New Brunswick woodcarver, ‘The Woodchuck’, dies

New Brunswick woodcarver, ‘The Woodchuck’, dies
An outspoken and charismatic woodcarver based in Bouctouche, N.B., known as “The Woodchuck,” has died.

Charles Bernard died Friday at the age of 69 at Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton.

Bernard has spent 25 years as “The Woodchuck,” 15 of which were in Bouctouche Bay.

In addition to these “jobs,” Bernard said in his life in the 1960s, he had passed counterfeit money, sold drugs and joined a bike gang and “terrorized the country.”

“I was some good biker,” he said. “If you could’ve seen me on a chopper, boy oh boy.”

As of 2013, he had whittled at least 1,500 carvings that sold for thousands of dollars. According to his obituary written on Passage Funeral Co-operative , Bernard taught woodcarving to students at various schools in New Brunswick and the Cultural Centre in Bouctouche.

“Where he could always be heard telling students who were afraid of ruining their carving ‘not to worry you can’t make a mistake that I can’t fix, ” the obituary reads.

On that coffin includes the moment he had said is when his life turned around.

“After going to jail so many times, a couple dozen times, it got really boring. So I go for my parole board review,” he said, and had pointed out that moment.

Thousands of people toured his shop every year, an experience often made through interactions with Bernard.

“Meeting Chuck was always a larger than life experience and he will be missed and always remembered by his loving family and the large network of friends, tourists, and those in the woodcarving and antiques community,” his obituary reads.

“I’ve got a big mouth, some I might piss off but it’s neither here nor there,” he said in the interview in 2013.

Prior to moving to Bouctouche Bay, he and his wife Cheryl — who is also known as “Woodchip” — were part of Curtain Call Theatre. And prior to woodcarving, he owned and operated Palumbos Variety and Palm Lunch in Dieppe, N.B.

Several messages of condolences have been posted to the guest book for Bernard, expressing shock over his passing as well as speaking to who he was as a person.

“The world has lost a very good man who loved entertaining people with his quick wit and his enjoyment in making people laugh,” wrote Linda and Bob McIsaac.

“He was [one] unique individual for sure and am proud to say we have a carving of his work in our home and will never forget him,” wrote Christine Churchill and Ed Hurley from Newfoundland.

“I loved listening to his stories, and bringing my friends and family to meet him, see his amazing art, and stop into your shop,” wrote Dee Milliken.

Visitations will take place Thursday at Sainte-Anne-de-Kent RC Church’s slumber room in Sainte-Anne-de-Kent, N.B. from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. A funeral mass will take place Friday at 11 a.m. at the church.
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