Charles J. Fleming, 83, of Tullahoma, Tennessee, died November 2nd, 2013.
The eldest of 14 children, he is preceded in death by his father Shirley Fleming and mother Ruby Miller Fleming, his siblings Phillip Fleming, Martin Fleming, Elizabeth (Betty) Weatherly, and Shirley Arlene Turner, and two daughters Catherine Fleming and Joyce Fleming.
He is survived by his wife Christine and their children David Fenn, Nancy Fenn Szelich, and Nara Fleming. By a previous marriage, he is survived by his children Arleen Fleming Goodman, Charles Michael Fleming, Mary T. Fleming, and Patrick A. Fleming. He also leaves behind four brothers, Lawrence Fleming, Richard Fleming and Randolph Fleming of Ottawa IL, and William Fleming of Shelbyville TN, and five sisters, Lola Sellers of Ottawa IL, Rebecca Herschler of Atwater CA, Donna Baer of Carrier Mills IL, Melissa Lowe of Streator IL, and Colleen Meier of Colorado Springs CO. He has over 50 nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, and uncountable cousins.
He was born in 1930 , in Argentine, KS. He quit school in the 5th grade to get a job and help support his younger siblings. In 1947, at the age of 17, he joined the U.S. Navy and participated in the occupation of North Africa at the end of WWII. As he strove to improve himself and work his way up, he earned his GED and attained the rank of Chief Petty Officer. His commanding officers consistently recommended him for promotion as being a very ambitious, hardworking electrician who can be relied upon, willing to help other electricians with their work. He is of the highest moral standard and a credit to the Navy. He is highly recommended for advancement. He served on the USS Kingbird in 1965 and was specifically commended for his performance of duty, initiative, enthusiasm, and professional knowledge. As the ship’s 0ne and only rated Electrician his competence and attitude materially assisted KINGBIRD in achieving the present high state of readiness evident by this inspection. His performance during this inspection as a petty officer, leader, and professional military man was in the highest traditions of the naval service.? Some of his service included Electrician?s Mate, minesweeper duty, shore patrol, and finally recruiter. He served in 1947 aboard the USS Witek, 1950 USS Colleton, 1952 USS Bottiweau, 1955 USS Capricornus, 1956 USS Glacier, 1957 School for electricians(A), 1957 USS Catawba, 1958 USNAS, 1960 School for electricians(B) 1961 Cominron, 1964 USS Kingbird. His favorite story was about his service on the USS Glacier AGB-4, making a trip to Antarctica with his brother Lawrence Fleming. He retired from the Navy in 1970 after 23 years of service. After moving from Illinois to Tennessee in 1978, he ran a repair business, C & C Appliance, for several years before permanently retiring in 1990.
He had a deep love of music. He could often be found picking the guitar, or playing the piano, and harmonica. He was always quick to share his love of music. He taught some of his children to play as well. Charles was also an avid fisherman and a voracious reader. People that really knew him are inspired by his quiet strength and kindness, that he remembered but forgave debts owed him, showed charity even to those he didn’t like, persevered and sacrificed all his life, and kept humor and fortitude in his heart against all trials.
Services will be at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church on Wednesday November 6th at 10 AM.