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Charlie Baty – Gone Home

The following Obituary has been written by Dr Graham Patrick


Charlie Baty 2.jpg                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It is with regret that I have to intimate the death of Charlie Baty who is
known to many of the Greenock Scouts and Leaders who participated in the
Scouting international expeditions to South Africa in 1997, 2001 and 2006.
Charlie was District Commissioner of the Mpumalanga province, South Africa
for many years, and lived in Whiteriver. Although he spent most of his
working life in South Africa, Charlie was a proud Scot and made a point of
wearing his kilt whenever he was with us during our expeditions and visits.
He was an enthusiast in everything that he did whether that be sharing his
love of collecting Scouting stamps from around the world, or promoting
Scouting to some of the poorest areas in the Mpumalanga area.  Charlie was a
shining example of the true Scouting spirit and believed passionately in the
brotherhood of Scouting. My first contact with Charlie was in 1995 when I
was in Pretoria carrying out a recce for what would turn out to be the first
ever expedition to South Africa by Scottish Scouts. Scout HQ in Pretoria
told me of this larger than life character living in the Mpumalanga area
over 100 miles away and phoned him up to tell him of my presence. He
immediately invited me to drive over to stay with him and his wife Lorna in
Whiteriver the next day. On arrival, I received the left hand shake, was
given a hearty meal, shown his stamp collection, then given the keys to his
four wheel drive so that I could have a look at Kruger National park the
next day. And just in case Charlie wasn’t in when I got back, he gave me his
house keys so that I could get in.  The Scout Law ‘A Scout is to be Trusted’
was never so clearly displayed.
In 1997 and 2001, Charlie put in a tremendous power of work to make our
visits to South Africa as enjoyable and exciting as possible. He mobilised
his leaders and Scouting families to lay on splendid home hospitality,
organised BBQs and coordinated every part of our visit to the Mpumalanga
area such that everything went like clockwork. One of my abiding memories of
him was in Kruger National Park where he produced a team of Scouters to lay
on a BBQ lunch at one of the rest camps within the park, followed by a
Scouts Own which he led. The peace and tranquility of that Scouts Own in the
heart of the South African bush will remain with me for ever.
Charlie had an absolute passion for Scouting and was clearly delighted to
be able to act as a host to Scouts and leaders from his homeland. He was
highly complimentary about the Scottish Scouts he met, not only in terms of
uniform and behaviour, but also in spirit and attitude. I like to think that
we gave as much pleasure to him as he did to us. Of course, Charlie’s real
Scouting ‘day job’  was to develop Scouting amongst white and black
communities in the Mpumalanga area. He did this supremely well and the
Scouting membership especially in black communities was a shining example to
the rest of the country. He related superbly well with Scouts and Scouters
alike and he had the ability to enthuse and motivate by his energy, ready
smile and friendly manner. He never had a bad word to say about anyone, and
was always looking for the good in people. It can be no surprise that he was
a dedicated Christian and his faith was a rock which could not be shaken.
Even when his beloved wife Lorna died of cancer some years ago, he saw the
hand of God in the way his whole family (scattered in the USA, South Africa
and Scotland) were able to be present at her passing. It was Charlie’s
intention to emigrate from South Africa at the beginning of August and
settle with family in the USA. It is tragic that he was not able to carry
out that wish since he passed away about a week before his intended
departure date.
Anyone who really knew Charlie will feel a tremendous loss. This man
epitomised all that was good in Scouting and the Christian way of life. We
are left now with only a memory, but that memory must surely serve as an
example and an inspiration on how to live one’s life to the full in the
service of God and one’s community.

Graham L. Patrick

Charlie Baty 3.jpgCharlie Baty 1.jpg


Comment from Dave Chalton
Time August 16, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Terrible news! A huge loss to Scouting with the passing of this great character, Charlie will be sorely missed, but all his fantastic achievements and his memory held by hundreds of Scouts will live on. Best wishes, thoughts and prayers to his family,
Dave (the one in the red kilt)

Comment from George Baty
Time August 16, 2010 at 6:51 pm

A marvellous tribute to a wonderful man, a great scout and a great scot. In his formative years his scouting Charlie was with the then 32nd Midlothian Cramond Scouts of which he was a prominent member and contributor at all levels. He left home in Edinburgh in 1958 aged 19 for his new life in White River , South Africa. Scouting was always in the forefront of his life and he truly lived the original scout laws .
Together we visited the Centenary World Jamboree in England in 2007 during one of his trips to the UK and I took him down to Brownsea Island . He loved it .
Last August 2009 on the glorious twelfth, we climbed Ben Nevis together – it was a first for Charlie and he wanted to achieve it before his 70th birthday. I’m now so thankful we did.

George Baty ( his little brother – and fellow Queen Scout)

Comment from Debbie Meyers
Time March 2, 2014 at 1:04 am

I got to know Mr. Charlie as the father of Cathy, Jenny, and Janet, 3 of my sweetest friends here in the US. Our entire community was so excited to having him move here to be with his family and new found friends. He was a vital part of the scouting program here in Jackson, LA, and was an inspiration to so many of our boys. I wish he could have been here in person to see his grandson achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, but he certainly was here in our hearts. He blessed the lives of so many here, and as evidenced by this tribute, the lives of many throughout the rest of the world.

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