Donald Frank Betzer, Pilot Instructor, Comanche County, Kansas Hosted by RootsWeb, 
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"No man was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave." -- Calvin Coolidge

Donald Frank Betzer

Donald Frank Betzer Donald F. Betzer     "Donald, son of Wilford and Lucille Betzer, married June Blount, daughter of Clyde and Mary Blount, in September, 1942. He was a flying instructor in Wichita when his plane was hit from above by another plane and he was killed in the ensuing crash. -- Memorial Pages, Comanche County History. The Betzer family history is on pages 252 and 253.     (CCH,CCVM, DJHSP)


The Western Star, June 11, 1943.
Dies in Wichita Following Collision of Planes in Midair

Donald F. Betzer, well known Coldwater pilot and flight instructor in Wichita, died about 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 3, 1943, about an hour and a half after the plane in which he was instructing an Army student pilot, collided with another plane at the Municipal Airport in Wichita.

According to eye witnesses, five or six planes with flight instructors of the Harte Flying Service, with their Army aviation students had been on a routine flight and the group, headed by Donald Betzer and his student, Pvt. Clinton L. Alguire, of Lima, Ohio, were coming in at the 400 foot level at a slow speed to land, on being given the signal, when an independent pilot, not connected with the school and with a non enlisted Wichita student, on being given the signal to land his larger and faster plane came down and soon overtook the plane which was piloted by Pvt. Alguire.

One wing of the small trainer craft was crumpled, causing the plane to fall as it came to earth in a sort of nose dive. Apparently, Betzer attempted to right the ship, rather than use his parachute for his own safety. Alguire was killed almost instantly. Each of Donald's legs were broken in two places, and he suffered a fracture at the base of the skull, as well as many other injuries about his face and body. He passed away in St. Francis Hospital without regaining consciousness. The occupants of the other plane were not injured.

Funeral services were held at 10 o'clock Saturday morning in the College Hill Methodist church in Wichita, with the pastor, Dr. Herbert J. Root, in charge. The pall bearers were Civil Aeronautics inspector Harold L. Grandy and five of Donald's fellow fliers. The body was brought to Coldwater Saturday afternoon and funeral services were held at 2:30 o'clock Sunday afternoon at the Christian church in Coldwater with Rev. Mayor W. Parker of the Methodist church in charge.

Raymond Cline sang "Sometime We'll Understand," and a mixed quartet composed of Marvin Park, Leo Wilkins, Mrs. Fred Anderson and Mrs. J. W. Brewer sang "Some Day He'll Make It Plain," accompanied by Mrs. Wm. Brumbaugh. The church was banked deep with flowers as evidence of the high regard in which the deceased was held. The pall bearers were E. C. Utz, Fred Proctor, Bob Gilchrist, J. W. Brewer, Roger Pepperd of Wichita and Sgt. Donald Nicholas of Winfield. Burial was in Crown Hill Cemetery.

The American Legion colors, accompanied by a color guard from Comanche Post No. 122, were displayed at the church and the services at the ceremony as a military courtesy to an enlisted man.

Donald Frank Betzer was born June 12, 1921, at Wilmore, Kans., and passed away in St. Francis Hospital, Wichita, Kans., June 3, 1943, at the age of 21 years, 11 months and 22 days. When about two years of age he moved with his parents to Coldwater, where he attended grade and high school, graduating with the class of 1939. During this time he was a First Class Scout and a member of the National Honor Society. He attended the Wichita University two and one half years in the C. P. T. course, and was a member of the R. O. T. C. with the rank of First Sergeant. He worked and graduated from the Harte Flying Service in 1942. He had his commercial rating and was a flying instructor at Harte's. Donald held seven ground school instructor's ratings and three flight instructor's ratings and in his four years of flying had spent more than 1200 hours in the air, with not a black mark against him. Flying was one of his greatest pleasures. He was systematic and painstaking in every detail and was always a stickler for observing every order issued him. He taught meteorology and navigation at East High School, Wichita, during the past year to a class composed of men all older than himself. At the time of his death Donald was being considered by the Army as manager of the Coffeyville air field.

On December 15, 1942, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps Reserve and was awaiting his call to active service when overtaken by death.

He was united in marriage with June Elizabeth Blount on September 6, 1942, at Coldwater, Kans., and they made their home in Wichita. Donald was baptized in the Christian church at Coldwater when 12 years of age and remained a member until November 1, 1942, when he and his wife united with the College Hill Methodist Church of Wichita by transfer of his membership from the Christian church of Coldwater and his wife's from the Antioch Methodist church.

He leaves to mourn his death besides his wife, his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wilford Betzer, four sisters, Dorothy, Betty, Wilma and Mary; his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Betzer and his wife's parents, Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Blount; also two uncles, Dan and Chas. R. Jackson of Coldwater, and five aunts, Mrs. Cecil Barr of Geuda Springs, Kans., Mrs. Oscar Blount of Coldwater, Mrs. O. D. Vermillion and Mrs. U. V. White both of Wichita and Mrs. Fred Beitler of National City, Calif., besides many other relatives and a host of friends.

Mr. Betzer was an exemplary young man in every respect. Upon establishing a Christian home in Wichita with his bride, it soon became a place of refuge and encouragement to many of Donald's homesick student pilots. Here these young Army lads from the East learned at these breakfasts and informal parties in the home that it was possible to have clean, wholesome fun for all. Donald was a friend to all who knew him. Last Christmas the Christian church of Coldwater sent him a Testament, and it accompanied him on all his flights. The sorrowing relatives have the sincere sympathy of all. (SB)

The above news article was transcribed for this site by Shirley Brier.

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This page was last updated 27 March 2004.

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