This Living Legend attended 37 OWAA conferences in a row, during which he served six years on the board of directors, three years as vice president, one year as president and another as chairman of the board. In 1984, he was the recipient of the Ham Brown Award, given for dedicated service to OWAA. These OWAA achievements constitute only a small part of what Charles Louis Cadieux has accomplished in his lifetime. Whether serving OWAA, working in the outdoors or researching an article or book, the name Cadieux is synonymous with dedication.
I met Cadieux about 15 years ago at a summer conference of the New Mexico Outdoor Writers and Photographers Association in Red River, N.M. I found him unpretentious and easy to know. As others will confirm, he’s always been that way. When Chuck greets you, you are the most important person in his life. He is as dedicated to people as he is to the outdoors.
Charles (call him “Chuck”) Cadieux (pronounced Cad-YOU) was born on Sept. 4, 1919, in Jamestown, N.D. During his childhood he learned to fish and to hunt pheasants. As he described it, that area of southeastern North Dakota was a shotgunner’s paradise. Chuck later attended college, majoring in history and economics, and graduated in 1941 from what now is known as North Dakota State University.
He enlisted in the Navy in World War II. Cadieux was a lieutenant junior grade when he was given the job of navigator aboard the USS Proteus, then the world’s largest submarine tender. Because Navy rules required the navigator to be a lieutenant commander, Cadieux was promoted to that rank. He enjoyed that elevated status while witnessing General Douglas MacArthur sign the Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri, which ended World War II. After Cadieux navigated the Proteus back to the United States, the Navy again made him a lieutenant junior grade.
That may or may not have been the reason for his career change, but the outdoor world is better for it. In 1948, he sold his first story, “Ringneck Roundup,” and earned $7.50 from Western Sportsman. At that time he was working as a section stockman for the Northern Pacific Railroad. With that sale, writing became part of Chuck’s identity. In 1951 he joined OWAA at the Escanaba, Mich., conference. Cadiuex was officially an outdoor communicator!
An article he wrote for Sports Afield caught the eye of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, and shortly thereafter Cadieux became its information officer, eventually rising to the position of assistant director. Later, he joined the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. That’s how he met Judd Cooney.
Cooney was a student at South Dakota State College when he heard that someone on campus was interviewing for a position as a government trapper. “I considered that a dream job,” Cooney said, “because I’d already been trapping for several years.” Cadieux hired Cooney on the spot, and from that moment a friendship blossomed that has lasted to this day.
“Chuck got me started in writing,” recalls Cooney. “He invited me to join him at the OWAA conference at Glenwood Springs, Colo., in 1965.”
In his lifetime, Cadieux has written more than 1,100 magazine articles and 11 books, two of which were Outdoor Life Book of the Month selections. Chuck’s books cover a variety of outdoor topics. For example, there’s Goose Hunting, which details a unique type of hunting prevalent on the rice fields southwest of Houston, where two-foot-square rags cut from old bed sheets are spread out as decoys. As Cadieux wrote in that book, “If I had been a bit quicker, I could have bagged three geese from one flight, a feat which I have only accomplished twice in my misspent life.” That’s Chuck: never taking himself seriously but always serious about sharing his love of the outdoors.
Two other books deal with conservation. They are These Are the Endangered, which explores the status of specific fur, fish and fowl species, and Wildlife Extinction, which examines threatened animals around the world. These works contributed to his receiving the Jade of Chiefs Award, OWAA’s top conservation award, in 1996.
Cadieux’s love of travel resulted in the New Mexico Guide and eventually to his most recent work, a revision of Great RV Trips, which first was published in 1998.
Chuck lives with his wife, Elida, in Albuquerque, enjoying New Mexico’s brilliant blue skies and magnificent sunsets. He isn’t writing or traveling much right now. A heart attack, two strokes, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and failing eyesight have slowed him down. Despite that, those who know him know his active mind continues to serve the outdoors.
An OWAA member since 1985, John Catsis lives and works in Chandler, Ariz., where his specialties include photography, hunting, recreational vehicles, build-it-yourself and business articles. Also a book editor and publisher, he authored the first North American textbook on sports broadcasting.