Obit: Klay, Christ Ardell (1923 - 1946)

Contact: Linda Mertens

Surnames: Boxrucker, Crosby, Erlei, Hanson, Heinrichs, Hemberger, Herman, Janke, Klay, Kronberger, Kronschnabl, Mertens, Peters, Pueschner, Rhyner, Schmid, Seidel, Skerbeck, Waldhart, Weller

----Source - Anna Johnson's Scrapbook

Christ Ardell Klay (16 May 1923 - 10 Oct 1946)

Military Funeral Held Monday for Galen K. Waldhart
Former Army Pilot And Companion (Christ A. Klay) Meet Tragedy Near End of Flight.

The Rev. Father Philip T. Weller was celebrant at a Requiem High Mass for Galen Waldhart, 23, who (along with Christ A. Klay) died in an airplane crash Thursday, at St. Louis Catholic church Monday (14 Oct 1946) at 9 a. m. An escort of ex-service men accorded the deceased military honors, and fired a salute over the grave in Dorchester Memorial cemetery. Pallbearers were Leon Erlei, Clifford Herman, Milton Kronschnabl, Arthur Seidel, Eugene Skerbeck and Eugene Pueschner.

Galen K. Waldhart was born July 12, 1923, at Stetsonville, a son of Mr. Christ S. and Mrs. Mathilda (Kronberger) Waldhart. He attended elementary school at Stetsonville, and was graduated from Medford high school in 1940. On Sept. 7, 1942, he and Miss Magdalen Mertens, daughter of Mr. Henry and Mrs. Elizabeth (Heinrichs) Mertens, Dorchester, were married in St. Louis Catholic church here.

He entered the army Dec. 5, 1943, and later became an air force cadet. He took pre-flight training at Santa Ana, Calif., primary training at Lancaster, Calif., and advanced training at Douglas, Ariz. He also received training at Galesburg, Ill. and Jefferson Barracks, Mo. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Army air forces Sept. 8, 1945, and discharged with that rank late in December of the same year.

Survivors include his widow Magdalen (Mertens) Waldhart, two daughters, Christine, 2½ years, and Gail, 3 months ; his parents, a brother, Duane, and two sisters, Mrs. Clarence (Marjorie) Boxrucker, and Ruth, all of Stetsonville, and his maternal grandmother, Mrs. Martha Janke Hemberger, Abbotsford.

Funeral services for Christ Ardell Klay were held at 2 p. m. Sunday (13 Oct 1946) from a funeral home at Owen, with the Rev. Kenneth Crosby officiating. Burial was in Riverside cemetery, Withee. He is survived by his parents Mr. Chris John & Mrs. Esther Ellen (Nellie) Hanson Klay, Withee, and two brothers and a sister.

Galen K. Waldhart and Christ Ardell Klay, Jr., 23, Withee, were instantly killed about 4:30 p. m. Oct. 10, when a plane they were ferrying from St. Louis, Mo., crashed in a field on the Anselm Schmid farm, a mile west of the village. Waldhart, a former army pilot, was an instructor at the Colby-Abbotsford airport, and Klay was a mechanic at the same field. They had just returned from St. Louis with an army primary trainer which a Colby resident had purchased from a concern at St. Louis which deals in surplus army property.

The plane crashed a few rods north of the Schmid barn, almost directly across County Trunk A from where Mr. and Mrs. Waldhart and their two daughters made their home with Mrs. Waldhart's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Mertens. The craft dove nose first into the field, and the force of the impact buried the motor in the earth. The wings were demolished, and the cockpit was a mass of tangled wreckage.

Pete Peters, manager of the Colby Abbotsford airport, who made an investigation, said that Waldhart apparently was flying low over his wife's home at a low altitude and was making a steep, climbing turn when the plane stalled and crashed.



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