Hartwell community mourns the loss of beloved couple

Hear from community members as they remember the couple who passed away over the weekend
Published: Jul. 17, 2022 at 11:37 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 17, 2022 at 8:01 PM EDT
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HARTWELL, G.A. (FOX Carolina) - The Hartwell community is mourning the loss of a beloved couple who were champions of the city.

Friends and family said Charly and Kelli Schell were killed in a plane crash in Wyoming. The coroner there confirmed a deadly plane crash, but said the victims in the crash have not yet been identified.

“Charly was this great intellect with this huge personality.  Southern charm but just a big room-filling personality you couldn’t get away from. And then you had Kelli his beautiful wife who’s largest smile lit up a room.  She was this soft southern belle that you couldn’t just not get engaged with,” said Hank Didier, who has known the couple for more than 20 years.

Charly and Kelli owned and managed Cateechee Golf Club in Hartwell, which includes an eight-hole Audubon International golf course, a restaurant and bar, lodging, and wedding and event venues.

The couple saved the club, which Mayor Brandon Johnson describes as a treasure to the city, from closing when they bought it in 2017.

“They were such encouragers to me personally but just to the community of seeing our downtown doing well and seeing the businesses thrive and the community grow. And they were always willing to jump in and say hey connect Cateechee to this, you know we’re willing to get involved in this,” said Johnson. “We’re willing to donate, share our time. Host events, you know we’re willing to do all those things to help the community grow and go better.”

“If you speak to anyone here they will tell you how generous, gracious, not only with their money but also with their time and just generally how good of people that they were,” added Dillon Bowers, who lives in Hartwell.

The couple also helped start the non-profit Toughest Kids, a charity with the mission to provide healing through life experiences for children with adverse circumstances, disabilities, and other ailments along with other business endeavors.

Cateechee posted the following message on Facebook:

“It is with profound sadness and heavy heart that we announce the untimely passing of Charly and Kelli Schell.

The love Charly and Kelli shared for Hartwell and its community inspired the purchase of Cateechee in 2017. Cateechee has provided special memories for many of us, and we will continue the legacy that Charly and Kelli paved; and the business model that embraces the community.

We ask that you please keep their families in your thoughts and prayers, as additional information will be uploaded onto Cateechee’s Facebook page when it becomes available.”

Stay with FOX Carolina for updates on this developing story.