Charles L. Barnes

August 31, 1935December 7, 2013
Play Tribute Movie

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



  • Graveside Service Thursday, December 12, 2013


  • Visitation

Charles L. Barnes

have a memory or condolence to add?


receive updates when new memories are posted

Toby Mason

December 28, 2013

Dear Barb, I am so sorry for the loss of your husband, Charles, over the holidays. I am so happy we are FB friend s.

James Van Over

December 14, 2013

I was Charlie's sponsor when he and Barbara were assigned to the 6985th SS at Eielson AFB, Alaska about 1965. I flew many missions with Charlie and have some amusing memories of those years as well as the tense moments our aircrews shared. I'm regretful that I did not know you lived in Chattanooga since Betty and I live in Clarksville, TN. Betty and I send our most heartfelt sympathies to Barbara and the children. Jim & Betty Van Over.

Paul Twomey

December 12, 2013

I truly enjoyed the slideshow you had prepared. I had never seen those pictures of your family when you were all younger. I have heard so many of the stories though. I learned so much about the world from Charles as we talked for hundreds of hours over our years working together. My knowledge is much wider today because of Charles. I will miss him greatly.

James Scott

December 11, 2013

To the Barnes family, we here at the Federal Aviation Administration send our most humble prayers to you in your time of sorrow. We feel that through Jeff Barnes, we knew Mr. Charles Barnes and some of the wonderful things that he accomplished during his various careers. God bless you all and our deepest sympathy.

Pete Siegel

December 11, 2013

I remember Charlie from our days at Yokota AB in the early 70s. Great hard working NCO and friend.

Ron Hentz

December 11, 2013

There's been a lot of air under our wings since those days in Japan and Alaska, Charlie. I know you're up there, still keeping watch. You're a lucky man to have lived the life you did and now, as the poem "High Flight" says, you've finally "slipped the surly bonds of earth......and touched the face of God." Your fellow crew dogs will miss you.

December 10, 2013

Ray and I are so sorry to hear of Charles death. You know we are right behind you and a phone call away if you need us. We send our love to you and all your family. Ray and Vicki Prater

Deborah Rivers Woodley

December 10, 2013

Cathi, I express my heart felt sympathy. As I view the beautiful pictures of your family, I know Mr. Barnes' legacy of displaying love, patience, peace, joy, long suffering, kindness and faithfulness to his family and God will live on.
I salute the contribution he made to our country that help make it what it is today.

Beth & Cory Jones

December 9, 2013

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,
love leaves a memory no one can steal.
We're so sorry for your loss.
With deepest sympathy -

Carolyne Kelley

December 9, 2013

Your light will continue to burn in the memories of your loving family.