A tragic fall, a grim diagnosis and a brave but extreme choice have taken a beloved Rim Country resident and realtor this week.
Roxanne Charley worked at the Rim Golf Club and Rim Country Real Estate. She had moved to the area before all the golf courses finished, said a close friend, who did not wish to be named.
“She was absolutely beloved,” said the friend, “She would not just sell a house and walk away – she became your social advisor.”
The friend told the story of one of Charley’s clients throwing a party and looking up to take stock of who had come. The hostess realized all of the friends who attended were there because of the realtor.
Charley, 63, made the decision refuse surgery on her terms after a fall that would have left her a quadriplegic.
“I told Roxanne that if I were there in her place, I would have made the same decision,” said the friend.
Charley fell from a house under construction on Sunday. The friend said Charley was responsible for selling the spec house and had gone to see what sort of improvements the builder could make. The friend said Charley had invited two couples, them included, to dinner that evening. When they arrived, she was not there, which the friend said was very unusual.
The couples waited 20 minutes, then felt sure something was very wrong.
The husbands drove around the streets of the Rim Golf Club, until one husband got on the golf course with an ATV. Yet neither could find Charley, her dog Souka nor her golf cart.
“Just by happenstance, a neighbor came out upset that (one of us) was driving his ATV on the golf course. We explained what we were doing and he told us he had heard a dog barking at the construction site,” said the friend.
Both rushed over to the house under construction immediately. They found Souka locked behind a patio door that lead out to the deck. They broke down the door to get to the deck and saw Charley lying on the ground, 23 feet below.
The friend said when he got to Charley, she could not speak, so sat with her until paramedics arrived.
“She later told me she was never so glad to hear a voice before,” said the friend.
Charley also told her friend that after deciding to climb down, her foot slipped. She said it all just took a “split second”.
Charley was rushed to a Phoenix hospital where a neurologist told her that she had broken her neck at C4 and C5. She had also damaged her pancreas and needed surgery to stabilize, said the friend.
“I was there when the neurologist told her she had a zero percent chance of recovering her lower body and a 20 percent chance to recover the use of her upper body,” said the friend.
Once she made the decision to let nature take its course, she left the Phoenix hospital and moved to the Payson Hospice center where she passed away by Thursday, April 24, said the friend.
The friend said they had met Charley when they all lived in the Valley.
After Charley divorced her second husband she moved to Portugal for three years.
While living there, she saw a pack of wild dogs, said the friend. Approaching, one of the dogs came up to greet her. She took the dog home and named her Souka.
Charley’s Facebook page shows a person who lead an independent life, scuba diving, hiking, and traveling the world.
However, not all of Charley’s life was charmed. She had a daughter, Cara, who passed away in April of 2010 at the age of 41 from cancer.
The friend said Charley’s daughter died just a day and a half and four years before her mother.
“Roxanne was a strong minded woman,” said the friend, “She had a very interesting life. She was as beautiful on the outside as the inside.”