Charles Hamlin (“Charlie”) Tucker was born on March 11, 1924, in Birmingham, Alabama, to Charles Tucker and Mamie Louise Smitherman.
He died on July 26, 2022, at the age of 98 in La Cañada Flintridge, California, where he had lived since 1973.
He is survived by his wife, Nina Tucker, son Frank Tucker, daughter-in-law Shannon Tucker, daughter Jean Tucker, granddaughter Meaghan Tucker, grandson Andrew Tucker and nieces Betty Jo Jackson, Dianne Hardegree, Anita Johns and Gayle Mims.
Charlie grew up in Birmingham and enlisted in the Army Air Corps (later the Air Force) during World War II after Pearl Harbor was bombed. He served as a tail gunner on a B-25 in the 12th Bombardment Group, where he flew 17 missions.
After the war, he attended Auburn University, where he graduated in 1948 with a degree in industrial management. As a result, he became a lifelong fan of college football and the SEC in particular! He then served in the Korean War as a navigator in the Air Force on a B-26 bomber and flew 55 missions. After the Korean War, he served in the Air Force reserves, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1973. In keeping with his love of airplanes, he was a sales executive at Northwest, Korean and Malaysian Airlines before retiring in 2000.
In 1960, he married Mary Sando, with whom he had two children, Frank and Jean. Mary passed away in 2007. Charlie was remarried to Nina in 2012.
He traveled extensively throughout his life and was very proud that he had set foot on every continent (except Antarctica) multiple times. Ever a fan of airplanes, which airplane he was flying on was as much a part of the trip as his destination, and he felt very fortunate to have flown in the Concorde to Paris in 2008.
He will be buried at Riverside National Cemetery. A reception to honor his memory will be held on August 19, 2022. For details about the reception, please email CharlieTuckercelebration@gmail.com.