Charley Moyer, the beloved “Can Man” from Alton, Illinois, passed away on Friday, September 17, 2021, at his home in Wilmington, North Carolina. Charley was born in Chicago, IL, on May 1, 1945. He was adopted by William and Pauline Moyer of Chicago, IL. Charley had a severe form of cerebral palsy due to birth trauma. Unable to secure employment, he created “The Joey Moyer Can Company”, living off the proceeds of recycled aluminum cans, earning his nickname.
Charley, also known as Joey, was the inspiration behind Illinois’ “Joey Bill”, which upgraded the assault of a physically disabled person from a misdemeanor to a felony. Charley was proudly recognized by President Ronald Reagan for inspiring the “Joey Bill”. Charley was one of the most famous citizens to come from Alton, IL — he was a local celebrity and Alton’s first designated “Hometown Hero”. His stories were often featured in local newspapers wherever he went. His life was an inspiration to the countless people he encountered, and he delighted when people walked or drove past, waved, and said “Hi Joey!” or “Hi Charley!” or even “Hi Can Man!” Charley liked Elvis, and he enjoyed playing games – especially checkers. He had a taste for adventure and enjoyed numerous trips with various friends throughout his life.
Charley loved Jesus and had a strong faith.
Charley was preceded in death by his parents, William and Pauline Moyer, and his great niece, Grace Akers. Charley is survived by his four brothers: William “Bill” Moyer (Christine) of South Bend, IN, Richard Moyer of McHenry, IL, Michael Moyer of Cheyenne, WY, and Patrick Moyer (Monica) of Aurora,IL., and his sister Mary Roti (Richard) of Chicago. He is also survived by special friends: Dale and Carol Neudecker of Godfrey, IL; Patricia and Roger Lowery of Wilmington, NC; Pamela Morrison of Wilmington, NC; and Penny and Brent McArdle of Petersburg, IL. Our special gratitude goes to Perry Heyer, Noah McKoy, Melissa Pilney, Tracey Vines, Marla Thomas the other staff and residents at The Woods at Holly Tree, for their dedication, kindness, compassion, and love. Equally caring were Robert Connelly of the Lincoln School, as well as Larry Ashlock, Carolyn Ambrozat, and Mary Hilmer during Charley’s many years in Alton.
A memorial service will be held at The Woods at Holly Tree. Charley will be buried at a later date at the Oakwood (Upper Alton) Cemetery in Alton, IL.
In memory of Charley, the family asks that others continue to do acts of kindness, especially toward people with disabilities. Wave, say hello, stop and talk, take time to listen to the many ways that people communicate. You never know … you just might make a new lifelong friend!
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Wilmington Funeral & Cremation 1535 S. 41st Street Wilmington, NC 28403 910.791.9099.