Charles "Captain Charlie" Leary Roughton

Sunday, February 26th, 1939 - Saturday, February 22nd, 2020
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Charles “Captain Charlie” Roughton

Mr. Charles Leary Roughton, “Captain Charlie,” 80, of Chesapeake died Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, following a prolonged battle with colon cancer. He was born in Gum Neck, N.C., to parents Benjamin Franklin Roughton and Annie Mae Davenport. He grew up in Tyrrell County, N.C., Norfolk, Va., and Camden, N.C., graduating from Camden High School in 1958. He began working for Curtis Bay Towing as a teenager before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force in 1960, where he served as a Flight Electrician and received an honorable discharge in 1962. After leaving the Air Force, he began a maritime career spanning more than four decades. In 1987, he founded, with six fellow harbor pilots, Independent Docking Pilots Inc., a successful partnership of harbor pilots serving the entire Port of Virginia today. Among many highlights of his career was the technically demanding movement of the historic S.S. United States from a Newport News pier where she had been moored for 23 years. He retired from the maritime industry in 2007 but remained a source of wisdom and guidance for pilots operating in Hampton Roads.

Charles met his wife of 57 years, Karen Rae Larson, while serving in the Air Force and they married at Plattsburgh Air Force Base in New York. Soon after marrying, they established their household in Norfolk, Va., before settling in the Great Bridge area of Chesapeake where they would reside for the rest of his life. They had two children, Charles Eric “Eric” of Portsmouth, Va., and Army Staff Sgt. Alan Michael Roughton, and wife Beth and daughter Anslie, of Newport News, Va. The Roughton household was the frequent location for family gatherings for reunions and holidays where his numerous family members and friends knew him as “Uncle Leary,” “Uncle Buck,” “Chuck,” “Charlie,” “Leary,” “Captain Charlie,” or simply “Dad”.

Mr. Roughton was an active member of American Legion Post 280 in Great Bridge where he occasionally served as an officer and was a frequent participant in all sorts of card games. He and Karen also developed a love of traveling that took them to the Bahamas, Acapulco, and Las Vegas among other destinations.

In addition to his wife, sons and granddaughter, Charles is survived by two sisters, Patricia Bledsoe of the Bristol, Tenn., area, and Marie Dykes of Chesapeake, Va., and sister-in-law Frances Roughton of Chesapeake, Va. He is also survived by mother-in-law Billye Larson of Chesapeake, Va., and numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents and 14 brothers and sisters.

A service to celebrate his life will be held on Saturday, February 29, 2020 at 2pm at Graham Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 1112 Kempsville Road, Chesapeake. The family will receive friends an hour prior to services. Burial with Military Honors will follow at Greenlawn Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers, donations can made to the American Legion Post 280 or the American Cancer Society. Please visit his Book of Memories at where you may view the service if unable to attend or leave a note to the family.
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  • Visitation

    Saturday, February 29th, 2020 | 1:00pm - 2:00pm
    Saturday, February 29th, 2020 1:00pm - 2:00pm
    Graham Funeral Home
    1112 Kempsville Road
    Chesapeake, VA 23320
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Saturday, February 29th, 2020 | 2:00pm
    Saturday, February 29th, 2020 2:00pm
    Graham Funeral Home
    1112 Kempsville Road
    Chesapeake, VA 23320
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    Greenlawn Memorial Gardens
    3920 Airline Blvd
    Chesapeake, Virginia 23321
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Roxanne Jackson

Posted at 08:44pm
Karen and Family !
Leary was a special Man and he was always picking on me and Pam ! Ann loved him and knew you’ll would take care of Pam after her death ! Prayers for you’ll as you go through these difficult days ! Love to you all.
Roxanne Jackson

Tyler Moore

Posted at 06:01pm
Charlie taught me so much about ship docking, not only how to do it right, but how to own it when things didn't turn out well. I will always remember how tough he was AND how much he cared. Things I aspire to.


Posted at 04:35pm
Charlie and I shared country music we liked the oldies he made me a mixed cd that I still love to listen too.We tried to listen to it at the legion but everyone said it was to sad.I wished I had gone to visit him. He and Karen came to visit tip at rehab and we are both happy that we saw him he looked very good,tip and I will miss him.
Theresa and Richard Tipton

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