Charles “Charlie” Carl Hepner
Charles “Charlie” Carl Hepner, age 84, of Carlisle, passed away peacefully with his wife by his side at Claremont Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Carlisle on Monday, December 23, 2019. Charlie was born on Saturday, January 5, 1935 in Shamokin to the late Jacob Ralph Hepner and Cardie Mabel (Boyer) Hepner.
Charlie’s survivors include his wife of 65 years, Lela Mae (Mathie) Hepner; his two daughters: Debra Ann Emerick and her husband, Ronald, of Mechanicsburg, Connie Lee Erdman and her husband, Glenn, of Herndon; his seven grandchildren: Trisha Lynn Emerick, Mitchell Scott Emerick, Sheridan Lee Barnhart, Gregory Charles Emerick, Tyler Ryan Erdman, Travis Glenn Erdman, and Jenna Christine Emerick; his seven great-grandchildren: Marshall, Hailee, Sofia, Aaron, Reagan, Taylor, and Levi; his two siblings: Gene Kenneth Hepner and Cardie “Dolly” M. Bingaman; and several nieces and nephews.
Upon graduation from Millersburg High School, Charlie joined the U.S. Air Force on June 25, 1952 and entered basic training at Sampson AFB in New York to begin a 20 year military career. In his early years in the Air Force he was a gunner serving mainly on B-26 and B-29 aircrafts. After a four year tour he decided to reenlist and go to teletype maintenance school at Warren AFB in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He then attended crypto maintenance school at Scottfield AFB in Belleville, Illinois. The remainder of his career was spent in the crypto field. After many duty stations and assignments, he eventually transferred to Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas in June of 1960 where he became a crypto instructor. He served in Vietnam from March 1965 to March 1966 and then returned to Lackland AFB to continue as a crypto instructor. He was able to end his Air Force career with a three-year tour of duty at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, Alaska. He retired on October 3, 1972 and returned to his home state of Pennsylvania. Charlie then began a Civil Service career in August 1975 at the Defense Depot in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. In May 1977 he transferred to the Navy Ships Parts Control Center in Mechanicsburg as an Equipment Specialist Trainee in the Technical Department. Within a few years, he progressed to the journeyman level in that department and served there until his transfer to the Electronics Systems Department in July 1983. His career continued through many reorganizations including a move in October 1993 to the Surface Warfare Electronics System Department and then again in October 1995 to NAVICP (Naval Inventory Control Point). He retired on January 3, 1996 from NAVICP Mechanicsburg with 20 years of civil service.
Charlie was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Here he served as a Scout Master for the Boy Scout Troop and was able to share many of his talents and love of the outdoors with the young men in the church. He was a member of the Air Force Gunners Association and held memberships in The Lower Mahanoy Fishing Club, Depth Finders Bass Fishing Club and the Lower Northumberland Senior Center.
Charlie was an avid fisherman, hunter, gardener and fix-it man. He loved being outdoors. He was happiest when he could be on the river with his boat and a fishing buddy or in the woods hunting. Many friends and family members, especially his son-in-laws and grandsons were able to spend time fishing with him in his boat and always enjoyed the lunches and snacks he brought for them. They always knew that Lebanon Bologna Sandwiches and Charleston Chews, some of his favorites, would probably be on the menu for the day. Everyone knew that a fishing adventure with Charlie usually meant rising before the sun, but it would be worth the adventure. Charlie had a great love of hunting and he always looked forward to deer hunting season. He especially enjoyed being stationed in Alaska, a hunter’s and fisherman’s paradise. Charlie loved planting his garden each year. He enjoyed working in it and took great pride in it. Many were the recipients of his great bounties that he loved to share with everyone. Charlie loved to help others. If anyone needed help with a project or needed something fixed they knew where to turn. He was always there to help in any way he could and it was known among his family and friends that he could fix or make anything and his expertise was frequently sought after. Charlie was a hard worker and he passed that work ethic onto his children and grandchildren.
Charlie’s greatest love was his family and his favorite thing to do was to spend time with them. Lela, his wife of 65 years was the love of his life. Together with their devotion and love they were able to build a great legacy. Having had two daughters and feeling outnumbered in the family, Charlie was happy to finally have two wonderful son-in-laws. His grandchildren looked up to their Pap and he held a special place in their hearts. Charlie has left his family with so many wonderful memories. He loved adventures and whether it was the huge family yard sales, a ride in his boat, a cross country RV trip, a quick run to get ice cream cones or holidays spent together, his family loved being a part of them. A special treat was to be around at breakfast time and be the recipient of Charlie’s breakfasts. He enjoyed cooking and many mornings he was the first to rise while everyone else woke up to the smell of cooking bacon and the rattling of dishes. In whatever task Charlie was performing he always whistled while he worked. His whistle was a part of him. That whistle has gone silent now and will be greatly missed, but his family knows it will be heard again because families and love are eternal.
All are welcome to join Charlie’s family at his viewing on Thursday, January 2, 2020, from 11:00 a.m. until time of service at 12:00 p.m. at Buhrig Funeral Home and Crematory, 37 East Main Street, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055.
Burial will follow in Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in Annville, where military honors will be presented. Honored to be pallbearers are: Danny Barnhart, Gregory Emerick, Marshall Emerick, Mitchell Emerick, Ronald Emerick, Glenn Erdman, Travis Erdman, and Tyler Erdman. Charlie’s family invites everyone to join them for a time of food and fellowship at Funck’s Family Restaurant, 1805 Fisher Avenue, Annville, PA 17003, immediately following the burial.
The family sends their most heartfelt thanks to everyone at Claremont Nursing Home & Rehabilitation Center who so lovingly cared for Charlie during his illness.
Contributions in celebration of Charlie’s life can be made to the Parkinson’s Foundation, 200 SE 1st Street, Suite 800, Miami, FL 33131, www.Parkinson.org/Donate.
Charlie’s family has entrusted his care to Buhrig Funeral Home and Crematory in Mechanicsburg, (717) 766-3421. Read Charlie’s full obituary, view his memorial video and portrait, and sign his official guest book at Buhrig.com.
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200 SE 1st Street, Suite 800, Miami FL 33131