June 17, 1953 - May 13, 2020
May 30, 2020
When I first met Charlie was in 1990 and when my sister married him and he was a great guy to be a father to my neice who at that time was 3 yrs old. God sent for you to be in His Kingdom of Heaven and now you're no longer in pain and you're another angel to watch over your kids. Rest in Peace, Charlie until we all meet up with you and all of our love ones. We all miss you.
May 25, 2020
It occurs to me that some folks that knew Charlie late in life may not be familiar with the Charlie I grew up with-or the world we shared. The world was changing every day prop planes to jets, atomic bombs to hydrogen, sputnik to manned space flights and black and white to color, wagon train and Gun Smoke to Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Star Trek. Our neighborhood reflected the changing times. There were chickens and goats one or two cows - some corn fields, a construction company with giant bull dozers and cranes. Also at the bottom of my hill was a very busy 4 lane street-although our streets were not paved and had mud puddles the size of lakes most of the year. Charlie's back yard was a 1/2 acre field next to much larger fields. The neighborhood also featured a pond with frogs and salamanders and Kelly Butte a couple of hundred acres of forest surrounded by houses and farms. Charlie and I ate it up! Our favorite books were the Tom Swift Junior. Boy scientist who built and flew jets, rockets and sailed his submarines through one adventure after another all over the world. We built forts in the fields, caught salamanders in the pond , explored the mountain (Kelly Butte) in the rain and loved every minute of it. We both caught numerous colds and got jungle rot from wading in the pond too much. But, it never really slowed us down. In desperation our parents enrolled us in a science class at OMSI when Charlie was 6 and I was 5. A decision they came to regret!! We practically lived there for the next several years. Taking class after class, going on field trips, playing with the lasers, meeting astronauts, yes, astronauts-all of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo crews!!! Two incidents stand out in my memory. Charlie and I standing shoulder to shoulder shaking hands with and talking to Ed White, Roger Chaffee and Gus Grissom-the Apollo 1 crew just a few weeks before the terrible fire that took them from us. Then during the 1968 presidential primary Robert Kennedy came to OMSI on his swing through Oregon and while I was following the crowd around I saw a familiar looking face on the edge of the crowd-John Glenn! As I walked up to him he turned to me with a warm smile, stuck out his hand and said "Hi, I'm John Glenn Jr, nice to meet you Cliff! What is your job here?" He had seen my OMSI name tag. I told him I was a volunteer guide and also worked at the science sales counter. He was my favorite astronaut, a personal hero, He treated me so warmly that day. One of my life long regrets was that Charlie wasn't there to share it. We spent so much time at OMSI and at his house building and flying model rockets, doing chemistry experiments and blowing things up I wonder how we ever found time to go to school. We both got telescopes and our friend, Jim Fox, made his own. We spent hours looking at the moon, stars and one of our favorites the rings of Saturn! We spent so much time at OMSI they put us to work-we gave tours, ran the plastic lady show and ran the films in the DC-3 (an old prop airliner attached to the side if the building-now on display at the air museum in McMinnville. Since Charlie's family had a color TV and ours was black and white. I watched nearly every Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and every original Star Trek at Charlie's. Charlie, Jim and I built a pretty good copy of the Enterprise bridge in Jim's garage. Lots of lights and even a view screen, We spent hours "flying" around the galaxy fighting Klingons! A couple of our adventures that really stand out to me from back then are the first, the day we decided to fly several rockets at the same time!! Charlie was 9 or 10 and I was 7 or 8. Charlie had built a really neat electrical system of 11 switches and lights that had to be flipped in order 10, 9, 8 and so on down to 0 for the rockets to go up. This was the first time we had launched more than one rocket at a time. We had dug a hole and built a block house in Charlie's field for the event. Most of the kids in the neighborhood came out to watch. We got a bull horn from somewhere and I did the count down. Charlie flipped the switches and at zero 5 or 6 rockers headed to the sky!!!! It was great!!! The kids cheered!!! The rockets parachutes all opened and were recovered! It started raining so we went into the house to play cards and the rest of the kids went home. One problem from the block house we could only see part of the flight and by the time Charlie and I got out of the block house the rockets were out of sight until the parachutes opened and they had started down. None of the kids mentioned that while we couldn't see it-a small plane had flown over the field and rockets had flown fairly close to it. So we were in the back room playing cards and there was a knock on the door. Char's mom answers the door and says "boys it is for you". We came running out to see all of these men in blue uniforms, some with guns on their belts and they asked "Are you the ones who launched the rockets?" We proudly said "YES!" and showed them the rockets and Charlie's launch switches after which the officer in charge hands Char's mom his card and says "Have them call me when they get out of high school" turns and leaves! The other was a few years later when we were trying to make a big bang we didn't want to destroy anything-just wanted to make some noise! Charlie and I were working on it together. Then one day Charlie had gone somewhere and I decided to try a new concoction we had talked about. I loaded an empty CO2 cartridge with the stuff, put a length of rocket fuse in it and took it outside. Now where to try it??? It just so happens an old pile of ashes out behind our garage that I was suppose to move was fairly big and had been out in the rain for some time so it had hardened up to resemble concrete. Ah, just the place. My sister was hanging up clothes to dry on the other side of the garage, so I warned her. She said "OK" so I lit the fuse and ran! Now to be fair to my sister, we had been trying out different mixtures for some time and so far we were getting pops not big bangs. This time was different!!!! Really different!!! The earth moved!!! My ears rang!! Sis screamed!!! The sound of the explosion echoed across Portland!! The ash pile was gone!!! I was stunned and delighted at the same time!!!! My Sis said things I never heard her say before or since!! And took the clothes back into the house to be re-washed!!! My phone rang. It was Jim Fox (who lived two miles away) calling to jokingly ask if I tried out the new formula. When I said "YES!" there where several seconds of silence before a request of details. When I related the event to Charlie he was thrilled!!! We of course reproduced the event in a much more secluded location. Then did not tell anyone else the exact formula for many years! It is hard to say what happened to Charlie and I - we just sort of drifted apart over the years. It started when I left Benson High for Marshall and went further when I joined the Navy. When I got back I took up fishing and hunting also building cars. Charlie was not much into these things. We would catch up from time to time we never really fought about anything. Just sort of got caught up in different lives. I will always regret that we didn't stay in closure touch. He was a heck of a guy-I would not be who I am had I not grown up with Charlie Davis as my friend! Sincerely Cliff Hill Evie Hill 4 days ago