Charles F. Harmon, Jr. of Lockport, NY, passed away on Saturday, February 11, 2017. Born on July 27, 1925 in a farmhouse in Champlain, NY, just 200 yards from being born a Canadian. He was the son of Charles F. and Antoinette Coache Harmon.
He grew up on farms in Goshen, CT and Middletown, CT, graduating from W. Wilson High School. He attended Carroll College and the University of Connecticut.
He enlisted in the Army Air Force as an Aviation Cadet completing training as a pilot. He served in the Alaskan Air Command. He survived the crash of a Martin Marauder B-26 Bomber during night transition training in Del Rio, TX.
Released from active duty in 1946, his first employment in civil aviation was as a flight instructor for the Danbury School of Aeronautics. He continued military flying in the Air Force Reserve and Connecticut Air National Guard, recalled to active duty in the Korean War as a fighter pilot. He also served as Aide to the Commanding General of the 103rd Fighter Interceptor Wing.
Released from active duty, he began his career in corporate aviation as department manager and chief pilot for the Bristol Brass Co., moving on to Western New York as department manager and chief pilot for Lockport Felt Co., Carborundum, Kennecott Copper, Sohio and British Petroleum. He retired from British Petroleum with 30 years of service and having recorded 33,000 flight hours.
During his years in corporate aviation, he had many public celebrities, entertainment and sports world notables as passengers: Mother Teresa, Rose Kennedy, President Gerald Ford, Barry Goldwater and many others.
He was inducted into the Niagara Frontier Aviation Hall of Fame in 1993. He was a longtime member of the Quiet Birdmen. He served as Chairman of the Airspace and Air Traffic Control Committee of the National Business Aircraft Association for five years.
On his initial retirement from British Petroleum, he established Falcon Flight Inc. providing contract consulting, crew management and flight department audits for corporate aircraft operators.
An avid reader of military history, he had acquired a large home library of books.
His wife of 68 years, the former Anna Bensenhaver, passed away in 2014. Their son, Craig Charles (Pamela), died in 2002. Sons, Thomas B. (Regina), Jeffrey G. (Sandy) and Terry K. (Pam); several grand and great-grandchildren in Western New York and Florida. The oldest of 11, he was the brother of Paul, Douglas, James, Sidney, late Donald, Joyce, Carolyn, Denise, late Nancy and late Muriel.
Friends may call on Thursday 4:00-8:00 PM at LANGE FUNERAL HOME, INC., 186 East Ave., Lockport. Funeral services will be private.
Memorials may be made to Niagara Hospice, Inc.
Condolences may be offered to the family at langefuneralhomeinc.com.
Published on February 12, 2017