August 21, 1916 – August 29, 2019
Son and grandson of Kansas pioneers, farmers, and entrepreneurs, Charles dreamed of flying from a young age. Charles was born to Nellie B. and Robert A. Brannan in Meade, Kansas. He was the middle child of five siblings, 4 brothers and 1 sister. Charles is survived by his sister, Betty Harris, of Texas and was preceded in death by his brothers – Fenton, Frank, Raymond E. (Pat) and baby James.
When Charles graduated Meade High School in 1934 in the midst of the Great Depression and Dust Bowl, he went to work to support his parents and siblings. He worked in construction under the New Deal program, Civilian Conservation Corps, driving gravel trucks and other jobs. Charles was drafted in 1941 as a private in the Army Air Corps and trained as an airplane mechanic. As World War II intensified, he volunteered to take a pilot’s training course and qualified as a B-24 pilot training instructor. He taught countless students to become bomber pilots during that time.
Charles met the love of his life, Tomasine, at a Veterans Day dance in Chicago while stationed in Illinois in 1941. After a three year courtship, mostly by correspondence, they were married on June 10, 1944, in Liberal, Kansas, where Charles was stationed. They honeymooned in Colorado Springs and would later return when he retired. Charles and Tomasine celebrated 63 plus years together, traveling the world, before Tomasine’s death in 2008.
His Air Force career spanned 31 years as a veteran of WWII, Korea, the Cold War, and Vietnam. Charles earned his command pilot wings as a bomber pilot, flying the B29, B36, and B52. He later became a maintenance squadron commander and retired from Okinawa in 1972 as a lieutenant colonel.
Duty and love towards his family, faith, and country, were key values he sustained throughout his 103 years and passed on to the generations that follow. Charles is survived by his children Chuck (Paulette), Bob (Patty), MaryBeth (Jim), and Kathleen; his grandchildren – Michael, Jennifer (Craig), Melanie (Brian), Jason (Ann), Andrew (Celeste), Christy (Chris), Alissa (Mike), Rob, Douglas (Daniela), Briana, and Daniel; and ten great grandchildren.
Visitation for family and friends will be held Monday, Sept. 9th, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Shrine of Remembrance chapel, 1730 East Fountain Boulevard, with a Rosary following. The Mass of Christian Burial for family and friends will be on Tuesday, Sept. 10th, at 10 a.m. at St. Peter Catholic Church, 55 Jefferson Street, in Monument, with a receiving line following the Mass. Private interment with full military honors will be at Shrine of Remembrance later that day.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to either of the following in Charles’ memory:
*Honor Flight, Inc. (designate Honor Flight of Southern Colorado) www.honorflight.org
*Bethesda Gardens Monument, 55 Beacon Lite Road, Monument, CO 80132