Obit Charles Tarr  401st BG

By: Donald Byers
On: 09/03/2002
A memorial service will be held Wednesday for Charles Tarr, a highly decorated Air Force navigator and generous Las Vegas businessman who was known as "Mr. Anonymous."
      He died Dec. 31 at age 84.
      He was born in 1915 in Kiev, which is now the capital of the Ukraine, and at 2 years old immigrated with his parents to Philadelphia.
      According to his longtime friend Jerry Engel, Tarr dropped out of school in the seventh grade to work in his father's butcher shop. He often said, "Where else but in American can an immigrant dropout get the opportunity to succeed in business?"
      He enlisted in the Air Force in 1942 and flew in 42 combat missions over such German cities as Dresden, Nuremberg, Cologne and Berlin. As a B-17 navigator, he received several medals including the Distinguished Flying Cross. He went on to become a celestial navigation instructor for the Air Force after World War II.
      His war stories were about bullet holes in airplanes and saving lives, Engel said. "He was a hero when I met him, and he was a hero when he died. He was a real, beautiful human being."
      Tarr started his first business in Las Vegas, Charlie Tarr's Scooter Sales, in 1950. He later established a printing firm, Addressing & Mailing Inc., which he operated for 34 years.
      He was described once by a newspaper columnist as "Mr. Anonymous," because he avoided publicity about his charitable works, saying he didn't need the acknowledgment but was just happy that he could help.
      He made contributions to various churches, schools and organizations, and received a proclamation from Clark County commissioners on his 75th birthday. That citation recognized him as a "living testament to the true meaning of good will and compassion to human beings."
      Engel said, "He never looked for publicity. He just loved helping people. He was Mr. Anonymous to the day he died, leaving most of his estate to various charities."
      He was a member of the Civil Air Patrol, Senior Squadron; the Charles T. Kandel Post of the Jewish War Veterans; Elks Lodge No. 1468; and the Host Lions Club. He was honored with the club's National Melvin Jones Fellow Award.
      He was also a founding member of the American Air Museum in Great Britain, and a life member of the Mighty 8th Air Force Heritage Center, and the 401st Bombardment Group.
      He is survived by his daughter, Barbara, of Las Vegas; two grandsons; and three great-grandchildren