10254 W. Carlton Bay | Garden City, ID 83714

Charles Waters Bryan February 24, 1930 - December 20, 2020

Charles Waters Bryan, Lt Col, USAF (Ret)

Born February 24, 1930 the youngest child of five to Albert Henry Bryan and Ellen Waters Baker Bryan in Waynesboro, TN.  Died December 20th, 2020 in Boise, Idaho.  Graduated from Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, TN in 1948.  Graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1952 before the US Air Force had their own academy.  Charles was going to be a jet pilot either way but chose Air Force over Navy because he didn’t want to be away from Audrey any more than he had to serving on ships.

Charles married the love of his life, Audrey Vivian Robertson of Lebanon, TN in 1952 immediately after graduation from the USNA.  Mom was the beautiful sister of a family friend and they courted while Dad was at the Naval Academy.  In their first 19 years, they moved their growing family 19 times; albeit, many of the moves were in the first five years dragging their three boys with them.  Charlie and Tom were born in Victoria, TX one year apart between two moves to and from Victoria.  Sam was born in Dayton, OH.  They lived on two different bases in the three years they lived in Japan where their first daughter, Susan was born and where Dad took the oldest boys, Charlie and Tom, climbing Mt Fuji.  They lived in Albuquerque, for five years in two homes where Janet was born and Dad worked at the Sandia Special Weapons Lab developing the Air Force’s first computers and earned his Masters in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Mexico and the Air Force’s Institute of Technology.

Charles served in the US Air Force for twenty years.  He flew over 100 combat missions as Squadron Commander of the 14th Tactical Recon Squadron in the RF-4C Phantom in the Vietnam war, and as their motto states, “Alone, Unarmed and Unafraid”!  Charles was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Bronze Star Medal (BSM) and Air Medal (AM) with seven Oak Leaf Clusters among many others.  The Distinguish Flying Cross was awarded for heroism under fire and great risk to take out enemy guns and missile sites that had been killing our troops and taking down our planes.

After retirement from the Air Force, he started his second career teaching math and computer science in the Boise School district for 16 years, first at South Junior HS then at Boise HS.  He loved teaching his students and the students loved him too.

After his second retirement, Charles was Grandpa or Papa Bryan to hundreds of students, primarily at Joplin Elementary and Lowell Scott Middle School as a favorite volunteer.  He was honored by the Meridian School system as volunteer of the year for his countless hours of service and love to the teachers and students.  Charles and Audrey were also leaders in the Marriage Encounter program for years.  Charles served as a member, teacher, Deacon and Elder at the Church of Christ in the many locations they lived.

Of all the great things in his life, Charles’ proudest accomplishments were being married to Audrey for sixty years, five children, fifteen grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

He is survived by his children Charlie (Pam), Tom (Karin), Sam (Tisha), Susan (John) Willingham, Janet (Marty) Lain; grandchildren, Chad (Charles III), Tori, Suzi, Connor, Samuel, Rebecca, Rachel, Lauren, Hannah, Heath, Audrey, Bryan, J.T., Luci, Laura and Katie; fifteen grandchildren and many loving nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by Audrey (nine years and one day apart), his parents and his siblings, Elizabeth Donnell, Albert, Jr., Mary Ann Bradley and Robert Bryan.

A close friend sent a touching note to the family and is shared with permission:  “It was no coincidence that your Dad died just as the sighting of the Star of Bethlehem happened for the first time since about 1226 AD.  The heavens rejoiced to get him back up there, and the angels sang, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  Truly, he did it all and he did it well.  A few years ago he and I walked the Mall one morning.  As we passed other walkers and little kids, he blessed them.  God and he are very close.  We will all miss him, but he is watching out for us still, to be sure.”

There will be a private interment with full military honors in late January at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery in Boise, Idaho.  A memorial will be held at a later date, hopefully this summer, conditions permitting.  Please visit the online guest book at www.bowmanfuneral.com and leave contact information.  You will be contacted when the service is scheduled.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Idaho Food Bank at 3562 S. TK Av, Boise, ID 83705 or a charity of your choice.

Plot – 10 U 177 in the Idaho Veterans Cemetery.

There will be a private interment with full military honors in late January at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery in Boise.  A memorial will be held at a later date, hopefully this summer, conditions permitting.  Please visit the online guest book at www.bowmanfuneral.com, leave contact information and you will be contacted when the service is scheduled.”


  1. REPLY
    Fred W Fender says

    Another hero has left us, but what a great legacy he has left behind. What a privilege to have known Charles and to witness the impact on so many lives. We give the family all our love and prayers in this time of loss.

  2. REPLY
    John Charlton says

    My sincerest condolences to Mr Bryan’s family. May he Rest In Peace.

    • REPLY
      Nancy Swanson says

      My deepest sympathies to you all. Charlie was a volunteer in my kindergarten class when Suzi was my student . He was an amazing man and I remember him so well! What a beautiful legacy he has left.

  3. REPLY
    Christine Nelson says

    Charles was an accomplished man but I only knew him as Sam and Charlie’s sweet dad. It was always a treat to be around him and his warmth, friendliness, his generosity of spirit and kindness, not to mention his great sense of humor, his cheerfulness and humility. My grief is tempered by the fact he will be with his beloved wife as it seems he was lonely without her. Love and condolences to the whole family as I know he was deeply loved and respected.

  4. REPLY
    Randy Harris says

    I am so sorry for your loss. They like to say, “Heaven’s gain”, but I know your sorrow is yet still raw. I also know that there is power in prayer. I will be praying for you each and every day…“I will lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.”

  5. REPLY
    Gary Slee says

    Please let me know when service is scheduled.
    Tremendous man

  6. REPLY
    Tyann Drake says

    Charlie and family. Im so sorry to learn of Charles death. Your dad as well as your mom was a great mentor to me as a young christian at the Church of Christ. I treasured our hallway conversations. May God hold all of you close.

  7. REPLY
    Debra Irish says

    I am so sorry for your loss! I have so many fond memories of your parents. I know he is basking in the light of our Lord, waiting for us all to arrive!

  8. REPLY
    Nikki Osterhout Quintana says

    I remember Mr Bryan from South Jr High and have thought about him over the years. I enjoyed him as a teacher and he always was such a kind and nice man. His family was blessed to enjoy him through the years.

  9. REPLY
    John Greenlee says

    How sad it was to read the paper today. “Chasbo” was one who brought joy wherever he went. Every time he stopped by my office (without fail) he would tell the receptionist, “Just tell him there’s a Bible salesman here to see him.” I would come out, impatient and frowning, only to break out in a big grin as soon as I saw him. I fell for it every single time! Charles was such a great example to all those around him because of his kind and gentle spirit. May he rest in peace.

  10. REPLY
    William Slupe says

    I met Charles a few years back when walking at the Mall. When we would me he was always with a book in hand. He was always polite, positive and upbeat. We would occasionally talked about his time at the Academy, shared experiences and acquaintances in the service, books and life as a school teacher. My thought and prayers are with the family. My wife and I will miss him.

  11. REPLY
    Tina Ridgeway says

    We will miss Charlie as our neighbor and friend. He was always interested and concerned about others. May God’s comfort and your memories of your Dad and Grandpa sustain you.
    With love and prayers
    The Ridgeway Family

  12. REPLY
    Kelly Wong says

    Every child remembers the extraordinary teachers in their lives and Mr. Bryan was mine. I had Mr. Bryan for math in the 7th grade and remember him as a kind and dedicated teacher. May your memories sustain you in your time of sorrow.
    Kelly (Cooper) Wong

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