Cover photo for H. Charles Royce's Obituary
H. Charles Royce Profile Photo
1932 H. Charles 2014

H. Charles Royce

August 3, 1932 — November 3, 2014

H. Charles Royce Jr., 82 Monadnock Conservationist, Legislator Former State Representative H. Charles Royce, Jr., a teacher, historian, outdoorsman and conservationist, died Monday, Nov. 3, in his Jaffrey home at the foot of Mount Monadnock. He was 82 years old. The Monadnock Hall of Fame website has written, “Charlie Royce has been climbing Monadnock and working for its preservation for nearly 70 years. His grandfather, "Will" Royce, built the White Dot Trail and Charlie himself has served as state park manager, state representative and head of the Monadnock Advisory Commission.” The website paid tribute to Royce’s tireless efforts to save Monadnock for generations yet to come. Royce was born in Peterborough on Aug. 3, 1932 to Harold Charles Royce and Mary Smith Royce, and grew up with his two sisters and three brothers. He graduated from Conant High School in Jaffrey in 1952 and went into the Marines, serving as a drill instructor and later as a Marine guard in the US Embassy in Vienna, Austria. After military service, with the help of the GI Bill, he graduated from Keene State College and did graduate study at the University of New Hampshire. He married Ann Letourneau of Jaffrey in 1961. Thirty years ago, they built their present home at the foot of Mount Monadnock. Royce restored acres of woodland to open pasture and created one of the most frequently photographed and painted views of his beloved, 3,165’ tall Mount Monadnock. Royce was a well-respected science teacher at the Peterborough Middle School, much admired by students as well as his teaching partners. To this day, his now middle-aged students fondly remember his exciting chemistry experiments and his tales of the outdoors. Although he retired after 30 years of teaching, he continued to be a teacher all his life, as anyone knows who has ever walked with him in the woods. In the 1960s and early 1970s, he was manager of Monadnock State Park, which is where the Royce’s made their first home. He was an active member of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (SPNHF) and worked many hours of trail maintenance and trail blazing on Monadnock for the State Park and the SPNHF. After retiring from teaching, he served from 1992 to 2004 in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. He chaired the Resources, Recreation and Development Committee, working on legislation relating to New Hampshire public waters and environmental matters. He assisted with the acquisition of land for the Rail Trail between Jaffrey and Rindge, and successfully advocated for a million dollar increase in the capital budget for improvements to Monadnock State Park. When the Gilson Pond Campground was opened there in 2010, he and his wife Ann were asked to cut the ribbon. His legislative efforts were instrumental in bringing the Jaffrey Peterborough District Court into Jaffrey’s Monadnock Plaza. He helped pass the legislation creating the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) and served on its board for many years until his death. Royce served on the Jaffrey Planning Board as chairman in the 1980s and helped write the Mountain Zone ordinance to protect Monadnock. He also encouraged neighboring towns to do likewise. Many of his environmental efforts have related to the protection of Mt. Monadnock and the area. He helped raise funds to purchase the land where the Halfway House hotel burned down in 1954; the land was given to the SPNHF. He persuaded numerous landowners to create conservation easements on their lands with the SPNHF and the Monadnock Conservancy. An historian of Monadnock’s topography and tales, Royce was interviewed for many television programs, newspapers, magazines and books. He helped Henry Baldwin research the mountain for Baldwin’s 1970 classic book, Monadnock Guide, and later helped Craig Brandon, who wrote “Monadnock: More Than a Mountain.” He also helped the late Coburn Kidd research his 365-page book, Jaffrey Roads and Streets, 1773-1980. Avid outdoorsman and naturalist, he spent his later days tending his land, and at the age of 74, built a cabin in the woods where he would go and relax, watch the birds and animals, and persuade a wild partridge to eat out of his hand. Former State Rep. Joseph Manning, who served as Jaffrey state representative with Royce for 12 years, said, “Jaffrey has lost a treasury of information. He knew more about the town and the mountain than anyone.” He is survived by his wife Ann and daughter Jennifer Royce Perry and her husband Scott of Deerfield, NH; his sisters, Margaret Wenning of Madison Heights, VA; Marie Royce Ruffle of Keene; his brothers, Kent and William Royce of Jaffrey, and their wives, Betty and Judy; and many nephews and nieces. His parents and his elder brother, Henry Royce of Liberty, SC, predeceased him A memorial service will be held Monday at 11 am at The First Church in Jaffrey, next to the 1775 Meetinghouse on Laban Ainsworth Way at Rte. 124 in Jaffrey Center. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the SPNHF Royce-Monadnock Fund and sent to the Society for the Protection of NH Forests, 54 Portsmouth St., Concord, NH 03301. To share memories or condolences with Mr. Royce’s family, please visit his permanent online memorial at
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Monday, November 10, 2014

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

First Church of Jaffrey (UCC)

14 Laban Ainsworth Way, Jaffrey, NH 03452

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