Charles Cleary Obituary, Death – We said our final goodbyes today to a man who was truly “one of a kind.” “Pudgie,” our beloved father, died on Sunday, December 4th, 2022, as a result of stroke-related injuries sustained just days before. On January 9, 1940, Charles Cleary was born to the late James Cleary, Sr. and Phyllis E. Cleary. An uncle dubbed him “Pudgie” early on, telling Jim and Mamie that “this boy is going to be healthy…and a handful.” How foresightful. Pudgie was the chief instigator, or willing compatriot, to a dizzying array of experiences and accomplishments over the course of his nearly 83-year life. Throughout his childhood, his family was hardworking but impoverished. When he was younger, Pudgie was a hustler.
He worked his way up to owning and operating a popular family-owned pizza “shop.” Pudgie was one of three brothers who created “Pudgie’s Pizza & Sub’s.” Since 1963, the company has supported three generations of the Cleary family. It is, without a doubt, a local “food empire.” Dad’s greatest source of pride was the company he founded. He adored his children, siblings, two wives, and the rest of his wacky extended family. As strange as it may sound, he didn’t prefer one over the other. His most difficult work: his efforts and hustle, resulted in the company. Pudgie’s legacy is his lasting creation; it, like his children, is his legacy.
Debbie Todd, Patty (Patrick) Kelley, Kelly Emanuel, Melissa Wichtowski, Colleen (Tim) Campbell, Brenda (Mark) Baker, Brandon (Heidi), and Alexander (Nicole) Cleary are his children and their spouses. Pudgie’s son Francis “Boomer” Cleary, as well as sons-in-law Ralph Todd and Rick Emanuel, predeceased him. His grandchildren and great grandchildren included Mary, Nicole, Andrew, Enzo, Ryan, Aimee, Ian, Meghan, Mackenzie, Dylan, Raven, Eric, Alex, Luca, Nico, Andrew, Allyson, Wyatt, Ashton, Brennan, Elias, Miles, Violet, Caitlyn, Brandi, and Isabella. Pudgie is survived by his second wife, Diana Brownell Cleary; his first wife, Carol Cowley, predeceased him.
Pudgie was predeceased by three siblings: brothers Michael P. Cleary and Francis J. Cleary, and sister Bernadette Tarntino, in addition to his parents, son, and sons-in-law. Only two of Jim and Mamie’s six children survive: brother James (“Sonny”) Cleary, Jr. and sister Mary Margaret Poteat. Pudgie’s sister-in-law, Lois Wright Cleary, was especially close to him and also survives. There are many more cousins, nieces and nephews, family added through marriage, Pudgies coworkers who became family, and so many people who Pudge loved like family. We can’t name everyone who made Dad’s life better by listening to his stories and befriending him. We’ll have plenty of “only Pudgie” stories to tell at the Visitation and Funeral Services.
McInerny Funeral Home, 502 W. Water St., Elmira, is in charge of funeral arrangements. From 4:00 to 7:00 PM, McInerny Funeral Home will be open for visitors. The year is 2022, and the date is December 8th. On Friday, December 9, 2022, at 12:45 p.m., a prayer service will be held at the funeral home, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Mary’s Church, 224 Franklin St., Elmira, at 1:30 p.m. Following the interment, there will be a service at St. Peter & Paul’s Cemetery.