Charcey Glenn represented strength, family and dedication to her community. Love of her hometown of Leeds caused her to continuously give back, and with her passing she leaves the city missing the infectious spirit and voracity for life that allowed her to reach beyond barriers.
Glenn, a tremendous community advocate as well as mother to NBA player Charles Barkley, died of kidney failure on June 19. She was 73 years old.
Charcey’s life began and ended in a town she loved alongside the family she created and friends she adored.
“Her love of Leeds went without question,” Reverend Billy Abrams, pastor at Cedar Grove Baptist Church, said.
A distinct joy in Charcey’s life was her family. Mom to sons Charles Barkley and Darryl and John Glenn, it was her Greenwave, Auburn Tiger and NBA superstar that placed the national spotlight on her. Both outspoken, Charcey perhaps more so than Charles at times, were great friends who had each other’s backs. Not only were her sons sources of support, so was her mother Johnnie Mae Edwards.
Serving the community was on the long list of things that defined her. For the past 10 years, she gave her time to the Leeds Water Works Board (LWWB). Her longtime friend and LWWB general manager Bill Morris shared a few fond memories of Charcey.
“We would travel to the yearly water conferences together in Mobile or Montgomery. At the conferences, people would find out who she was, and they would ask her if they could have their picture taken with her.
“She would ask me how they knew who she was, and I would let her know that I told everyone. She would give me that look,” Morris laughed.
“Once, a lady made a comment to Charcey about her purse. The next day she found the lady at the conference and gave it to her. Charcey was a special lady who always made it a point to put Christ first and give God credit for all things.”
Charcey was a member of Macedonia Baptist Church in Leeds.
A giver, Charcey and Charles never forgot his alma matter. Over the years, they have contributed more than $1 million in scholarships to Leeds High School seniors through the Charles Barkley Foundation.
Leeds is known as the City of Valor, meaning courage or bravery, and Charcey embodied just that.
When Lee Barnes Sr. was asked to convey his favorite Charcey Glenn moments, he said he wasn’t sure if he could because there were just too many.
“I have so many memories of Charcey,” Barnes said. “We traveled together often. We were in Mobile for a conference on a dinner break at Wintzell’s Oyster House, and the waitress somehow dumped Charcey’s salad in her purse. We joked, asking her if she needed a longer fork to eat her salad.
“Instead of getting upset, she was gracious and nice to the lady. That’s how Charcey was, a beautiful person.”
Barnes said whenever Charcey was around, humorous things happened. But he wanted people to know above all else she wasn’t just a work friend – she was a true friend.
“You always knew where Charcey stood on every issue,” Barnes said. “She was a good, nice person at heart who was an asset to this community and always doing something for children in the Leeds community. At the end of the day, I’m proud to say Charcey Glenn was a friend of mine.”
District 1 Leeds City Council member Kenneth Washington befriended Charcey 40 years ago.
“She’s an icon that’s going to be missed. She was a great voice for the Leeds community and wanted to increase the quality of life for all people in Leeds,” Washington said. “She wanted what was best for everybody. She was everything you could ask for — a good friend and great mentor.
“We fought a lot of wars together for the City of Leeds. When people would say no, Charcey would say yes because it’s for a good cause. She was proud to help.”
An advocate for the Leeds Martin Luther King Unity Breakfast, Washington says Charcey was about bringing people together for the common good.
“The legacy she leaves behind is wanting the whole city [of Leeds] to be in a better place,” Washington said. “I’m going to miss her. What a great lady.”
Those who had the chance to cross paths with Charcey, no matter if it was once or they considered her a lifelong friend, could see her zeal for life in her demeanor and that vibrant smile. Her life and memory will forever live on as her community continues celebrating.
A funeral service for Charcey Glenn will be held at 11 a.m. this Saturday, June 27 at First Baptist Church of Leeds. The public is invited.