Herbert L. Seyfrit
Herbert L. Seyfrit
HERBERT L. SEYFRIT
AVIATION CADET U.S.N.R.
DEC. 3, 1916 - OCT. 31, 1942
He died as he lived A Christian
"Herbert was born in Colorado but graduated from Coldwater. He taught school a couple of years after graduating from Fort Hayes State before joining the service. Herbert was killed in a plane crash while stationed at Olathe, Kansas, during World War II in 1942".
-- Ruth Seyfrit Brady (CCH, p. 668).
Above: The gravestone of Herbert L. Seyfrit, Crown Hill Cemetery near Coldwater, Comanche County, Kansas. Photograph by Bobbi (Hackney) Huck.
He was the son of Lewis M. and Agnes B. (Baldwin) Seyfrit.
"The Olathe Naval Air Station was commissioned on October 1, 1942 as U.S. Naval Reserve Air Base, Olathe, Kansas, and was mainly concerned with primary flight training for naval cadets until September 1944." -- Project Fact Sheet (CCVM, DJHSP)
The Western Star, November 6, 1942.
COLDWATER NAVY CADET CRASH VICTIM
Herbert Seyfrit Killed Instantly While Landing Plane.
The people of this county were stunned Sunday morning when news came that Cadet Herbert L. Seyfrit, son of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Seyfrit, was killed instantly about dusk last Saturday evening when two navy air trainer planes collided 100 feet off the ground as they were landing at the Gardner air base near Olathe, Kans. Herbert was making a perfect landing along the runway when Cadet Thomas J. Storey, 21, of Chargin Falls, Ohio, came in the from the side without seeing Seyfrit's plane, clipping the tail and all controls off the latter's aircraft which plunged to the ground.
Storey's plane also crashed and its gasoline tanks exploded. He suffered a broken check bone and first degree burns but was able to escape the flaming wreck.
Herbert had been at Gardner field only about five weeks, taking his primary flight training after graduating from the pre-flight school at St. Mary's College, Calif., Lt. Cdr. Arthur Helm, commanding officer of the Gardner field, stated that Herbert was one of his outstanding students.
Herbert's body was brought to Coldwater on the train Tuesday morning, accompanied by a naval escort, Cadet Otis Gaston of Downs, Kans., one of Herbert's classmates, both at St. Mary's and at Gardner Field.
At the request of the Seyfrit family, now in Hutchinson, the Coldwater American Legion made arrangements for the funeral here and had charge of the services at the grave. The funeral service was held in the Coldwater Methodist church Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock and was in charge of the pastor, Rev. Major W. Parker, who was assisted by Rev. M. M. Anspaugh, American Legion Commander and pastor of the Coldwater Assembly of God church. Both are World War 1 veterans.
The American Legion, with their post colors attended in a body. Rev. Parker brought a thoughtful and comforting message, taking his text from John 15:13, "Greater love hath no man than this - that a man lay down his life for his friends".
A mixed quartet composed of Marvin Plank, Mrs. V. J. Allderdice, Miss Viola Heitschmidt and Leo Wilkins sang "Be Still, My Soul" and "Some Day I'll Understand" and Mrs. Jess Hill and Mrs. Mabel Eaton sang "Under His Wings," accompanied by Mrs. Wm. Brumbaugh on the organ. There were many flowers, evidences not only of high esteem but of genuine admiration for a gallant youth. The local business houses closed for the funeral as a mark of respect.
The active pall bearers were six American Legion members - Vernon Pepperd, T. C. Mahan, H. H. Kopeke, J. H. Canfield, C. W. Burt and Lutzie Poltera. The honorary pall bearers were H. A. Repogle, E. E. Pounds, Bert Griffith, John Schenk, Leslie Smith, and Jess Hill. Burial was in Crown Hill cemetery beside Herbert's mother and a sister.
Herbert Lewis Seyfrit, son of Lewis M. Seyfrit, formerly of Coldwater but now of Hutchinson, was born December 3, 1916, in Oklarado, Colo., and departed this life at 6:30 p.m. October 31, 1942, at the Naval Air Base, Gardner, Kans., at the age of 25 years, 10 months and 28 days, the victim of a plane crash in mid-air while in the service of his country.
He attended school near Oklarado up to the age of 11, when he moved with his family to Coldwater where he completed his high school education, graduating with the class of 1934.
At the age of 14 Herbert became a member of the Christian church of Coldwater and continued to live a Christian life.
He attended the Fort Hays Teachers College , receiving his B. S. Degree in Education in 1938. He then taught and coached athletics there years in the Scranton high school and last year in the Eureka, Kans., high school.
He enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve Air Corps in January 1942, and on June 7, 1942, after finishing his school term, entered active training, going first to the At. Mary's College Pre-Flight School at Morago. After three months training, he was graduated from the school. being seventh highest among a class of 250 aviation cadets. Because of his high grades, he was one of 12 men who were privileged to choose his next naval air base. He chose the Gardner air base at Gardner, Kans., for his primary flight training and remained there until his death.
He leaves to mourn his loss his father and step-mother, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis M. Seyfrit, of Hutchinson, two brothers, Herman and Carl of the home; three sisters, Maryella Vonachen and Morene Seyfrit of McPherson, Kans., and Ruth Beeney of Margarita, Panama Canal Zone; two step brothers, Harold and Tommy Veatch of Hutchinson and Maxine Black of San Francisco, Calif.; two nephews and nieces, one uncle, Valentine Seyfrit, and four aunts, Mrs. Chas. Foree and Misses Emma and Frona Seyfrit of Coldwater and Mrs. Lloyd Alder of Wilmore and a host of friends who will greatly miss him. His mother, who passed away in 1935, and one sister, who died when a few months old, preceded him in death.
Herbert was one of Coldwater's finest youths, clean as a hound's tooth; a Christian gentleman of sterling character and exemplary habits.
As a boy scout he was outstanding and became an Eagle Scout, and later a Black Diamond Scout, the highest rank attainable in Scouting. He served as Athletic Director of the Scout summer camp, Camp Pawnee near Larned and was loved and respected by all who knew him.
For several years he was the swimming pool attendant and Red Cross Life Guard at the Coldwater, Hays and Wellington pools respectively, and his manliness and courtesy endeared him to all.
He was never married.
Herbert forged ahead the hard way, by sheer hard work and personal effort and his position of leadership was well earned and richly merited.
The sorrowing relatives have the heartfelt sympathy of all. (SB)
The above photo of Ensign Herbert Seyfrit is courtesy of his sister, Morene (Seyfrit) Potter.
Thanks to Shirley Brier for transcribing and contributing the above news article.
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This page was last updated 30 Dec 2005.