Obituary for Charles Milhiser – (2021) – Tucson, AZ

3-16-44 – 2-18-21 Col. (USAF ret.) Charles L. “Chuck” Milhiser Jr. passed away peacefully on February 18, 2021 in Tucson, Arizona. Chuck was a loving husband and father, an accomplished pilot, and a generous and caring friend. He is owned by his wife Susan, children John (Gail), David (Michele) and Elizabeth (Steve), grandchildren Abby, Katie Mae, Madi, Jake, Sean, Michael and Luke, brothers Ralph, Mike (Laurie) and survived Jim and cousin Steve Howell. Chuck is preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Norma Milhiser. Chuck was born on March 16, 1944 in Upland, California, to Charles and Norma Milhiser. Chuck, the eldest of four boys, grew up in Ontario, California. Chuck met the love of his life Susan Carper at the University of Redlands and they were married on October 7, 1967. Chuck received a BA in Economics from the University of Redlands and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Redlands Colorado. Chuck was a career Air Force officer who loved talking about C-130s and was able to identify planes by the sounds they made as they went overhead (much to the delight of his grandchildren). Chuck served in Vietnam and flew missions in Southeast Asia as an aircraft commander. Upon his return from Vietnam, Chuck was a flight instructor at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Chuck later spent some time with the Air Force Systems Command Space Division as a program manager for the Space Shuttle Program Office and flew as a C-130 air recovery pilot at Hickam, Air Force Base, Oahu, Hawaii. Chuck recorded thousands of flight hours, and in the years following his flight days, Chuck served as a finance officer and controller at various bases, including the Pentagon. Chuck’s last assignment with the Air Force was at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, after which he retired at the age of 30. Chuck loved his time in the Air Force, and those years made him many friends within the military community. Chuck cherished these friendships and continued them through his many chores and moves. Chuck’s military awards and medals include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf clusters, the Air Medal, and the Air Force Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf cluster. Chuck continued his passion for flying and began a second career with Flight Safety in Tucson, Arizona, where he trained civilian pilots and later moved into management and retired as Director of Flight Training. Chuck loved the position and the fact that he got to work in really cool flight simulators every day. Chuck lived by the motto Faith, Family and Flag. As a devoted Methodist, Chuck was often asked to share his faith and enjoyed any opportunity to give a prayer, reading, or sermon. Chuck was the first to offer condolences, a helping hand, or a positive smile to anyone who might need it, and he never said a derogatory word about anyone. Many years ago, Chuck was asked to preach a sermon in a church in Lynchburg, Tennessee. There he spoke for the first time about his three Fs (Faith, Family, and Flag) and those who stayed with him in many of the sermons to come. Chuck’s beliefs were important to him and his family, and he made many friendships in the faith community over the years. Chuck loved his family very much. This included his 53-year-old wife Susan and his three children. As his children grew and started families of their own, Chuck was known to all of his grandchildren as Grandpa Chuck. And he loved her so. Chuck made every grandson feel special. His big smile and heart were all encompassing. Chuck cherished his years as a child in Ontario, California, and often thought back to the mischief the Milhiser boys had wreaked while running around town, exercising, and making friends. These friendships continued as Chuck met his best elementary school friends on a regular basis. Chuck loved sports, especially soccer. Chuck played outside the linebacker for the University of Redlands and led the team with six interceptions in 1966 (still in 8th place!). Chuck enjoyed the camaraderie of team sports and when he had children of his own he also loved attending their sporting events. Chuck happily acted as the announcer for high school soccer and baseball games, taking it all in. He was a positive influence not only on his three children but also on their friends. Because of this, friends often gathered at the Milhiser house and Chuck greeted them all warmly. When the grandchildren started playing sports, Chuck loved hearing about the games, warming up each game and discussing the positive and negative aspects. Chuck often played cards with family on vacation visits, but there was always a college football game in the background and sometimes Chuck had to be nudged when it was his turn to act. But usually he won anyway! In addition to Faith, Family, and Flag, Chuck loved golf. And not just a little. He was very fond of golf. He always played when he had a chance and he was good, several wins as club champions good. As mentioned earlier, Chuck played college football, but he also played college golf. After college, his football days were over, despite an invitation from the Miami Dolphins to try it out. However, he continued to play golf for the rest of his life. When Chuck and Susan moved to Tucson, he had the opportunity to play often and made so many wonderful friends on the Links. Even as his health deteriorated so bad that he needed a wheelchair, Chuck continued to play golf in a solo golf cart that allowed him to be on the course with his friends and enjoy the game he loved to the end . He and Susan played one final round on Valentine’s Day, the Sunday before he died. When Chuck’s health presented obstacles, he overcame them positively and forcibly. Chuck had a knack, no matter what, to say he was “perfect”. And while his body wasn’t always perfect, he felt that the life and family he had were fucking perfect. Chuck adored his wife, children, and entire family. Its loss will leave a hole that will not be filled. But the great memories will stay with the family for generations to come. Services at Arlington National Cemetery for the coming months.

Posted in San Bernardino County Sun on March 7, 2021.

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