CARIES B. BOOKER (CB)
1929 – 2019
Caries Booker of Fort Walton Beach, Florida passed from this world and entered into his heavenly mansion on April 26, 2019. He was 89. CB (known as “CB” or “Booker”) was born to Chaffin and Helen Bell Booker in Bagdad, Florida on October 13, 1929. CB’s mother, Helen Bell Booker, passed away in 1930 when he was not yet one year old. CB went to live with his grandparents, E.B. and Virginia Beck, on their farm in Milton, Florida. He enjoyed riding his horse, driving cows, and growing and eating watermelons. CB was game for most anything, including trying to ride the family bull for about two seconds before being thrown off when he was 13 years old.
In 1946, sixteen year old CB went to work at the Navy Point Stores in Pensacola, FL while completing his high school education. He became the Store Windows Display Manager and worked in men’s clothing. In December 1950, CB enlisted in the US Air Force. After basic training at Lackland AFB, Texas, he was stationed at Finland Station, MN and at Keesler AFB, MS. Booker was selected to attend Electronic Fundamentals School and became a Radar Tech Specialist. He was subsequently assigned to the 783 AC&W Radar Squadron at Charleston, WV where he met and married the love of his life, Maxine Wade. CB was honorably discharged from military service in 1954.
After his military service, CB returned to Florida and worked Civil Service at Eglin Air Force Base. CB worked as an Electronic Radar Specialist in ECM. He also worked on airborne navigation equipment and data equipment in the Math Lab. The last 26 years of his civil service career, CB was assigned to the Range Management & Surveillance section where he conducted technical inspections, surveillance, and evaluation of the ADTC Range, operated by the M&O Contractor. Booker enjoyed working with the more than 1100 employees he came into contact. He retired in January 1995 after 43 years and seven months of civil service.
In 1956, in addition to working at EAFB, CB went into residential real estate, building apartments and houses in the evenings and on weekends. He would frequently refer to himself and his carpenter friend as the “Moonlight Construction Company”. CB became a Lifetime Honorary Member of the Florida Sheriff’s Association in May, 2006 after 40 years of dedicated support for the Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranches, where orphaned and at-risk boys and girls are cared for by loving house parents. He was a member of Cinco Baptist Church, had a genuine love for others, had many long-time friends, and was an excellent and often comical historian when relating the details of his life experiences. He enjoyed playing Pinochle with his friends in Niceville and meeting the “coffee” crew for breakfast at Hardee’s. CB was always there to lend a helping hand. He was a loving husband and devoted father who dearly loved his two children.
CB is survived by his wife, Maxine, his daughter, Rebecca Booker of Tallahassee, FL and his son Alan Booker of Huntsville, AL,; sisters-in-law, Beulah Ash of Frankfort, IL and Madge Wade of Charleston, WV. The memorial service honoring his life will be held at Emerald Coast Funeral Home on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at 2 p.m. with Rev. Dr. Mickey Hawkins officiating. Visitation is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. prior to the 2 p.m. service. Interment will follow at Beal Memorial Cemetery, Fort Walton Beach, FL with military honors.
Arrangements and services are under the direction of Emerald Coast Funeral Home, 161 Racetrack Rd, NW, Fort Walton Beach, FL. Contributions, in memory of C.B. Booker, may be made to the Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranches, POB 2000, Boys Ranch, FL 32064.