Laurence Walter Ketteler (1933 - 2019)

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Service Information
Memorial service
Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020
10:00 AM
Evergreen Memorial Gardens
Vancouver, WA
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September 5, 1933 ˜ December 30, 2019

Laurence Walter Ketteler, 86, of Battle Ground, WA, passed away Mon., Dec. 30, 2019, at Legacy Hospital Salmon Creek in Vancouver, WA. He was born in Ripon, WI, and raised on a farm with three older sisters. In high school, he played football and was a member of Future Farmers of America.
Larry attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison on an ROTC scholarship and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture. Once while working on campus and waiting for a paycheck, he survived on popcorn and milk from the campus dairy barn.
Upon graduation in 1956, Larry married Sarah Price and entered the Air Force as a second lieutenant. He was stationed at bases in Florida and Texas, living in a small trailer with Sarah and their two toddlers.
In 1957, Larry was certified to fly single-engine jets as a fighter pilot in Laredo, TX. He was also awarded Continental Air Command as a crew member of C-119 aircraft after reaching 1000 hours of flight time.
After fulfilling his ROTC service commitment, Larry continued to fly with the Air Force Reserves from May 1963 until December 1976. He piloted C-130s and was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal as a Major, which recognized his service identifying problem areas in the field of Life Support Equipment.
Back in Wisconsin, Larry settled in Beaver Dam with his growing family and his father, Victor Ketteler. He managed a dairy farm and also worked in industrial management at the John Deere manufacturing plant in Horicon. In 1964, he purchased a farm down the road where the family produced field corn and lived until 1986. Knowledgeable in all things mechanical, Larry created an elaborate corn drying system, stacking two large dryers to speed the process. He also added steel sheds to store corn and trucked his own crops to the Port of Milwaukee. The family raised a variety of livestock, but primarily beef cattle, including the state’s first Brangus, a disease-resistant crossbreed of Angus and Brahma.
Larry was hired by United Air Lines in 1968 as a navigator on 727 aircraft. He captained 737s and moved to Washington State in 1986 to join 747 crews on United’s new Pacific routes to Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia and Japan.
Larry had a large garden and apple orchard at his home in Battle Ground. He loved to sing karaoke with a voice reminiscent of Frank Sinatra and charmed many over the decades, continuing to sing even in his final days.
In addition to his parents, Victor and Anna (Tetzlaff), Larry was preceded in death by his sisters, Mildred (Leonard) Zahn, Inez (Orrin) Gruetzmacher and Geraldine Pearl (Howard) Brookman, and his companion, Carolyn Howard.
He is survived by Sarah (Price) Ketteler, the mother of his four children, Lynne (Daniel) Tomanek, David Ketteler, Murray (Nancy) Ketteler and Gale Ketteler (Alan Brown); 10 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Survivors also include Dolores Leibee, his loving companion for the last 16 years and her children, Walter Perry, Shelly Talso and Sandy Skogstad, who all loved him as a father.
A memorial service will be held Sat., Jan. 18, 2020 at 10 a.m. at Evergreen Memorial Gardens in Vancouver, WA.
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Published in The Columbian on Jan. 12, 2020
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