Martin Richard Kaatz of Ellensburg, WA died on November 24, 2012 in Ellensburg from complications following heart surgery.
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Marty was born on April 16, 1924 to David and Ella Kaatz in Cleveland, Ohio. The family moved to Detroit, Michigan around 1930, where Marty grew up and attended school. After graduating from Central High school in Detroit, he served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps from 1943-46 in the Philippines and Japan. Following the war, he earned bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in Geography at the University of Michigan. Marty married Carla Hemsing in 1947. Their eldest son, Allen, was born in Ann Arbor, MI, and Larry and David were born in Ellensburg.
Marty and Carla moved west to Ellensburg in 1952, where his career as a Geography professor at Central Washington University stretched over four decades. He became a Fulbright scholar in 1965-66, when he taught at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland for one year. He chaired CWU's Geography and Land Studies Department for 15 years as head of the department. Marty was a respected teacher who prodded students to critically examine the world. Perhaps his greatest impact as an educator was accomplished while serving the region via numerous organizations, boards, and committees. He was known for careful, measured thought and problem solving. His insight helped shape land use planning in Ellensburg, Kittitas County, the Yakima River Basin, and the region over the past half century. For this service, he was honored by CWU as a Distinguished University Professor of Public Service in 1980 and by the Cascade Land Conservancy for his lifetime achievements in conservation in 2006. He was proud to have been appointed to the Washington State Forest Practices Appeals Board by Governor Booth Gardner and served on that board between Dec. 1988 - 2001.
Marty's teaching, research, and service overlapped with his love for the outdoors. He was instrumental in the development, mapping and protection of cross country ski trails in the Blewett Pass area. Sixty years of hiking, cross country skiing, and exploring provided him insight that few others had about the Upper Yakima River Watershed. He was surprised to be honored in June 2011 by the City of Ellensburg for his many years of service to the city. His main hobbies in later life were photography and being at the computer.
Marty is survived by Carla, his wife of 65 years, sons Allen (Kimie), Larry (Kathy), and David (Robin), grandchildren Joe and Talia Kaatz of Minneapolis, and Zoe Kaatz of Seattle, and numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews. Marty was preceded in death by his parents, and his brothers Bertram and Paul.
The family wishes to thank the special care givers at the Kittitas Valley Health and Rehab and the Hospice team who assisted in that facility during the last few weeks of Martin's life.
A memorial service will be held mid-March in Ellensburg (place & time to be announced later) In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Friends of the Brooks Library at CWU, or Forterra (formerly the Cascade Land Conservancy). Also a Martin Kaatz Geography Scholarship Fund has been established. All memorial donations can be sent in care of Brookside Funeral Home 101 E 2nd Ave Ellensburg, WA 98926
Brookside Funeral Home and Crematory
101 East 2nd Avenue
Ellensburg, WA 98926
Published in Daily Record from Dec. 5 to Dec. 15, 2012