SUN CITY CENTER — Maybe it was something in his DNA that gave Charles Alderman his love for Hillsborough County and for an adventurous lifestyle.
He was from true pioneer stock. His family lived in this area since the middle of the 19th century, when Hillsborough County was almost wilderness, his son Lance Alderman said. His great-great-grandfather, after whom Alderman's Ford Park in Lithia is named, was a cattleman who settled on the Alafia River in 1848.
Mr. Alderman always loved the outdoors, and he chose careers that would let him be outside, on the road and at the same time serve Hillsborough County. He worked for years as a deputy with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, then spent 23 years with the Tampa Fire Department.
"You couldn't tie him down," his son said. "He liked being outdoors, and he didn't mind the danger of those jobs. He did his duty, and he didn't shirk. I can never remember my dad being afraid of anything."
Mr. Alderman died April 25 of lung cancer, which was diagnosed just four days before his death. He was 79.
He lived virtually his entire life in Tampa and Hillsborough County. The only time he left was when he joined the Air Force not long after graduating from Hillsborough High School. He served as a radio operator in a mobile unit in Korea, his son said. His unit would build air fields on newly captured strategic land.
"He loved the show M*A*S*H because of the camaraderie among the people living in that kind of situation," his son said.
Mr. Alderman returned to Tampa right after the war and married Tanya De La Torre, who worked in his dentist's office downtown. They were married 53 years until his death.
He chose to work in law enforcement, his son said, because it allowed him to provide for his family without working a conventional 9-to-5 job in an office or a factory. He chose the Sheriff's Office over the Tampa Police Department because he figured he'd be able to spend more time outdoors and on the open road.
He worked first as a motorcycle deputy and later as a detective. He later moved to the Fire Department, from which he retired as a captain.
"His family was important to him, but money never was," Lance Alderman said. "He was a blue-collar guy, and he was always very proud of that. In fact, he was even uncomfortable any time anyone called him 'mister.' "
Besides his son Lance, Mr. Alderman is survived by his wife, Tanya De La Torre Alderman, his son Kirk, his daughter Luana Pullaro and five grandchildren.
Marty Clear writes life stories about area residents who have recently passed away. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.