Charlie Way: A life of good works without fanfare

By Mary Ann Enloe | Sep 12, 2013

Charlie Way was quiet and unassuming. He chose to do good works without fanfare. A lifelong member of Waynesville First United Methodist Church, he and his wife Mary Ann Massie Way were responsible for more programs and ideas at their church than can be noted.

"They were instrumental in the establishment and growth of the Child Development Center, and Charlie served in about every office in our local church as well as in many capacities at the district and conference level of the Methodist church," said C. Jeff Reece, Jr., a member of the extraordinarily successful Massie family of early Waynesville entrepeneurs and first cousin to Charlie's widow, Mary Ann Massie Way.

For fifty years Charlie and Mary Ann headed up the popular annual Pancake Day fund raiser at Waynesville FUMC. The huge effort they coordinated for decades pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into the church's coffers for capital improvements and worldwide missions.

Old-timers will remember Charlie at The Toggery, perhaps Waynesville's most prestigious clothing and shoe store. Owned and operated by Mary Ann's father Hugh Massie, Charlie came on board in 1953. He continued to run the store after Massie's death, finally selling the building to Mast General Store which is located there now.

"The only way Mast would agree to come is if they could buy the building," said Reece whose parents, C. J. and Nora Massie Reece, owned nearby Massie Department Store where John Graham's is now. In the 40's and 50's, Main Street was flanked on both sides with buildings and businesses owned by the 12 Massie siblings and their families: among them were the Park and Strand theatres and Parkman's Hardware. Massie Furniture Store continues to thrive today.

Easter shoes came from The Toggery, and fur-trimmed winter coats. Customer service was a hallmark before the phrase caught on.

"Charlie was a hard worker at anything he did," said Reece. "He was good at team-building and encouraging people to want to do a good job. He instilled good work ethics."

Born into the affluent Way family that owned the massive brick Victorian mansion which still today anchors one end of Waynesville's Main Street, Charles Burr Way got his priorities straight early on. First in his life were his family and his church. A true Southern gentleman, genteel and soft-spoken, Charlie Way's way of life was admirable.