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Obituary: Goertz, Col., Robert D.

GOERTZ, Col. Robert D. USAF (Ret.) 12/28/1930 - 12/28/2012 Our beloved Dad, our Pop, our Grandpa and Bubba - Mr. 102 - has taken his final flight. He slipped the surly bonds of earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings and has now gone West. He was born in Beatrice, Nebraska, to John and Margaret (Claassen) Goertz on December 28, 1930. His family moved to Seattle when he was young, but he returned to Nebraska every summer to work on his Uncle Menno’s farm. After graduating from West Seattle High School, he went on to the University of Washington, where he met the irrepressible Jo Wahlstrom. He graduated in Forestry and worked at a logging camp in the Olympic National Forest, then joined the Air Force in 1954. After earning his wings, he returned to Seattle to marry Jo in 1956. His career as a fighter pilot took them across the country and around the world, but even when he was far from home, his heart remained with Jo and their four kids. He forged friendships that would last a lifetime, and several of ‘the boys’ threw in together to buy a piece of land in the wilds of Idaho on Lake Pend Oreille. There was nowhere Dad loved being more than the lake. After serving as the Survival School’s Operations Officer at Fairchild, Bob retired from the Air Force in 1979. Not one to sit at home and twiddle his thumbs, Bob joined fellow air jocks Jim Jordan, Frank Faha and Larry Haight to form Eagle Mountain Homes, where they brought their hard work and demand for excellence to custom home building. After his second retirement, he built one last home for him and Jo on ten acres surrounded by wheat fields that surely reminded him of his Nebraska days. When Jo died after 54 years of marriage, a piece of his heart went with her, but he never lost his fighting spirit. In words and deeds, he set the standard for how to live your life. His friends recall he lived by ‘the Code’ - he asked no more and gave no less than honesty, courage, loyalty, generosity and fairness. We will remember our Dad for his high standards, integrity, wit, and the rock-solid knowledge that he would be there for us no matter what. After giving his children the remarkable gift of one last Christmas together, he passed away at home on his 82nd birthday, December 28, 2012, surrounded by love and family. His family thanks Cory Johnson for the respect, honor, and excellent care he gave our Dad and for going above and beyond to make him happy in his final days. He will be sorely missed by his children, Mike Goertz, Sandy Jacques, Kathi (John) Johnson and Amy Goertz (Bruce Lambrecht); his grandchildren, Dillon, Ashley, Bennett, Tanner, Riley, Kara, Ian, Tyler and Maggie; his lifelong friends; and his faithful dog, Kooper, who remained by his side to the very end. We are better for having known Robert David Goertz. Throw a nickel on the grass. A memorial service will be held at Heritage Funeral Home on Saturday, January 26, 2013, at 2:00 p.m., with a wake to follow at Bob’s house. Call Kathi (509) 954-3724 or Amy (206) 949-9663 for more information.