Col (Ret) Cecil Charles, faithful husband, father, officer and friend, died peacefully at age 87 on July 2nd, 2022 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Cecil lived a dedicated life of service for the U.S Air Force, the Gideons International ministry and for his family. Though he will be greatly missed, the joy he is experiencing now with our heavenly Father and with his beloved wife Tipi and much-loved daughter Leigh can be a comfort to us all.
Cecil was born to Donald and Ruth Charles on Christmas Day, 1934, in Spartanburg, SC. A graduate of Hargrave Military Academy and the University of South Carolina, he served in the U.S. Air Force for 24 years as a tactical missile operator, weapons controller and space operator, and he led Air Force units three separate times in different parts of the world as unit commander. His favorite saying about those command assignments was “If you take care of your people, they will take care of the mission!”
After retirement from the Air Force, Cecil served as a very active member of the Gideons for over 35 years in various roles including State President for Colorado, Austin Bluffs Camp President and as the state and local training lead, travelling the state of Colorado regularly in support of the ministry with Tipi, who often sang and ministered to the members and Auxiliary during those trips. During his time with the Gideons, he also travelled with and supported Tipi’s music ministry in Colorado and neighboring states; they were an inseparable pair!
Cecil and Tipi were married in 1959 in Syracuse, NY, and had two children: Kyle, who survives and followed Cecil into a career in the Air Force, and Leigh, who for 20 years was a flight attendant with American Airlines and a resident of Dallas, TX. Like her Mom, Leigh loved to sing, and Cecil loved hearing that amazing duet…if you ever heard them sing together, you know just how special that was! They also had three grandchildren: Shannon, Melody and Luke, who Cecil loved to be with and could not stop talking about whenever there was an opportunity to do so. To be sure, he also loved his friends, his Air Force family, racquetball, ballroom dancing and the Denver Broncos. Cecil’s was a life well-lived for others, family and country. Rest in peace “Cec”.
A Memorial Service will be held at 11:00 am on Monday, July 18th at New Life Church’s World Prayer Center, 11025 Voyager Parkway, Co Spgs, CO 80921, with a reception there to follow. A burial service with full military honors is scheduled for later in the week for family at Fort Logan National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Gideons Intl (www.gideons.org/donate).