Charles E. Allbaugh

NO. 17395  •  16 February 1927 - 23 October 1999

Died in Ft. Worth, TX 
Interred in West Point Post Cemetery, West Point, NY


Charles Edgar Allbaugh, better known as "Ed," was the only Allbaugh to have ever graduated from West Point. He was born the youngest of four children in Richland, KS, a small town just south of Topeka.

Like his father, he was a farmer, but at the tender age of 12, Ed read an article about West Point in a magazine. From that moment, and with no other West Point association of family or friends, it became his passion to join the Long Gray Line.

After graduating from high school, Ed still needed a nomination, but since the United States was still at war, he enlisted in the Navy. He was sent to the Navy Preparatory School in Bainbridge, MD. When it was time to take a state senatorial exam, Ed scored high enough to receive two nominations: one to Annapolis and the other to West Point. He chose West Point and became a member of the Class of '50.

Ed came to West Point with two years of academic seasoning, and excelled in academics and athletics. As a plebe, his fame spread throughout the Corps as the man who could achieve the more‑than‑perfect brace‑ramrod straight from the back of his head to his heels, chest fully expanded, and chin pulled in to such a degree that he was known, when bracing, as "the man with no chin at all." Many classmates suffered by comparison when urged by the upperclassmen to emulate Ed's posture.

Academically, Ed was a pacesetter, standing high in his class all four years and graduating well inside the top ten percent. A well‑rounded athlete, he participated in corps squad boxing and cross‑country, and was a standout in his company in intramural competition. Militarily, he ranked number two in his company as a first classman. The respect his classmates had for him is evident in his election as company representative to the Honor Committee for his last two years at the Point.

Upon graduation from West Point, Ed elected to enter the Air Force and was assigned to Perrin Air Force Base, TX. Anyone from the class who chose the Air Force needed to physically qualify for pilot training. Unfortunately, for both him and the Air Force, he was disqualified prior to soloing. The Korean War had broken out while Ed was on graduation leave. Looking with disfavor on an Air Force career as a non‑pilot, Ed went to Washington to convince the Air Force and the Army that he should be transferred from the former to the latter. Unfortunately for the Army, he was unable to bring it off. The Air Force assigned him to special‑weapons training, which he performed with dedication and excellence for the rest of his Air Force career. Although CPT Allbaugh resigned from the Air Force in 1957, Ed thought his military service was a great experience.

Ed met Leni on a blind date in January during First Class year and dated her through June week but broke up due to religious differences. Nevertheless, they stayed in touch. After his tour at Parrin Air Force Base, he returned to New York and renewed her acquaintance. They were married in March 1951, and had three daughters: Sandy (1954), Robin (1957), and Patti (1959). Sandy graduated magna cum laude from the University of West Virginia. Robin was a cheerleader and a world‑class swimmer during her high‑school years, competing in the AAU Swimming Nationals. After graduating from the University of Northern Colorado, Robin married and gave birth to Ed's first grandchild in July 1979. Their youngest, Patti, was a cheerleader, figure skater, and a member of her high school band. She graduated in 1980 from the University of Georgia with a degree in business administration. Leni and Ed, meanwhile, became avid square and round dancers, traveling distances on weekends to dance at large affairs.

After resigning from the Air Force, Ed became a senior construction engineer for Bettis Atomic Power Lab of Westinghouse in Pittsburgh, a part of the U.S. Navy nuclear program. Under the umbrella of Admiral Hyman Rickover, he worked on aircraft carriers Enterprise and Nimitz, the cruiser Long Beach, and various Polaris‑type submarines. After several other assignments with Westinghouse, Ed and family returned to Pittsburgh in 1978, where Ed became involved with the procurement of nuclear power equipment for the Nuclear Service Division. In 1982, Ed switched to civilian reactors, working on the completion of units one and two of the Comanche Peak reactors in Glen Rose, TX.

In 1986, the first of two tragedies hit Ed and Leni. They lost their youngest daughter Patti, then 26, to a malignant brain tumor. Only those who have lost children in the prime of their life can understand the anguish parents suffer. Patti was buried at West Point. In Ed's words, they "remained strengthened by the embodied memories of classmates and the privilege of four years at West Point."

In 1987, Ed formally retired. When he was working as a consultant for Texas Utilities, he had his first bout with cancer. After a year of treatment and several years in remission, Leni and Ed thought that he had it licked. But it recurred early in 1999 and Ed was given ten months to live. Ed and Leni made it to the 45th reunion in 1995, and it was Ed's great desire to live to make the 50th in 2000. But that was not God's will.

Ed was the best example of a devoted husband, beloved father to his three children, and doting grandfather to two granddaughters and one grandson. Ed and Leni spent 48 and a half years together and will be remembered for the love they shared and their devotion to their children. Ed always had a positive attitude and served with distinction both in and out of the service. The key to Ed's life was service, and he will be missed by all his company mates and classmates in the Class of '50.

Ed now rests with his youngest daughter at West Point, where his heart and soul were rooted from his early youth to his final hour. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. May they rest in peace.