Charles Lester McClellan was the second child of Lester and Eunice. He was born on April 13, 1936 in John Sealy Hospital, Santa Anna TX. At the time, the Lester McClellan family lived in a farmhouse on the Ballard Farm in Anderson Community, Coleman County. He attended the University of Texas, earning a baccalaureate degree in art and a high rank in the ROTC.

After college, Charles joined the US Air Force, where he became a C-130E/H Aircraft Commander and Squadron Resource Manager. He retired as a Major in the USAF in 1978 after 20 years of meritorious service.

Charles married JoAnn Dunn in July 1954, and their family grew to four children: Martha Jan, Charles Lester, Lorie Gail, and Robb Allen.