kiting event. In our club newsletter he wrote a regular column called “Log of the Kyte Bum.” Whether it was our monthly club meetings in San Diego or those in Santa Monica, or any on the West Coast, Charlie made an effort to be there.

Its been said that a long life is not necessarily good, but a good life is long enough. Charlie’s life appeared to be both good and long.

In the music world there’s several single name personalities: Sting, Madonna, Jewell and Beyonce. In the world of supermodels there’s Iman and Gisele.

In our kiting world there’s simply only one “Charlie.”