Cover photo for Charlie Harris's Obituary
Charlie Harris Profile Photo
1950 Charlie 2024

Charlie Harris

February 13, 1950 — January 29, 2024


Charles Edmund “Charlie” Harris passed from this life January 29, 2024 with his beloved wife, Sherry, by his side. He was 73 years old.

Born February 13, 1950, in Danville, Virginia, Charlie was the son of Garfield Harris, a farmer, and Eva Rakes Harris, a mill worker. Gifted in mathematics from a young age, he was the first member of his family to go to college and he earned all three degrees from Virginia Tech – a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering, a master’s degree in engineering mechanics and a PhD in engineering science and mechanics. In 2011 he was inducted into the Virginia Tech Academy of Engineering Excellence, which is the highest honor that can be bestowed.

Charlie taught at Texas A&M University but was recruited by NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, where he spent the rest of his career, ultimately leading research operations for the entire center. Notably, NASA granted Charlie an Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal for his role in the Space Shuttle Return to Flight initiative, which uncovered the root cause of the 2000 Columbia Space Shuttle explosion—work that enabled the resumption of the Space Shuttle program. In 2007 President George W. Bush conferred on him the rank of distinguished executive in the Senior Executive Service for sustained and extraordinary accomplishment.   

For all his accomplishments, Charlie was a kind, generous, approachable person who cared about everyone he met. A faithful member of Grace Episcopal Church in Brunswick, Charlie gave back to the community through involvement in local food banks and the Smoketown Rotary Club. When he wasn’t out in the community, he was often out on the trail for a day hike with buddies or at home in his favorite chair rooting on the Washington Nationals.

Charlie was a wonderful family man, a devoted and loving husband, father, and grandfather. He often said that his greatest accomplishment was his family.  

He is survived by Sherry, his wife of 51 years, as well as son Scott Harris, daughter Jennifer Bronson (husband Will Bronson), son Steven Harris, and granddaughters Caroline, Scarlett, and Audrey.

A memorial service is scheduled for February 10 at 11 a.m. at Grace Episcopal Church, 114 E A Street, Brunswick, Maryland.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to Grace Episcopal Church, 114 E A Street, Brunswick, Maryland.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Charlie Harris, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, February 10, 2024

11:00am - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Grace Episcopal Church

114 E A St, Brunswick, MD 21716

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