Charles Milhiser

3-16-44 – 2-18-21 Colonel (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 survived 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 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. The oldest of four boys, Chuck was raised 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 Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Redlands and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Colorado. Chuck was a career Air Force Officer who loved to talk C-130s and could identify planes by the sounds they made as they flew overhead (much to the delight of his grandkids.) Chuck served in Vietnam, flying missions in Southeast Asia as an aircraft commander. After returning from Vietnam, Chuck served as a flight instructor at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Chuck later spent time with the Air Force Systems Command Space Division as a Program Manager Officer for the Space Shuttle Program Office and flew as a C-130 aerial recovery pilot at Hickam, Air Force Base, in Oahu, Hawaii. Chuck logged thousands of hours of flying time, and in the years following his flying days, Chuck served as a Financial Officer and Controller at various bases, including the Pentagon. Chuck’s final Air Force assignment was at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, after which he retired with 30 years of military service. Chuck loved his time in the Air Force, and those years gave him many friends within the military community. Chuck cherished those friendships and continued them throughout his many assignments and relocations. Chuck’s military awards and decorations 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 beginning a second career with Flight Safety in Tucson, Arizona, where he trained civilian pilots and later moved into management, retiring as Director of Flight Training. Chuck loved the position and the fact he got to work in really cool flight simulators every day. Chuck lived by the motto Faith, Family, and Flag. A devote Methodist, Chuck was often asked to talk about his faith and relished any opportunity to provide 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 disparaging word about anyone. Many years ago, Chuck was asked to provide a sermon at a church in Lynchburg, Tennessee. It was there that he first talked about his three Fs (Faith, Family and Flag), and those stuck with him in many sermons to come. Chuck’s faith was important to him and his family, and he created many friendships through the years in the faith community. Chuck loved his family dearly. This included his wife of 53 years, Susan, and his three children. As his kids grew and started families of their own, Chuck was known as Grandpa Chuck to all the grandkids. And he loved them so. Chuck made every grandkid feel special. His big smile and huge heart were all-encompassing. Chuck cherished his years growing up in Ontario, California and often reflected back on the mischief the Milhiser boys caused, running around town, playing sports and making friends. Those friendships remained as Chuck regularly got together with his best grade school friends. Chuck loved sports, especially football. Chuck played outside linebacker for the University of Redlands, leading the team in interceptions in 1966 with six (still ranks 8th all time!) Chuck enjoyed the camaraderie of team sports and when he had kids of his own he loved attending their sporting events as well. Chuck happily acted as the announcer for high school football games and baseball games, taking it all in. He was a positive influence not only on his three kids but on their friends as well. Because of that friends often gathered at the Milhiser house and Chuck warmly welcomed them all. When the grandkids started playing sports, Chuck loved to hear about the games, rehashing every play, discussing the positives and negatives. Chuck often played cards with the family during holiday visits, but a college football game was always on in the background and sometimes Chuck had to be nudged when it was his turn. But he still usually won! In addition to Faith, Family and Flag, Chuck loved golf. And not just a little. He loved golf a lot. He played anytime he had a chance, and he was good, several club champion victories good. As mentioned earlier Chuck played college football, but he also played college golf. After college, his football days were over, even though he received an invite from the Miami Dolphins for a tryout. 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 met so many wonderful friends on the links. Even as his health deteriorated to the point he needed a wheelchair, Chuck continued to play golf in a solo-rider golf cart that allowed him to be on the course with his friends enjoying the game he loved until the very end. He and Susan played one last round on Valentine’s Day, the Sunday before he passed away. As Chuck’s health provided obstacles, he positively and forcefully overcame them. Chuck had a knack, no matter what was going on, to say he was “perfect.” And though his body wasn’t always perfect, he felt the life and family he had was pretty darn perfect. Chuck adored his wife, his kids, and all of his family. His loss will leave a hole that will not be filled. But the great memories will continue on with the family for many generations.

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