Charlie was born in Wailuku on the island of Maui on January 28, 1937. Upon the passing of his father at an early age, Charlie and his two siblings; Karen and Yoshio, were raised by their widowed mother, Elsie.
Charlie was in ROTC while attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa. As a commissioned officer in the USAF, Charlie had the opportunity to live in Oahu, North Dakota, Alabama, Okinawa, mainland Japan, Texas, and the Philippines; as well as visit European and Middle Eastern countries as part of the USAF Inspector General team. He was Chief of MWR at Hickam AFB and Clark AB, Philippines. Under his leadership, MWR at Clark AB won the prestigious Curtis E. Lemay Award for providing airmen and their families the best services and programs in the USAF. He served as the Pacific Region's Armed Forces Exchange Commander during his final, active duty assignment.
Charlie didn't slow down after his retirement from the USAF. He continued his service, to the state this time, as VP of Military Affairs for the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii. He traveled annually to Washington, D.C. to lobby for Hawaii military affairs. In 2005, Charlie assisted in successfully lobbying against Pearl Harbor's inclusion on the Pentagon's Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission's base closure list, leading to today's joint base and saving thousands of jobs. Charlie's well-deserved retirement occurred in 2014.
Charlie's passions in his younger days included running the Honolulu Marathon, the Great Aloha Run and various 10K events, golfing, snorkeling, swimming, tennis, playing his ukulele, fishing in Alaska, and Lion's Club activities. His later years included keeping up with local and national politics, listening to music via his extensive vinyl collection, enjoying college and NFL football, UH volleyball, MLB from a statistics-driven perspective, and serving as grill master for weekly, Sunday family dinners. He also had a penchant for gardening, and relished in seeing his plants flourish.
Charlie will be deeply missed by his family; devoted bride of 61 years, Elaine, who had no boundaries when it came to love and loyalty, his son Jay (Tina), daughter Jan (Joe) Culter, son Jarrett (Miki), grandsons Christopher and Jayce, granddaughters Miria and Mireina, brother Yoshio (Candy), two brothers-in-law, three sisters-in-law, and several nieces and nephews. Charlie was predeceased by his father Charles Iwao Ota, mother Elsie Taeko Ota, and sister, Karen Wintermyer.
Thank you to Dr. Aaron Hoo, the medical staff, nurses and doctors at Pali Momi Medical Center, Pali Momi Medical Center ER, Honolulu (Aiea) Fire Department and EMT responders, and St. Francis Hospice; all provided such caring support. A special thanks to Dr. Chris Fiack for staying committed, using every tool in his tool box, and leaving no stone unturned.
Please celebrate Charlie's legacy, for an earthly life well lived. A memorial service will be held at a later date.
Arrangements Provided By: Nuuanu Memorial Park & Mortuary LLC
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased