Karl Henry Kertz – 1996 Inductee

Karl Henry Kertz was born on September 1, 1921, the only child born to Louis and Emilie Kertz. Ten years later he moved with his parents to Oakley, Kansas, where he attended school until he transferred to Natoma High School in Natoma, Osborne County, Kansas, in 1937, shortly after the death of his parents, making his home with his aunt, Mrs. Wilhelm Kertz.  In 1939 he graduated from Natoma High School and entered Fort Hays State University.  On July 15, 1942, he enlisted as an apprentice seaman in the U.S. Naval Reserve, serving in the South Atlantic and in various Pacific campaigns.  He remained on inactive duty until February 10, 1955, when he resigned his commission as Lieutenant (JG) from the Supply Corps of the U.S.N.R.

On June 1, 1947, he married Louise C. Moore of Hays at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Hays.   They had three children, David, Deborah, and Dorothea.  Shortly after returning home from the service Karl was approached by John Dukewits, who operated the Ford dealership in Natoma with his brother Paul.  Karl and another returning veteran, Ernest John, were offered jobs in the company.  In August of 1946 the four men formed a partnership known as Dukewits Motor Co.  It consisted of the Ford Agency, sales and service, Phillips 66 Service Station and Gleaner Combine sales and service.

In July, 1959, a totally unexpected position of postmaster for the Natoma Post Office was offered to Karl.  He served in this position until his retirement on November 1, 1985.  Karl served two terms on the Natoma School Board (1951-57) and when school laws demanded a separate school district treasurer, he very capably held that position for twenty years.

Karl was a faithful and active member of the Natoma Lions Club since October 1961, serving as president in 1966 and 1967, and as secretary-treasurer from 1978 until 1996.  He also held various other offices (First Vice-President, Second Vice-President, Director, and Tail-Twister).  When he joined the Lions Club, his sponsor was Phillip Thomas; Karl subsequently sponsored 19 members.  He was 100% secretary six times (this means all his reports, etc. were in) and he had thirty-four 100% attendance pins; and at the time of his death he was just short of eligibility for his 35-year Monarch pin.  This surely tells us he hardly ever missed a meeting!

In October of 1984 a group of interested citizens met to see if it would be feasible to remodel the vacant Welling Theater and use it for a community center.  Karl and Louise were at the first meeting and each one thereafter.  Karl willingly took on the “sometimes frustrating” task of scheduling all events and reservations for the center, and also served on the board from that first meeting.  The Kertz family were members of Peace Lutheran Church in Natoma.  Gathering information from the church secretary, it was no surprise to learn that from 1948 until his death, Karl held some kind of office in the church – he spent many years as elder, treasurer and secretary, Sunday School Superintendent, and also on the Board of Missions.  He was also active with the Natoma Senior Center.

Karl Kertz died at his home in Natoma on June 30, 1996, of cancer, and was laid to rest in the Peace Lutheran Cemetery at Natoma.

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