On Monday, April 27, 2020, Charles Engleman Perry, passed away in Tucson, Arizona at age 74. Charles, who also liked to be known as Charlie or Chuck, was the father of Stephanie Perry of Fountain, Colorado and John Perry of Rangely, Colorado.
Charles was born in Kansas City, MO on August 12, 1945 to John and Miriam (Hess) Perry. He grew up in Kansas City and went to Hale Cook Elementary and graduated from Southwest High School in 1963. As a youth, Charles was an avid Boy Scout and earned his Eagle Scout rank in 1960. Throughout his high school years, he was passionate about photography, building a dark room in his basement and developing his own pictures. Not only was he the yearbook photographer, but he was quite the entrepreneur. In order to pay for his private pilot’s license, Charles took pictures of summer camp groups to sell. He secured his pilot’s license before graduating high school and was able to fly single engine planes to and from Denver University with his high school sweetheart, Martha Groening, who also attended D.U.. June 15, 1966 he wed Martha and they embarked on almost 44 years of marriage. When Charles graduated in 1967 from Denver University, he received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business. He briefly taught as a flight instructor at the University of Illinois and then at Jefferson County Airport near Broomfield, Colorado. In 1969, Charles moved his family to Bisbee, Arizona where he secured a job at Cochise College as a flight instructor from 1969 to 1973. In 1971, Charles, at age 26, became the youngest man ever to be authorized to conduct flight tests on behalf of the Federal Aviation Administration as a designated pilot examiner acting as the final quality control inspector. Charles, who had had a lifelong love of Colorado moved his family of four to Colorado Springs in 1973 and worked as a Horace Mann insurance agent while traveling on weekends teaching Accelerated Ground School to future pilots. In the early 1980’s, Charles branched out and started his own insurance agency, which he successfully ran with the close support of Martha. When an opportunity arose in 1984 for Charles to return to Cochise College as a Chief Flight Instructor, he couldn’t turn it down, thus moving his family back to Bisbee. While working at Cochise College, Charles earned his Master of Arts degree in Business from The American College. In 1992, he was selected as the Arizona Flight Instructor of the Year by the Federal Aviation Administration. In 1997, Charles became re-authorized to conduct flight tests on behalf of the FAA as a designated pilot examiner and continued with this vital role until 2016. In 2011, Charles made the difficult decision to retire from Cochise College, completing a 31-year career at the college. Charles was recognized by the college as an educator who made many more contributions to aviation education even though he was retired and was appointed to Faculty Emeritus status. As evidence of this continual sharing of his passion for aviation, in October 2015, Charles was awarded the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award for 50 years of service. Charles was the epitome of a master pilot, exhibiting professionalism, skill, and aviation expertise since the age of 16.
Charles believed firmly that instead of complaining about issues, one should get involved and be a part of solutions. He was an active contributor to the Cochise College community by serving for 12 years as the president or secretary of the College Senate. He also served on the Employee Relations Committee. Within both the Colorado Springs and Bisbee communities, Charles was a vital member of the Lions Club, heading up and contributing to many service projects. Additionally, Charles was a vocal member of several boards for homeowners associations overseeing his rental properties. He was certainly not one to sit by and not take action.
Charles, who was known for his sarcastic wit and quick comebacks, had a lifelong love for rhythm and blues music and watched Westerns often while munching on his absolute favorites; pizza, bacon, and popcorn. He is preceded in death by his parents, a sister, Catherine Lee, and his wife, Martha. He is survived by his children, three grandchildren, Robynne Hill and Taylor Hill of Fountain, Colorado, Kaytlynne (Noah) Woods of Tucson, Arizona, and his sister, Carol (Dan) Davis of Warrenburg, MO. In January 2019, Charles married Mary Ann (Rawlins) Moore, who resided with him in Bisbee, AZ.
In honor of Charles’s lifelong commitment to aviation education, gifts may be made in his memory to the Cochise College Foundation, cochise.edu/give or 4190 W. Highway 80, Douglas, AZ 85607. Gifts will be earmarked to specifically benefit the Aviation program.