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Charles W. Epps

July 7, 1925 - October 22, 2014
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Topsham- Charles W. Epps, age 89, of Augusta Road, died early Wednesday morning October 22 at Coastal Manor in Yarmouth where he had been a recent resident. He was born in Athens, GA on July 7, 1925, the fifth of 10 children to Benjamin Thomas and Omie Williams Epps. He attended local schools and graduated from Athens High in 1942.

Since the country had entered World War II, the government initiated a program offering a college education in return for military service, so Charles entered and was enrolled in the University of So. Carolina and then proceeded to Pensacola, FL for flight training.

While stationed at Brunswick Naval Air Station he met and married Phyllis Atwood, daughter of Horace and Louise Atwood of Brunswick in 1961. They’d resided off Route 201 in Topsham, ME since 1965 and have two children Charles Jr (Chip) of San Diego, CA and Stacy of Topsham. Charles attained the rank of Commander and was up for Captain, but felt that after 26 years of flying around the world through several wars, it was time to retire to Topsham and stay home to raise his two small children.

Charles had many interests, most involving aviation in one form or another. His dad Ben was an electrical engineering student at Georgia Tech and opened his own company in Athens where he spent time making plans to build his own plane from his own design. Hence, he is recognized as Georgia’s aviation pioneer having first flown in 1907. Given this influence, Charles spent many days as a youth building model planes and tending to various aircraft. Charles was always mechanically inclined and just couldn’t resist ‘keeping things running.’ In lieu of his own private aircraft, Charles loved his cars and always had an eye for sporty vehicles.
After retiring from the Navy in 1967, he became involved with two younger brothers to establish Epps Air Service (now Epps Aviation), a fixed base aviation operation at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport in Atlanta, GA. Locally, he and two fellow retired Navy Commanders established a concrete company utilizing a new delivery system which mixed and delivered the product on site.

Back in the mid 1980’s, he was diagnosed with leukemia which required monthly treatments at the Cancer Center in Portland, ME. Every three months, over a period of 25 years, he underwent various chemotherapy sessions and bone marrow tests. To everyone’s amazement, including the doctor’s, he was declared to be in remission about 5 years ago.

By all reports and unequivocally substantiated by his wife, he was the kindest, most giving, thoughtful, loving individual she’d ever known and represented the universal understanding of what a true "southern gentleman” was. He was a devoted family man and loyal friend, who loved flying and the camaraderie associated with the Naval and aviation communities, as well as tinkering in his home shop in Topsham. Charles was an active member of the Navy League of Brunswick, the QB’s, and the Rotary Club. In 1998, he received the Joshua Chamberlain award for Community Service.

He is survived by his wife Phyllis, his daughter Stacy and son Chip, two brothers, Pat of Atlanta, GA and George and wife Dot of Harvest, Alabama, and numerous nieces and nephews.

A memorial service was be held Tuesday, October 28 at 11AM at Stetson’s Funeral Home, 12 Federal St., Brunswick.

Donations in his memory may be made to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123-1718

Condolences may be expressed at, or via letter to: Epps Family, PO Box 248, Topsham, ME 04086