By Jerry Lips
He talked about his family; he spoke fondly of his brother Harry, who died soon after returning from WWII. As young boys, they had fun building a racer for the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. He said of Harry, “We were so close and had so much fun together; there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss him.”
He spoke of his sweet bride and how the last several years had been tough without her. He was so proud of his children, who are both pilots. “Diane’s a captain, and flies left seat in her jet,” he said. “My son John is an accomplished soaring pilot.”
He loved to talk about aviation. He said, “Once aviation is in your blood, it’s always in your blood.” Modest about his enormous contributions to aviation, his genuine sweet spirit never failed the true gentleman, Charlie Gates.
During the last eight months, I had the pleasure of picking up Charlie on numerous occasions and spending the day with him. He loved spending the day at the airport, hanging out at our offices, visiting with Charlie Johnson and seeing the Javelin jet, checking out the new Adam A700, having lunch at the Perfect Landing, or just talking with the Lips’ kids about airplanes, helicopters, and his beloved Hawaii.
It was fun hanging out with the coolest icon of aviation; he was smart, a real genius about business. Several of his suggestions have been important in the success of Airport Journals. Our whole family loved him, and when our youngest son, Jesse, had his motorcycle accident, Charlie and his daughter were there to help ensure that Jesse would get the best care possible. Charlie’s philanthropic contributions are enormous and far reaching. His example set in motion a legacy best exemplified by his daughter, Diane Wallach, whose generous and exhaustive philanthropic work is well known.
Charlie will be tied to the history of our family for generations; he will be tied to the Hall of Fame for the history of aviation. Charlie Gates will be, forever, in the hearts and minds of so many that he touched.