Obit: Fritz, Earl B. (1919? - 1942)
Contact: Sandy (Safemaster) Seiler
Surnames: Fritz, Kaduce, Hotchkiss, Graham, Doonan, Sorenson, Hansen, Peterson, Cattanach, Kaduce, Smith, Nottebaert, Kaduce, Eddy, Lohr, Beck
----Source: OWEN ENTERPRISE (Owen, Clark Co., Wis.) 02/12/1942
Fritz, Earl B. (1919? - 09 FEB 1942)
Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Fritz received word at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday that their son, Earl B. Fritz, 23, was missing in action from his base at Luke Field, Phoenix, Ariz., which was followed by a message that evening that their son had been killed in a plane accident.
This is the first casualty among the many Owen youths serving in the various branches of the military services.
Fritz was on a routine training night flight Monday from Phoenix, Ariz., to El Paso, Tex., when his flight encountered a blinding rain storm and several ships became lost.
The flight was being made by ships flying in regular formations of threes each being headed by a flight instructor. Several ships were lost from the formation and five crashed. Three other pilots were killed and the fifth parachuted to safety. Fritz crashed at Hachita, N.M.
Earl was graduated from the Owen high school in 1936 where he attained high scholastic honors and made a brilliant showing in athletics, having starred in basketball and baseball and was named on two all-conference football teams.
Upon graduating he enrolled in a CCC camp where he spent nine months and then enrolled at the Whitewater Teachers college, where he continued to excel in his studies and athletics.
In his junior year he had the highest scholastic standings in his class and reigned as prom king. He played three years on the football team and was twice named on the all conference team at end position.
After graduating this spring he spent several months at the home of his parents and played with the city baseball team and in the kittenball league.
Earl enlisted in the army air corp on August 23, 1941, and spent his first ten weeks of primary training at Tulare Field, Calif., and was then transferred to Gardner Field at Taft, Calif. A month ago he was transferred to Luke Field, Ariz., for his advanced training.
Shortly before his transfer he was in an auto accident while riding with a friend enroute to Tulare, Calif., to visit a former instructor and their car was side-swiped and rolled over five times, finally landing on its top. Neither Fritz nor his companion received the slightest injury.
He would have received his "wings" on March 6 and had already ordered his uniform.
It is with a saddened heart that friends at home think of his death as he had been doing remarkably well in his training, having often been cited for class achievements and recently made a non-commissioned Lieutenant in recognition of them. It is with the deepest sincerity that the residents of this community extend their sympathies to the family.
The others reported missing were Fay Edward Books, 23, Sterling, Ill., whose plane was found with Fritz’s; and Walter S. Beamer, 28, Lansing, Mich.; and Charlie B. Coates, 24, Lubbock, Tex.; who were not found until late Tuesday afternoon. Thomas A. Bohr, Columbus, Ohio, parachuted to safety.
(Follow on in 02/19/1942 Owen Enterprise)
Cadet Earl B. Fritz, 23, son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Fritz, Owen, who lost his life in a plane crash at Hachita, N.M., Monday, Feb. 9, while serving in the United States Air Corp was laid in his final resting place on Tuesday afternoon at Riverside cemetery.
The services were conducted from the Congregational church with Rev. W. A. Hotchkiss officiating and at the cemetery a Military Memorial service was held with Service Officer R. C. Graham of the Van Huizen post of Owen, delivering the Memorial address.
Pallbearers at the service were Legionnaires W. K. Doonan, Julius Sorenson, Walter Hansen, Sam Peterson and James and Robert Cattanach of the United States Navy.
Earl Fritz was born at his parent’s farm home northeast of the city. He received his grade and high school education in Owen and continued his schooling at the Whitewater State Teachers college from where he was graduated last spring. He enlisted in the United States Air Corp in June and had been accepted and in active training since August 23, 1941.
Throughout all of his schooling he had been a fine student and all around fellow. His scholastic and athletic records in high school and college are both outstanding. He continued to perform his duties in studying and discipline in his Air Corp Training and had received many fine merits in recognition of them.
Earl’s death came as a shock to the community as it brought the realties of war just that much closer to the community. Those who survive him and mourn his death are his parents, two sisters, Mrs. George Kaduce of Alexandria, Ia., and Mrs. Jens Smith of Owen, and three brothers, Elton, Lorraine, and Allan.
Those from away that were able to attend the service were Captain Harry C. Nottebaert, Briggs Field, El Paso, Tex., who accompanied the body to Owen; Mr. and Mrs. George Kaduce of Alexandria, Ia.; Mr. and Mrs. L. B. Eddy and family of Swaledale, Ia.; Miss Violet Lohr of Prairie du Sac; and John Beck of Whitewater.
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