Obit: Klay, Chris Jr. #2 (1923? - 1946)

Contact: Stan
Email: stan@wiclarkcountyhistory.org

Surnames: Klay, Waldhardt, Mertens

----Source: OWEN ENTERPRISE (Owen, Clark County, Wis.) 10/10/1946

Klay, Chris Jr. #2 (1923? - 10 OCT 1946)

An airplane crash late this afternoon at 4:40 p.m. took the lives of Chris Klay, Jr., 23, son of Mr. and Mrs. Chris Klay of Withee (Clark Co., Wis.), and Galen Waldhardt, 24, son of Mr. and Mrs. Chris Waldhardt of Stetsonville.

Waldhardt, a pilot, and Klay, a mechanic, had just returned on a flight from St. Louis, Mo., to Abbotsford-Colby airport and had circled north as far as Dorchester to enable Waldhardt to circle his home, thereby notifying his wife of their return and summons her to the airport to meet them.

Witnesses say that while circling the house, the plane, a PT-23 (Army primary trainer, manufactured by Fairchild) lost its flying speed and crashed from a height of about three hundred feet, nose first.

The bodies of the two young men were badly mangled and true identity was made by Johnny Gusiak, close friend of the two youths, of Abbotsford, Wis.

Both Klay and Waldhardt were employees of the Peters Airport at Abbotsford and had ferried the plane back from St. Louis for Steve Marsh, an employee of the Western Condensing Co., who had recently purchased it.

Chris Klay was a graduate of the Owen High School and an exceptionally good football player during his high school days. He graduated with the class of 1941. During the war years he received his mechanical training while an employee of the Boeing Aircraft Corp. at Seattle, Wash.

Waldhardt was discharged from the U.S. Army a 2nd Lt. in December, where he had received his pilot’s training. Two years ago he married Magdalen Mertens of Dorchester (Clark Co.), and it was on their farm home just west of the village of Dorchester that the crash occurred.

Chris Klay is unmarried, while Waldhardt was the father of two small children.

 

 


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