Charles Leeroy Barnes, 78, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, passed away peacefully on Saturday, December 7, 2013 at Hospice of Chattanooga.
Charles is survived by his wife of 54 years Barbara; son Jeffrey (Lori) Barnes; daughter Cathi (Dale) Barnes Smothers, and grandsons Kris Morrison and Kevin Smothers.
Charles served with distinction in the United States Air Force for 22 years on reconnaissance aircraft as an Airborne Mission Supervisor specializing in Soviet intelligence. His missions took him to Asia and Europe, including Turkey, Greece, England, Korea, Japan and Vietnam during the Vietnam conflict. He also flew out of Shemya, Alaska on Cobra Ball, monitoring Soviet ballistic missile testing. He retired as a Senior Master Sergeant.
Charles and his family retired from the Air Force to his hometown of Chattanooga where completed a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. After that, Charles entered into his second career as an audio-visual specialist for the University Of Tennessee College of Medicine at Erlanger Hospital. His final retirement came after 23 years.
Charles was generous and supportive of family and friends, and committed himself fully to his careers. His stories of the strange life working in intelligence during the Cold War were hilarious as the men living in continual stress found ways to relieve the pressure. He loved camping and snowmobiling when his family was stationed in Alaska. He enjoyed driving to casinos to play on the slot machines. Despite his protestations otherwise, he loved the family pets, and they loved him.
A graveside memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at the Chattanooga National Cemetery will full military honors. There will no visitation at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, the family request memorial contributions may be made to Welcome Home of Chattanooga, a hospice house for Veterans, P.O. Box 4247 Chattanooga, TN 37405. Arrangements are by the East Brainerd Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, 8214 East Brainerd Road