Charles Schwertner '62 December 15, 2021 9:51 AM updated: December 15, 2021 10:22 AM
Charles James Schwertner
May 8, 1940 - October 18, 2021
Charles J. Schwertner, 81, of Abilene, passed away on October 18, 2021 in Abilene. Visitation will be from 4-6 pm on Sunday, October 24, 2021, with the Rosary starting at 5:30 pm at The Hamil Family Funeral Home, 6449 Buffalo Gap Road.
Funeral mass will be held at 10 am on Monday, October 25, at Holy Family Catholic Church, with Father Santiago Udayar officiating. Burial will be at The Aspermont Cemetery, Aspermont, Texas at 2:00 pm.
Charles was born at St. John’s Hospital in San Angelo, Texas to Frances and Alfred Schwertner on May 8, 1940. He attended school at Wall, Texas and graduated from Wall High School in 1958. Charles was the first student from Wall to attend Texas A&M University, where he graduated in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy. A life-long learner, he continued his education with three postgraduate degrees: Economics from Hardin-Simmons University (1968), Finance from The University of Alabama (1972), and Accounting from McMurray University (1988).
Charles earned the rank of Major during his twenty-two year career in the United States Air Force, serving three wartime tours in Vietnam and one overseas tour in South Korea. He was aeronautically rated as a Master Navigator; he accumulated almost 3800 flying hours, of which approximately 2600 were in several different models of the B-52. Major Schwertner accumulated a total of 1064 combat hours in flying 176 combat missions during the Vietnam War. He finished his flying career in EC 47’s (the Jungle Skippers), collecting electronic intelligence in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. The eight to ten-hour EC-47 National Security Agency directed missions included crew members who were linguists, radio operators, as well as computer and code technicians of the USAF Security Service.
For his dedicated service, Major Schwertner received numerous military decorations: Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal (with two oak leaf clusters), Air Medal (with five oak leaf clusters), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal (with one oak leaf cluster), Distinguished Presidential Unit Citation, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (with valor device and two oak leaf clusters), Expeditionary Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal (with four bronze stars), Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon (with four oak leaf clusters), Small Arms Marksmanship Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
Following his retirement from the Air Force, Charles with his wife became more involved in the farming and ranching business, purchasing and managing agricultural properties in Taylor, Jones, Runnels, Stonewall, and Tom Green counties. They also owned and operated their own business, 278 Truck Wash Inc. in Tye, Texas. Charles was a lifelong member of the Knights of Columbus, and he was a proud member of Rotary International for over 50 years, with the majority of those years as a member of the Southwest Rotary of Abilene.
Charles was preceded in death by his parents, Alfred and Frances Schwertner, his mother-in-law and father-in-law, Norma and Wesley M. Robbins, and his sister-in-law, Donna Coulthard Schwertner.
Charles is survived by his wife, Wesley Kaye Robbins Schwertner, and his children: Jim F. Johnson, Senator (Dr.) Charles Jeffrey Schwertner (Belinda), Jane S. Murray (Menton III), and Justin Shane Schwertner '98 (Andrea). He is also survived by: his brothers, Dr. Harvey A. Schwertner '63 and Larry J. Schwertner '66, and his sister, Donna F. Schwertner Multer (Jerry); his seven grandchildren and one step-grandchild: Hannah Murray, Carson Schwertner, Zachary Schwertner '23, Menton Murray IV, Matthew Schwertner, Kenady Kate Murray, Olivia E. Schwertner, and Cason Castillo; family friend Ruben Rocha; and by his six nieces and nephews, all of whom are graduates of Texas A&M University: Melissa Multer Gunter, Tracie Multer Davis, Lisa M. Schwertner Scott '93, Brian J. Schwertner '94, Scott Alan Schwertner '98, and Keith R. Schwertner '99.
Pallbearers will be Matthew Schwertner, Carson Schwertner, Menton Murray IV, Menton Murray III, Jerry Multer, Gerald Jost, Scott Kenady, and Brian Schwertner. Honorary Pallbearer is Zachary Schwertner.
Memorials may be given to West Texas Rehab, Holy Family Catholic Church, Abilene Southwest Rotary Club, or to a charity of your choice. The family wishes to thank the PCU Nursing and Medical staff of Hendrick Medical Center South.