Charles Hirsch

Charles Olaf Hirsch

1927 - 2023

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Obituary of Charles Olaf Hirsch

CHARLES OLAF HIRSCH OBITUARY CHARLOTTE, NC – Lt. Col. (Retired U.S. Air Force) Charles Olaf Hirsch, age 95, husband of 54 years to Josephine Thagard Hirsch, died comfortably with his daughter, Jolee Fennebresque, by his side on Saturday, May 6, 2023, in Charlotte. Raised in Port Arthur, Texas, the son of the late Leo Leon Hirsch and Bertha Katrina Jacobsen Hirsch, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1950, received an M.S. in electrical engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from George Washington University. An exceptional performance at the USNA launched a career with the U.S. Air Force working on advanced information systems. He served as Chief, Data Automation Division, in Vietnam and was awarded the Presidential Bronze Star Medal for successfully launching interconnected network information systems. He led a collaboration with IBM to develop software supporting a massive Air Force supply chain program. He also exceled as an educator, including as Deputy Director at the Air University Institute. As a Military Aide at the White House with the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, his duties included supporting the Social Office with Presidential functions. As the senior Aide on duty following the death of President Kennedy, he presided over a protocol meeting with the Chief Justice, Vice President, Speaker of the House, Senate Majority Leader, and Joint Chiefs of Staff. During this period, he lived at the legendary “Glass House,” known for its great, imaginative parties hosted by Military Aides. Charlie retired from the military in 1975 to focus on family, Navy football (he attended games until he was 93), and his civilian career as a defense systems contractor. He and Jo moved to Charlotte in 2004 prior to the imminent arrival of their first grandchild. Charlie loved his family, his lifelong Glass House friends, his Texas roots, and Navy football. Surviving in addition to his devoted wife, Jo, are two daughters, Josephine Lee Hirsch Fennebresque and husband John Clark Fennebresque, Jr. of Charlotte and Preuit Katrina Hirsch of Washington, DC; three grandchildren, Margaret Drouet Fennebresque, Peyton Babcock Rauser and William Thagard Rauser; and much-loved nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by two brothers, Leo Leon Hirsch, Jr. and Dr. Teddy James Hirsch. To those who knew him, he leaves a cherished memory of tenderness, courage, patriotism, and integrity. A Memorial Service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, June 5, 2023 at Christ Episcopal Church in Charlotte. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Memory of Charles O. Hirsch for the Naval Academy Fund addressed to the Director of Gift Administration, U.S. Naval Academy Foundation, 274 Wood Road, Annapolis, Maryland 21402 or online at in tribute. Online condolences may be made at
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We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Hankins and Whittington Funeral Services