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Charles Sasseen Epstein

November 4, 1930 ~ August 16, 2019 (age 88)


Captain Charles Sasseen (“Charlie”) Epstein, US Navy Reserve (Ret.), age 88, of Shalimar, Florida, passed away on August 16, 2019, surrounded by family.  Charlie was born November 4, 1930 in Atlanta, Georgia, to Edward and Nellie Sasseen Epstein.  He was preceded in death by his parents and his only sibling, his brother, Edward Epstein, Jr.  He is survived by his children, Edwin Robinson (Deborah) Epstein, Sherril Epstein (Don) Farr, Andrew Charles (Judy) Epstein, and Thomas Clay Epstein; grandchildren Christopher Robinson (Natalie) Epstein, Jonathan Edward (Mara) Epstein, Mollie Caitlyn Farr, Reilly Ned Farr, Austin Clay Epstein, Isabella Elise Epstein, and Jakob Maxwell Epstein; and great grandchildren, Lucy Mae Epstein and Hannah Rose Epstein.  Charlie graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1952 with a BS in Aeronautical Engineering and embarked on three separate careers in the service of his country.  His Navy career began with enlistment in ROTC.  He was deployed aboard the USS Rochester during the Korean War and, once commissioned, served aboard the USS Missouri before being selected for flight training.  While in Pensacola he met and married the mother of his children, Elizabeth Robinson.  He was qualified as a Naval Aviator in both fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft, and flew P2V Neptunes from Jacksonville, FL and Reykjavik, Iceland on submarine hunting patrols.  In 1957, he left active duty to accept an engineering position at General Dynamics, Fort Worth, Texas to work on the B-58 aircraft program.  He continued his Navy service in the Ready Reserves until 1978, achieving the rank of Captain before his retirement.  In 1961, Charlie accepted a civil service position at Eglin Air Force Base in the Armament Lab where he began his second distinguished career. He became a recognized international expert in the field of aircraft and external stores compatibility as the Chief of Aircraft/Stores Compatibility Engineering, and one of the original founders of the Project SEEK EAGLE office, still the USAF’s key aircraft stores certification office today.  He then spent three years at NATO SHAPE Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, heading the Air Armament Division responsible for promoting international air armament standardization, interoperability, and cooperative development.  He then returned to Eglin in the Future Plans office and was Program Manager for the USAF Low Observable Weapons program.  He authored and presented numerous technical papers and was the principal author of many US Military Specifications, Standards, and Handbooks, as well as several NATO Technical Reports, Manuals, and Publications.  Many of these are either still in effect today or formed the basis of the standards that are in use today. He was a frequent speaker at military, industrial and academic symposia for standardization and a member of numerous government and military organizations such as NDIA, NTSA, AFA, Navy League, etc.  In 1986, after retiring from civil service, Charlie cofounded Armcon, Inc. in Shalimar, embarking on his third career.  He and his partners offered engineering, program management and proposal development/strategy consulting services to defense and aerospace contractors related to weapons systems acquisition.  He thoroughly enjoyed his work and was particularly proud of the structured “Red Team Review” process he and his team developed to improve a company’s proposal prior to submittal to, and evaluation by the customer.  In 1996, he retired for the final time having served his country admirably for 45+ years.   Never an outdoorsman, Charlie loved sports, especially Georgia Tech sports, having witnessed everything in his lifetime from national championships to disappointing losing streaks.  As a young man, he has active in the Boy Scouts, and supported his children through scouting and youth sports.  He was a voracious reader having read thousands of books.  He loved 50s and 60s music and was an avid movie fan.  He was extremely proud of his children, their families, and their accomplishments and never passed up an opportunity to rave to anyone who would listen.  The last several years of Charlie’s life were tough as his mobility became more and more limited, and his world became smaller and smaller.  He is at peace now.  The family would like to express their sincere thanks for the tireless and loving care provided by the staff at Westwood Nursing and Rehabilitation, and the kindness of the staff at Emerald Coast Hospice for their efforts to make his final days comfortable.  A visitation will be held on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 at 9:00 A.M. at Emerald Coast Funeral Home, 161 Racetrack Road NW, Fort Walton Beach, FL, followed by a funeral service at 10:00 A.M.  Burial will take place immediately following, at Beal Memorial Cemetery with military honors.  In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society or a veteran’s charity of your choice.