In Memory

Charles Riordan

Charles Riordan

Charles F. Riordan III passed away suddenly from a heart attack on Feb. 27, 2005 at his

home in Niceville, Fla.

Chuck was born Oct. 25, 1953 in San Francisco, Calif. He grew up in Roswell, N.M.

After his father died of a heart attack at the age of 39, he was raised by his mother. He

knew from an early age that he wanted to attend the Air Force Academy, and after

graduating from Goddard High School in 1971, he came to USAFA under a

Congressional nomination. Chuck did well militarily, serving as First Sergeant and later

Squadron Commander of CS-28, but always struggled when it came to academics. He

remembered being on academic probation (what he referred to as “the other Dean’s List”)

more semesters than he was off of it. It is here that one of the most striking facets of his

personality was honed: his perseverance. Many of his Academy friends recall him

studying much longer hours than his classmates. Perhaps because of this work ethic, he

overcame his academic problems and graduated in 1975 with a degree in General


Chuck went on to pilot training and spent most of his 19-year career flying the C-9 and

the C-130. His assignments included Scott AFB, where he met his wife, Karen, as well as

Elmendorf AFB and Little Rock AFB, where his daughter and son were born,

respectfully. After a remote tour at Camp Red Cloud, Korea, he accepted an offer of early

retirement, which took effect June 1994. He and his family then moved to their current

home in Niceville.

Chock believed in hard work and enjoyed staying busy. The same work ethic that his

contemporaries recall him demonstrating toward his homework, refusing to seek excuses

for work that did not meet his satisfaction, has remained with him all his life. During his

career, he used his free time to pursue and earn a Master of Business Administration

Degree. After retiring, he worked 15-20 hours a week as a volunteer financial counselor

at the Family Support Center at Eglin AFB, and hated nothing more than having nothing

to do. One of the proudest moments of his life was when he received the Angel Award as

Volunteer of the year. During this time, he also started up an Internet business that was

slowly gaining strength, as many of his associates became close friends.

He always tried to look on the bright side of life and his laughter could often be heard

echoing throughout the house. His sense of humor and positive attitude were the hallmarks of his personality. One of his daughter’s earliest memories was of his laughter  F. Riordan

— not so much booming as explosive and infectious. Even during the toughest times at

the Academy his classmates remember him having a smile on his face or a joke on the tip

of his tongue. As one classmate put it, he was the type of guy that, when you met him in

the hall or on the terrazzo, you always felt better afterwards.

Chuck leaves behind many people who loved him, including his mother, Maurine; his

sister Mo; his wife, Karen; his daughter Michelle; his son Charlie (USAFA ‘08); as well

as many cousins, in-laws, and friends. He made an impact on many people’s lives and

will most certainly be missed. (His children Michelle and Charlie, USAFA ‘08)

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01/11/11 09:07 PM #1    

Tom Dunlap

Charles kept a bunch of us from being beaten beyond recognition when we went down to break up an anti-war rally.  He formed us all in a circle on the Court House lawn and turned it in to a discussion so we were able to go home to dinner and chew with our teeth.  Bad heart.

03/19/11 06:57 AM #2    

Douglas Schulz

Charles was always one of the brainiest guys I knew. When you have a discussion with him it was never trite. He was so excited about going into the Air Force and flying jets. I think he did go to the Air Force Academy, but I don't know if he ever got his wish to fly jets. Does anybody know how he died? Douglas Schulz

09/04/11 10:09 AM #3    

Tom Dunlap

 He attended the Academy and graduated to fly heavies and then retired.  His dad died young of a heart attack at Walker.  He took great care of himself and took all the right medical tests but succumbed to a heart attack.  Real nice wife and kid.

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