SEARSPORT – Charles J. Clark took his final flight April 12, 2008, after a long, hard fought battle against leukemia. Charles was born in Searsport, Jan. 28, 1923, to Charles E. Clark and Elizabeth M. (Gamble). He was the third of four children. He was predeceased by his brother, Maurice Clark; his sister, Arlene McLaughlin; and mother-in-law, Ruby Davis Parker Wood. His older sister, Janette Stone, still resides in Searsport. Charles graduated from Searsport High in 1942 and went to work for his father at the Armour Plant. On weekends during the winter he liked to referee high school basketball games and twice was selected to officiate for the Harlem Globetrotter’s when they visited the Belfast Opera House. Through his days growing up and sailing on the Penobscot Bay, Charles developed a love for aviation. In 1943, he joined the Army Air Corp and attended pilot training at Columbus Air Field, graduating in Class 44G. After completing follow on training in the B-17 bomber, Charles was deployed to Africa. He landed there only days before the war in Europe ended. Charles elected to leave the service and returned to Searsport working at the Esso Station, until his recall to active duty in 1953. Charles then joined the newly formed U.S. Air Force and flew the KC-97 tanker at MacDill Air Field, Tampa, Fla., and Lake Charles Air Base, Ind. When the Cold War began to escalate in the early 1960s, Charles was selected as initial cadre for the Air Force’s newest reconnaissance platform, the RC-135, and moved to Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. His final active duty assignment was at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. Through his distinguished career, Charles was awarded several decorations to include, the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf cluster and the Air Medal with four oak leaf cluster. He and his family returned to Searsport in 1970 after his retirement, where he designed and built his own home with a book in one hand and a hammer in the other. He later worked once again for the Defense Department as a manager of the Defense Fuel Supply Point, Searsport. Charles fully retired in 1988 and elect-ed to winter in Stuart, Fla., where the couple enjoyed sport fishing, Met’s spring training and several ocean cruises while enjoying close friends at Vista Pines, until being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Charles is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Carolyn Parker, and his three children. His oldest son, Fred, also a retired U.S. Air Force pilot, lives in Panama City, Fla., with his wife, Christine. His daughter, Beth Lockhart, RNC, is employed at Eastern Maine Medical and lives in Searsport with her husband, Wallace B. Lockhart Jr., and his youngest son Charles Scott, a physical plant engineer, lives in Prescott, Ariz., with his partner, Maureen McKeever. Charles and Carolyn have five grandchildren and he cherished all the time spent with them; David Clark resides with his fiancee, Captain Cherie Griffin, also a U.S. Air Force pilot, in Corpus Christi, Texas; Captain McKayla Clark, a third generation U.S. Air Force pilot, is stationed at Travis Air Force Base, Calif.; Thomas Clark, a restaurant manager and partner, Nate Elwell, lives in Levant; Adam Lockhart, also a physical plant operator in the town of Searsport, resides in North Searsport with his fiancee, Melissa Johnson, and Kurt Lockhart, a product technician for Aarons in Belfast, resides in Swanville with his girlfriend, Mariah Trenholm. Charles is survived by several special nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, well wishers are asked to provide a donation in the name of Charles J. Clark to Kno-Wal-Lin Home Care and Hospice, 170 Pleasant St., Rockland, ME 04841 or Oncology Clinic, Waldo County General Hospital, 118 Northport Ave., Belfast, ME 04915. The family also asks that you please take the time to give blood at the local Red Cross in Charles’ name. Without the unselfish support of many blood donors, Charles could not have enjoyed the last nine months of his life with his family. At his request, there will be no services. A private family memorial will be held at a later date. Arrangements are under the direction of Young Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 31 West Main St., Searsport.