Charley Otto Aars, 60, passed from this earthly life to his divine, eternal life at his home in the Norse Community on July 14, 2020. Graveside services were held Friday, July 17, 2020, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Cemetery at Norse. Visitation was held Thursday, July 16, 2020, at Clifton Funeral Home.
Charlie was born November 8, 1959, to C. Pernell and Rosalie Rueter Aars and was named in honor of his grandfathers, Charlie Aars and Otto Rueter.
A man of contrasts, he had roots buried deeply in the black soil of Bosque County, and a successful career flying high in the blue sky above the clouds. He was the first member of his family ever to become and pursue a career as a commercial airline pilot. While simultaneously, he was also a fourth generation Bosque County farmer. In fact, all four sets of his great grandparents had been immigrant farmers. His Aars and Hoel families came from Norway, and his Rueter and Knust families came from Germany. Charley was fiercely proud of those roots.
He grew up on the family farm west of Clifton and was a lifetime member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church where he was baptized, confirmed, married, and finally laid to rest. While still a youngster, his interest in aviation sprang from his fascination with watching the crop dusters his dad contracted to spray the grain fields. Upon graduation from Clifton High School in 1978 he enrolled in Texas State Technological Institute studying to become an aviator. He graduated from American Technical University in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science Degree and immediately began his aviation career as an instructor pilot at Texas Aero in Waco. What quickly followed was a succession of increasingly responsible flying positions in the commercial aviation industry beginning with Chaparral Airlines based in Abilene. That soon led to his selection as a flight engineer on 727 trijets with Republic Airlines headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. From there he moved up the career ladder to first officer and then to Captain in 1997. In the meantime, Republic was acquired by Northwest Airlines. And then Northwest was acquired by Delta Airlines.
He retired from his commercial aviation career in 2017 as a tenured pilot with Delta having logged more than 26,000 hours flying jet aircraft, culminating with the sleek Airbus A320. But his flying days were not over. Almost immediately, he purchased a Piper Lance which he selected because it was large enough to accommodate his whole family, thus combining his love of flying and love of family. In 2019, he was called upon to work part-time for Myatt Fuels. He enjoyed interacting with the customers and the camaraderie he shared with the owner and the employees.
He was known for being able to drive almost anything, beginning with the minibike his parents gave him for his eighth birthday. Soon he was helping on the farm driving the family’s 1949 Allis Chalmers WD tractor. Eventually he would purchase his own larger and larger tractors as well as other farm equipment and even a bulldozer. He liked to quip that some people collect stamps, others coins, but he collected water in stock ponds he dug with that bulldozer. In 1983, he married the love of his life and former high school sweetheart, Lauri Carol Pitts. As their family began to grow, Charley and Lauri purchased a part of the family farm for their permanent home. Not surprisingly, Charley drove the bulldozer flattening the plot for the new house and was handson engaged in every facet of its construction, including wiring in the electrical circuitry. Thus, began their life as a farm family. Their three sons, Andrew Charley, Eric James, and Thomas Aaron followed in their father’s farm boy footsteps helping with farming chores. While Charley was away on flying duties, Lauri cared for the family and kept them all focused on growing into responsible young men.
Charley was fond of joking that he was a “sport farmer,” and that he flew commercial jets to support his farming habit. He loved farming and mastering all the diverse skills that it took to be successful at it. His mother lovingly said that Charley was born with dirt under his fingernails. Such was his total commitment to the profession. He was likewise committed to his church and community. As a lifelong member of Our Savior’s, he served in many capacities including being president of the Men’s Club and maintenance coordinator of the Cemetery Committee. Like his father before him, Charley was a dedicated member of the Bosque Hay Show where he was particularly key in raising money for the dozens of college scholarships the organization awards annually to high school graduating seniors. He was a lifelong member of the Aircraft Owners And Pilots Association and member of the Neils Creek Wildlife Association, and the Bosque County Antique Tractor Club. He took special pride in driving that old Allis Chalmers WD in competitive tractor pulls.
Preceding him into eternal life were his parents, Pernell and Rosalie Aars, and his grandparents Otto and Ottilie Knust Rueter and Charlie and Alma Hoel Aars.
Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 37 years, Lauri Aars and their three sons: Andrew Aars and wife Desiree of Godley, Eric Aars and wife Laramie of Clifton, and Thomas Aars of Sentinel, Oklahoma. Plus, one grandson, Eric and Laramie’s baby, Kettler Aars. Also, his brother and family: Rallin and Barbara Aars of DeSoto; Dr. Christian Aars of Plano; James and Kristina Aars and their children Ellie, William and Joshua of Lakeville, Minnesota; and Michael and Allison Aars and their sons Isaiah and Samuel of Clifton. And Lauri’s brother and family: Barry and Jamie Pitts of Clifton; Hunter Pitts of Hewitt; and Fisher Pitts of Stephenville; mother and father-in-law Carol Ann and James Pitts of Clifton.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial gifts be contributed to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church or Cemetery (152 CR 4145, Clifton, Texas 76634) or to the donors’ choice of charitable causes.