Dale Klutsenbaker was born on February 16, 1926 in Mehan, Oklahoma, the son of Joseph and Maude (Lakey) Klutsenbaker. Dale's family moved to Washington State in 1936. At the age of 16, Dale and a buddy set out for South California on bicycles, making it to Portland, OR before opting to hitch-hike the rest of the way. He graduated from Arlington High School in 1943.
At the young age of 18, Dale enlisted in the Navy in April 1944 and attended Aviation Electrician Mate's school prior to assignment at NAS Whidbey Island. It was then on to NAS Pasco where he met Lola Holier (first wife of 22 years). He was discharged in March 1946 at Bremerton from the USS Cummings.
In September 1946, he married Lola and started Whitman College in Walla Walla on the GI bill. Their first child, David, was born in 1947. Dale transferred to the University of Washington. In May, 1950, he joined the Air Force Cadet Program and was shipped to San Angelo, Texas for pre-flight training. He was then stationed at Lubbock, Texas for B-25 training and became a flight instructor for two years. His son, Curtis, and daughter, Robyn, were born in Lubbock.
Dale then served as an Air Force Advisor to the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force and helped to establish their Technical Training School near Nagoya, Japan. From Japan he was sent to Scott Air Force Base near St. Louis for Electronic Training. The tour in Greenland of one year was unaccompanied. The scenery was particularly spectacular of ice caps and glaciers. During his 18 plus years in the Air Force, he logged over 5500 hours in various military aircraft and was given many citations/medals for his service. He retired in July 1968 to Roy, Utah.
Once a civilian, he was hired as an Engineer with Lockheed (Burbank, CA) working with the Navy and P-3 community. He married Lucille Hammett in July 1972. He ended his 14 years with Lockheed at NAS Whidbey Island in September 1983.
Since 1991, Dale and his wife had been snow birds with their second home being near Palm Springs.
Dale fought a long, tough battle against heart disease and renal failure, which eventually took his life. In fitting with the approach that characterized his life and work he remained positive until finally succumbing to the last stages of his illness on Sunday, May 27, 2018.
Dale is survived by his wife, Ann (Knockwood) Klutsenbaker, of Oak Harbor; sons, David of Tennessee and Curtis of California; daughter, Robyn, of Wisconsin and three Grandchildren.
The Klutsenbaker family suggests memorials may be made out to The Wounded Warrior Project in Dale’s name online: https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/donate, by phone: 877.TEAM.WWP (832.6997), mail to: 4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300, Jacksonville, FL 32256. You can also donate to your local Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter, as well.
A visitation will take place at Wallin Funeral Home, Oak Harbor, WA on Monday, June 4, 2018. A private graveside service will be held at Tahoma National Cemetery with full military honors.