Charlotte Singleton, 1944-2023
The Camden Conference community is mourning the untimely death of Charlotte Singleton, long-time member of the Board of Directors and chair of the Program Committee, who died on October 12 in a car accident.
Charlotte (Tyte) was born in North Carolina in 1944 and lived in Kentucky, Missouri and Texas before graduating from Barnard College in New York, where she developed her passion for world affairs, human rights and good journalism. (Her family notes that Charlotte’s favorite coffee mug reads, “I am silently correcting your grammar.”) With her first husband, Stephen Kennedy, she raised her young children in Germany and later in Portland, Oregon, where Charlotte led the World Affairs Council of Oregon and the National Council of World Affairs Organizations. She married Seth Singleton in 1998 and worked with him at universities in Ecuador and in Vietnam, where she helped secure medical care for children living in remote mountainous areas of the country.
In 2001 Charlotte and Seth moved to Mt. Desert Island, where they built a home and often entertained their children and grandchildren. In Maine, Charlotte’s humanitarian efforts continued; for many years in she served as a court-appointed representative of Maine children in need of legal advocacy. Both Charlotte and Seth joined the Camden Conference and contributed greatly to the organization and its continued success through the years.
“Charlotte was a hard-working and creative contributor to the Camden Conference and a wonderful partner to me during my tenure as the President of the Conference Board,” said former president Karin Look. “We all will miss Charlotte’s leadership of the Program Committee and as a Board member, and her dedication to creating a Conference program worthy of the community engagement she prized. Charlotte’s death has left a hole in the Mid-Coast and broader Maine community. I have lost a friend and mentor.”
As head of the Program Committee, Charlotte guided the selection of Conference topics, unerringly focusing on subjects that would be relevant and timely though the choice was made often more than a year in advance. Former board president and program committee chair Bruce Cole, who worked closely with Charlotte and has come out of retirement to guide the committee through the 2024 Conference, noted that “she was always the best prepared person in the room, no matter that the topic might range from China, to Russia, to the great world challenge with refugees and immigration.” Once a topic was selected and approved by the board, Charlotte recruited an always stellar group of speakers, persuading them that Camden, Maine was the best place in the world for them to be in mid-February. “She promised them an attentive and informed audience and she promised them a safe space to express sometimes controversial ideas,” said Camden Conference president Wayne Hobson. “Charlotte was an important and quietly effective presence. At a deep level, she understood that the Camden Conference works at its best when it connects people and addresses the fundamental values at the core of crucial global issues.” And, said Hobson, “People believed Charlotte. They could tell she listened carefully and thought strategically and shrewdly. Her voice was soft, her humor dry, and there was always a knowing twinkle in her eye. We will miss her sorely.”