ORANGE PARK – A former legend of the Town of Orange Park has died. It is with sadness Clay Today learned of Chuck Pavlos’ death on Thursday, April 27, after a hard-fought battle with …
ORANGE PARK – A former legend of the Town of Orange Park has died. It is with sadness Clay Today learned of Chuck Pavlos’ death on Thursday, April 27, after a hard-fought battle with cancer.
After serving the position for nine years, Pavlos, who retired as the town public works director on April 22, 2020, led the charge during an era in which Orange Park completed some of its biggest infrastructure projects.
One of Chuck’s biggest accomplishments was spearheading the Wells Road from the U.S. Highway 17 to Plainfield Avenue project, which included implementing a new water sewer and roadway.
Pavlos also guided the town through extensive stormwater maintenance work, which was completed after Hurricane Irma in 2017. The storm may have hit the town with force, but the repairs have helped the town cope with Florida’s hurricanes.
These were just two projects Pavlos completed after arriving in Clay County from Southwest Florida in 2011. He came out of retirement as public works director of Cape Coral to serve the same role in Orange Park.
“His Naval engineering background and rapport with employees led to his great leadership skills. He oversaw many important projects during his time here- including the reconstruction of Plainfield Avenue, Kingsley Ave East, and River Rd. The town was able to acquire numerous pieces of equipment under his direction- utility trucks, trash trucks, Genie lifts, water trailer, water line jetting, Menzi Muck, street sweeper and first-ever Vac-Con truck,” said town manager Sarah Campbell.
Pavlos then left Orange Park to return to his home in Southwest Florida in Spring 2020, retiring again to North Fort Myers.
While the former public works director made a tremendous impact through his engineering escapades, Pavlos will be remembered for much more in Orange Park, said longtime town resident and U.S. Air Force veteran Kenny Radwanski.
Radwanski was a close friend who kept in touch with Pavlos after he retired more than three years ago.
“He was well-liked by everybody. Very smooth. He didn’t talk much, but when he did, everybody listened. He was not only a thinker, planner, good friend and confidant, but he was able to get things done the right way,” Radwanski said.
Pavlos was a resilient fighter, surviving three bouts with cancer and six rounds of chemotherapy.
Radwanski kept in contact every two to three days via phone call or text. He had a gut feeling something was wrong when he couldn’t get in touch with his friend two and a half weeks ago.
“Finally, I realized that his heart stopped, and he died. He went right to heaven. (Chuck) was a great friend and a great person. His legend will live on in the town forever,” Radwanski said.
The public works director was well-versed in civil engineering and a 20-year veteran of the Naval Civil Engineer Corps, where he retired as a commander.
Chuck especially enjoyed Orange Park’s small-town, laid-back lifestyle, Radwanski said.
“I asked him, ‘I hear you came from a bigger town, a lot bigger than this one.’ I said, ‘Chuck, why did you downsize?’ He said ‘I worked in bigger cities and big areas, and I want to specifically come to work for a small town because the communities are so much better,’” he said.
Another little-known fact about the former town official is that he was a computer genius.
“He was actually a computer genius on the sly, which nobody knew until he wrote some programs and assisted with our finance department and town manager Sarah Campbell,” Radwanski said.
Pavlos’ impact was immense, Radwanski said.
“He was a very good, religious and family man. I’m sure he’s up in heaven with the other engineers in the afterlife. And as the tears are rolling down my face, they’re of sadness, but also joy, because his cancer was very hard, and he’s not suffering anymore,” he said.
John Bowles served as town manager from 1989-2010, returning on an interim basis in October 2013.
During Bowles’ time back at the post, he spent one year working alongside Chuck, which was great.
Here were the former town manager’s thoughts about his co-worker, confidant and close friend:
“Chuck was just excellent to work with. He was not only technologically proficient but also did a really fine job (as public works director). I’m just sorry to hear that Chuck passed away. They say, ‘The good die young.’ I really did appreciate him, and he really was a good fit for the town while he was here. I hated to see him leave for (North Fort Myers). I thought an awful lot of Chuck, and I’m sure going to miss him. I send the very best condolences to his family,” Bowles said.
Pavlos was a close confidant of Campbell’s outside of the workplace.
“Chuck was a great husband, father, grandfather, and friend. He is deeply missed. I traveled to meet him at his home in Fort Myers in February,” Campbell said.
By then, she said his health was taking a turn for the worst.
“The bone cancer was Stage 5, and his health was rapidly declining. It was good to reminisce and share one last visit together. I traveled to his funeral in Sarasota (a few weeks ago) to pay respects and spend time with his family, friends, and colleagues from the cities of Cape Coral and Punta Gorda.
At his funeral, the town presented a warm tribute saluting his friendship and service to Orange Park.
“The town presented a large spray of white roses and a photo book of memories from his time in the Town of Orange Park to his family,” she said.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here