HAMILTON TOWNSHIP — John Charlton lived to skate.

The Mays Landing man was a nationally known figure skater who earned many awards in competitions over his lifetime, family members said.

“He once told me that he would rather skate than eat,” Young’s Skating Center proprietor Jim Link said.

Family said the 54-year-old had recently lamented he did not have much time to pursue his passion anymore, as his job in information technology marketing kept him busy seven days a week serving clients in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Charlton was driving to work Nov. 2 when he witnessed a woman being assaulted at a bus stop along Route 40. According to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, Charlton stopped to defuse the situation. As a result, authorities said, Calvin Wiggins punched Charlton, causing Charlton to fall backward and injure his head.

Charlton died 10 days later at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City.

A Celebration of Life event has been scheduled for Dec. 4 at Young’s Skating Center. The event will include a brief service, followed by exhibitions by skaters from throughout the country.

Friends, family and those who wish to pay tribute to a man who gave his life trying to protect another are invited to attend.

Charlton grew up in Ocean City and later moved to Mays Landing. Sister Sandra Charlton, of Mays Landing, said their father, John Pastore, also was a world-class skater.

Charlton started skating at age 10 and was a New Jersey state champion in the 1970s. He placed second in the USA Figure Skating competition in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in the couples competition in 1990.

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He started skating at Young’s in 2009.

“He participated in our skating shows and always encouraged other skaters to skate with grace and skill,” co-owner Judy Link said. “It takes years to develop the skills that he had.”

Three years ago, Charlton relocated his parents to Mays Landing from Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, to help care for his father, who had dementia.

“He would carry him to the car regularly to take him to the doctor’s office,” said Charlton’s mother, Charlotte White. “Five months later, his father passed away, and he said he would continue to care for me. That was very typical of the type of person he was. He loved to teach and loved to learn. His smile could light up a room.”

With a smile, she added, ”He also loved the ladies.”

His brother, Christopher, has set up a GoFundMe page to cover Charlton’s burial expenses.

Sandra Charlton said the family holds no hard feelings against Wiggins, 24, who was ordered detained Friday on aggravated manslaughter charges in Charlton’s death. The charge was upgraded from aggravated assault after Charlton died.

“We stand by our faith,” Sandra Charlton said. “Hating him won’t bring John back. We hope he gets the help he needs.”

Sister Kim Spivey said even in death, her brother brought life to others.

“He donated all of his organs through Gift of Life,” she said. “In doing so, he changed many people’s lives. Through them he will live on in spirit.”

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