Longtime area resident Fred William Klatt, Jr. died Saturday, July 28, 2012, at his home in Cedar Hill, N.M. He was 92.
Mr. Klatt was born to Mary Lytle and Fred W. Klatt Sr., on March 3, 1920, in Montrose. The Klatt family moved to Durango in the 1920s, and Mr. Klatt graduated from Durango High School in 1938.
He attended Fort Lewis College at the old campus near Hesperus for two years. He played football, basketball and tennis at FLC.
Mr. Klatt enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1941. After graduation from the Cadet Program, while he was en route to his first posting in the Philippines, his transport ship departed from Honolulu on Dec. 5, 1941, two days before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He spent the balance of his overseas duty in the South Pacific, primarily in New Guinea, where he flew A-24 dive bombers and A-20 Havoc twin-engine attack aircraft. Mr. Klatt flew 39 missions and was awarded several medals and commendations, including the Silver Star, before contracting malaria. He left the service with the rank of major in the reserves in 1947.
On June 21, 1943, he married Margaret Rutledge in Aztec.
After the war, Mr. Klatt became a partner in a flying service operating from Reservoir Hill, where FLC now stands. He trained more than 75 pilots under the G.I. Bill.
After selling his partnership, he became a ground-operations manager for Monarch Airlines, which later merged to form Frontier Airlines, in Monte Vista, Cortez and finally, Durango. He was with the airline until 1963, when he resigned to open Klatt Travel Inc.
Mr. Klatt retired in 1982, and the Klatts lived during the years in Durango, Yuma, Ariz., Vallecito, Dolores, and finally in New Mexico.
His son and daughter-in-law, Jené and Fred Klatt III, helped take care of him in his later years.
Mr. Klatt was preceded in death by his granddaughter Kim Klatt Titus.
He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Margaret Klatt, of Cedar Hill; son, former La Plata County Commissioner Fred W. Klatt III, of Cedar Hill; daughter, Marianne Windsor, of Bayfield; three grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A military ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, at the Veterans Memorial at Greenmount Cemetery. A remembrance celebration will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Veteran of Foreign Wars Post 4031, 1550 Main Ave.
Memorial contributions may be made to ALSAC St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 5575 DTC Parkway, Suite 145, Greenwood Village, CO 80111; or Disabled American Veterans, P.O. Box 3434, Durango, CO 81302.