Charlie Mufson, 20, of Easton chose to end his life on Dec. 17, 2017, in Burlington, Vt. He had just finished the first semester of his junior year at the University of Vermont (UVM), a school, community and environment he loved. Charlie's final act contradicted everything his family and friends knew of him, and leaves all who knew him heartbroken and bewildered as to why he made the choice he did.
Charlie was born in Seoul, Korea, on April 8, 1997, and he was adopted by his family when he was about 4 months old. He was a happy, active and exuberant child who always liked to play outside, with friends and with his big sister Amelia. When he was 5 and she 7, Amelia died suddenly of myocarditis, undoubtedly an early turning point in his life. His sister Maeve joined the family in 2006, having been adopted from China at 13 months.
In 2011, Charlie graduated from The Country School, which he entered as a kindergartner. He was a devoted friend of many and was known for his smile, his sense of humor, his adventurous and playful spirit, his love of the outdoors and his kindness.
Charlie then attended St. Andrew's School in Middletown, Del., from 2011 until his graduation in 2015. At St. Andrew's, Charlie rowed crew, played soccer, tennis, basketball, indoor soccer and lacrosse. He loved the environmental science and forestry programs, but again, most of all, he loved his friends and the community. As his headmaster there said, "Charlie Mufson was kind, thoughtful, loyal and generous ... He deeply appreciated and cultivated the friendship within the class and the school, and he was a person who cared more about the success and happiness of others than the pursuit of his own goals and aspirations. His quiet demeanor and thoughtful and generous friendships helped develop the confidence, resilience and determination of others, in good and complex times." During these years, Charlie was also known for being energetic, fearless, strong, a lover of the outdoors and fun to be around. His smile continued to be radiant.
During most of his high school summers, Charlie worked at Hill's Drug Store in historic Easton. There, he was characteristically courteous, understanding, kind, reliable and hard working. He enjoyed being helpful and going out of his way to make sure others' needs were being met. His smile continued to serve him and his customers well. Attending the Outward Bound School in the Minnesota-Ontario Boundary Waters in the summer of 2015 was also a formative and highly valued experience, further cementing his interest in the outdoors and the environment.
Charlie arrived in Burlington and UVM in the fall of 2015. In addition to maintaining strong bonds to many St. Andreans, he immediately forged deep new friendships that he maintained until his death. He was majoring in environmental studies and had worked this past summer for VPIRG (Vermont Public Interest Research Group), a nonprofit organization focused on environmental and consumer advocacy. At UVM, he belonged to the Student Climate Culture, the rock climbing team, the Fossil Fuel Divestment Team and the Outing Club. He continued to be known for his smile, his kindness and generosity in friendship, his sense of fun and adventure, his infectious and frequent laughter, his zest for experience and life, and for being something of a daredevil. Because he was always such a caring and giving friend, son and brother, and because he always seemed so happy, his family and friends are at a loss to explain his final act.
Charlie is survived by his parents, Elizabeth and Neil Mufson, and his sister Maeve Mufson, all of Easton; three aunts and three uncles; numerous cousins; and many, many friends. He was predeceased by his sister, Amelia; his four grandparents; and one aunt.