My Grandpa: Charles M. Daniels Jr., A Biography

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Photo by David Fulmer from Pittsburgh

Photo by David Fulmer from Pittsburgh

Charles Maynard Daniels Junior was born on July 23, 1923 in Indianola, Pennsylvania, a small mining town in the Allegheny River Basin.  He was the only child of parents Charles M Daniels and Cecelia Elizabeth Perrin, both natives of Cuddy, PA.  When he was about two years old, the family moved to Bridgeville, PA (a town that could only be entered by crossing a bridge) about 12 miles west-south-west of Pittsburgh, PA.  He graduated there from South Fayette Township High School in 1941 and was the valedictorian of his class.  He also won a competitive state senatorial exam, the prize of which was a four year scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh.

5afHe matriculated at the university in September of 1941 with a mechanical engineering major and also joined their Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program.  In June 1943, his ROTC class was called to active duty and he shortly thereafter attending the USAAF officer candidate school in April 1944 as a 2nd Lieutenant in the USAAF.  He served as an engineering officer in both the zone of Interior and with the Fifth Air Force in the Far East Pacific theaters.  During this period he also graduated from the Pratt & Whitney Army-Navy Aircraft Engine school in Hartford, Connecticut.

He was separated from the military service in September 1946 as a 1st Lieutenant, after separation he returned to the University of Pittsburgh to complete his studies under the GI Bill, including earning a pilots license and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (aero option)degree and Sigma Tau Society honors in 1947  He remained in the Army reserves until 1950.


He began his working career after graduation at Goodyear Aircraft Corporation, Akron Ohio and while there met and married Ohio native Novella Ruth Mills in 1949. In 1949-1950, while on leave of absence, he attended the University of Southern California and graduated in September 1950 with a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree.  He returned to Goodyear until December of 1951 at which time he joined North American Aviation (NAA) Incorporated in the Los Angles area.

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Thereafter he remained with the Rocketdyne division of NAA for 35 years, 30 of which were in supervisory and management positions.  He retired in January 1986 and moved from Woodland Hills to the Rancho Bernardo area of San Diego.

He is the father of two children, Denise Daniels Hogan and Charles M Daniels III, the grandfather of Heather Hogan Vander Mei and Jonathan Patrick Hogan, and the Great Grandfather of Novella Skye Vander Mei and Banyan Vander Mei.

In retirement he and wife, Novella, traveled the US and the world extensively, visiting 48 countries in all six continents.  Accumulating over 1,000,000 miles in flying while attending numerous air races, air shows, air museums, air libraries, military museums, and military reunions.  During this period he accumulated over 30,000 photos of these historic events and aircraft which were donated to the San Diego air and Space Museum Library in 2012.  These photos are in the process of being digitized by the library and may be viewed on the internet on Flickr.  He also wrote and published over 50 articles on historical aviation and aircraft subjects in various aviation periodicals.  In addition he published over 50 technical articles in magazines and society journals during his working career.

He and his very patient and loving wife have been married for over 64 years.

7 thoughts on “My Grandpa: Charles M. Daniels Jr., A Biography

  1. Barb Mitchell Wilson says:

    Loved reading the bio. I was aware of some of the info and maybe knew some of it when Chuck and Aunt Novella were married but what does a teenager try to remember . Glad to have read such a well done review. Thanks.

  2. Conor Walshe says:

    Hello Heather,
    I’ve had the pleasure to tracking down some of your grandfathers research. He lived in a great era of engineering and I’m glad to be able to pull on some of his works.
    All my best

  3. Conor Walshe says:

    Hello Heather,
    I was just reading one of the Grandfathers articles today and decided to check in on your site. I’m glad you received my comment above. I’ve been able to track down several of his works (one took me all around the country only to find it it the archives of the Los Angeles Central Library down the road). Sadly I am missing some of his works and all should be available by now. Do you know of any place that houses his works?
    Thank you for you time.
    All my best

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