Wilbur Charles ‘Charlie’ Pritchett

Wilbur Charles ‘Charlie’ Pritchett  Wilbur Charles “Charlie” Pritchett died unexpectedly of an aortic aneurysm on Oct. 18, 2012, in Ridgecrest.

A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 24, at 11 a.m. at the H.K. Holland Memorial Chapel, 216 S. Norma St., Ridgecrest.

Born in Junction City, Kans., in 1928, Charlie graduated from Junction City High School and then joined the Air Force with the desire of becoming a pilot. Imperfect vision kept that desire from being fulfilled, but he attended electronics school in Japan, which led to his vocation as an electronics technician. He viewed his career as battling the Cold War. After his military service, he worked for the Junction City Post Office for a year.

In 1952 Charlie moved to Tucson, Ariz., where he married Joann Locke and where their first son was born. In 1954 they moved to San Bernardino, where Charlie installed and serviced electronic equipment in aircraft at Norton Air Force Base. The ensuing two years and nine months saw the addition of four more children to their family — twin boys and two girls.

The Pritchett family moved to Ridgecrest in 1959. Charlie operated radar and video equipment on the test ranges of the Naval Weapons Center, providing instrumentation and documentation during weapons testing.

He had a great love of nature and cars, but above all he loved aviation. Two of his greatest experiences were touring the space shuttle Columbia and flying in a Zeppelin for his 80th birthday. He could be seen nearly every day sitting in the shade of his garage with his binoculars, waiting to see what aircraft might be operating or testing that day. He enjoyed going for walks once or twice a day.

Charlie considered his family to be his greatest accomplishment, and his children the pride of his life.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 60 years, Joann; his children, Ty Pritchett of Maryland, twins Harry Pritchett and wife Janet of Colorado and Burt Pritchett and wife Karla of Maryland, daughters Oma LaMothe of Washington and Janet Crosby of California; grandchildren Carey, Chris and Philip LaMothe, Roger and Marcy Crosby, and Andrea Pritchett; and great grandchildren Samantha Crosby and Miles LaMothe. He was predeceased by grandson Dustin LaMothe.

Submitted by the family of Charlie Pritchett

Story First Published: 2012-10-24