Charles Richard Combs, 74, died on Nov. 8, 2013, at his home in Martinsville, Va.
He was born on Nov. 7, 1939, in Binghamton, N.Y., a son of the late Emory E. and Mary R. Combs.
He graduated from Windsor High School in 1958 where he met his future wife, Glenda Belle White. They were married at St. Andrews in Binghamton, N.Y. on Nov. 12, 1960.
He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1962 and retired as a Lt. Commander in 1986. During his 24 years of active duty he served aboard the USS Constellation, USS St. Paul and the USS O'Bannon. His active duty tours also included being stationed in San Diego, Morocco, Alaska, Dominican Republic, Panama, Pensacola and Washington, D.C.
Among his many military decorations were the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Commendation and multiple recognitions for his service during the Vietnam War. He graduated with honors from the University of West Florida in 1982.
Upon retirement from active duty military service in 1986, he went on to teach Navy JROTC for a total of 19 years. The first 15 years were at Parkersburg High School in Parkersburg, and the last four years in Rota, Spain. Under his leadership, the Parkersburg High School Navy JROTC program was one of the most decorated programs and received numerous national and regional recognitions for their academic, drill and rifle performances. During his tenure of teaching, he served as a respected mentor to over one thousand high school students, many of whom followed his lead and went on to serve in our nation's armed forces.
Upon retiring from teaching he moved to Martinsville, Va.
He enjoyed travelling with his wife throughout the U.S., as well as Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia. He was a gifted craftsman and woodworker and he provided Spanish translation services to the local community's courts and law enforcement.
In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his two sisters, Patricia Combs Colonna and Margaret Ann "Peg" Combs Blackledge. He is survived by his beloved wife of 53 years, Glenda B. White Combs of the home; two daughters, Christina (Travis) Tisdale of Martinsville, Va., and Jenny Fluharty of Tuscola, Texas; a son, Dan (Jenny) Combs of Vienna, Va.; and eight grandchildren.
Family will receive visitors on Sunday, Nov. 10, from 2-4 p.m., at 1107 Country Club Drive, Martinsville, VA 24112. An inurnment, with full military honor, will be rendered at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
The family requests that gifts be made in his memory to Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative Care Center at 22099 Jeb Stuart Drive Stuart, VA 24171.
Norris Funeral Services, Inc. and Crematory, Martinsville, Va. is serving the Combs family.
Online condolences may be made at www.norrisfuneral.com