Claude Robert Platte Jr., a Tuskegee Airman, became precious in the sight of the Lord on Friday, Sept. 27, 2013. Service: Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 1927 S.W. Green Oaks Blvd., Arlington, Father Daniel Kelley, host pastor, and the Rev. Jerome G. Ledoux, S.V.D., officiating. Interment: 11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, in Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, Lane A. Visitation: 1 to 5 p.m. Friday at Baker Funeral Home, with rosary at 7 p.m. at Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church, 1101 E. Terrell. Memorials: In lieu of flowers, the family requests you make donations to the Claude R. Platte - DFW Educational Assistance Fund, Box 577, Lake Dallas, Texas 75065; or Our Mother of Mercy Catholic School Fund, 1007 E. Terrell St., Fort Worth, Texas 76104. He was born to Claude and Marie Scott Platte Sr. in Denison on March 16, 1921. His humble origin belied his great quest to reach the sky through learning and teaching aviation science. With a B.A. in mechanical engineering and a minor in aeronautics, Claude went through the paces of the "Tuskegee Experience," where he received the flight instructor rating. As a flight instructor, Capt. Platte trained over 400 black cadets to fly, and they amassed an unmatched military record as fighter pilots and were known as "The Red Tails." He was the first black officer to be trained and commissioned at Randolph Field Air Force Base in Texas. Special thanks to all the doctors, nurses and staff of Plaza Medical Center and Vitas Hospice who assisted in the care of Claude Platte. Survivors: His wife, Erma Bonner Platte; stepson, Alfred M. Williams of Austin; sister, Marie Platte Godsey of New Rochelle, N.Y.; cousins, Edwina Higgins and Lois Platte Johnson (Edgar), both of Houston, Nathaniel George Hagler Sr. (Tillie), Dr. Nathaniel G. Hagler Jr. (Royace) of Baltimore, Md., and the Rev. Gaylan Hagler of Washington, D.C.; nieces, Alyssa Godsey of New Rochelle, N.Y., Ginger Platte Montgomery of Kennesaw, Ga.; nephews, Attral Platte Jr. (Arwa) of Temple Hills, Md., and Gary Platte of Hopewell, Va.; sister-in-law, Johanna McCully Bonner of Fort Worth; and a host of great-nieces, great-nephews, other relatives and friends.
Published in Star-Telegram on Oct. 2, 2013.