This past Sunday the Tampa Bay Community lost one of the good ones…make that one of the great ones. Charlie Hounchell was a renaissance man: he was a fashion model, a singer, a linguist (he spoke 3 languages fluently), a UF Law graduate, a MBA graduate from the world renowned Thunderbird School of Global Management, a Realtor, an entrepreneur, a community activist and one hell of a fun and happy guy.
Charlie was my friend and mentor. Although, I think if you asked Charlie he would have just said he was my friend. His beautiful smile and the twinkle in his eye always made my day or evening, as was often the case. Charlie had a way of making the people around him (including me) feel happy, confident and inspired.
I can’t recall if I ever shared with him just how big of an influence he had on my on my life recently, but I hope I did. About a year ago, sitting on one of the beds after Casa Nova’s annual Christmas party, he advised me (in a way that only Charlie could) to, “Go work for yourself and start your own thing! What the hell are you doing looking for a job? You got the talent Sal, and now, you got the credentials. Go do it, and don’t look back.” It was exactly what I needed to hear from someone I trusted and admired, in a way that made me feel empowered. He was so right. I have never been happier in my career, save a couple of 65’s I shot on the LPGA Tour, which were very few and far between.
Fast-forward about 6 or 7 months, and true to his earlier endorsement, Charlie hired me to design a website for his newest business venture: Florida Property Title, LLC, and then hired me again to help re-brand Florida Property Law, LLC and redesign the website. I am honored that I had the opportunity to work for Charlie in the last few months of his life, a life that, in my opinion, was cut far too short.
I guess I can smile because I know that Charlie will never age in my mind, or in the minds of any of his friends. I think he would have like that (the not aging part), and then he would have thrown his back and laughed, at the irony of it all. I love you Charlie and miss you already.