Jacob Kratt Jr (1925 - 2019)

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  • "Jake, an American hero, was a kind man who had a hearty..."
    - Glenda Massey
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Service Information
Pilgrim Lutheran Church
2733 W Northwest Blvd
Spokane, WA 99205
Memorial service
Saturday, Jun. 15, 2019
10:00 AM
Pilgrim Lutheran Church
2733 W Northwest Blvd
Spokane, WA
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KRATT, Jacob, Jr. (USAF, Ret.)

Jacob Kratt, Jr, Colonel USAF (Ret), age 94, of Spokane, WA, passed away peacefully on Sunday, April 28, 2019, to be with his Lord.

Jake was born on February 3, 1925 in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Jacob and Christina Kratt. Jake grew up in a rural setting along with his four brothers and four sisters.

After graduating from high school in 1943 Jake joined the Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet and upon completion of flight training, was shipped to England to join a troop carrier group where he flew daily supply missions in support of combat ground units. During "Operation Varsity" (Rhineland Invasion) Jake piloted a troop glider behind enemy lines. Soon thereafter, he was transferred to a fighter group in Germany to fly P-47 aircraft. In 1947 he was transferred stateside where he continued to maintain combat ready proficiency in P-51D and H, F-82E, F-84E F and G series aircraft as a member of the 27th Fighter Wing. In 1950 Jake deployed with the wing to Korea where he flew 112 combat missions and succeeded in destroying 3 enemy aircraft in aerial combat. Jake also experienced two emergency bailouts from disabled aircraft. In 1955 he was recruited to fly the U-2 on clandestine missions and performed in that capacity for over five years. Subsequent assignments to Japan and Korea, commanding F-4 fighter squadrons, followed by staff and base command positions capped off a distinguished career of 31 years. Among the medals awarded to Jake were: the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters and the Meritorious Service Medal. After a year or so of retirement, Jake returned to his first love, flying. He flew locally for Spokane Airways, Washington Water Power and the Farm Credit Bank, retiring in 1990.

Jake married long-time schoolmate and sweetheart, Joyce Kanitz, in May of 1946 while on R&R from Germany. Later that year Joyce joined him in Germany for seven months before he was reassigned to the USA. Jake and Joyce had three children, Jeffrey, Janon, and Jay who were a great source of joy, love and devotion through the years.

After his final retirement from flying, Jake took great pleasure in working in his yard as well as golfing, bowling, and also his friendships with members of Pilgrim Lutheran Church where he was a faithful member since 1975. He is survived by his wife of 72 years, two sons, Jeffrey (Carol), Clovis, CA, Jay (Mary Ellen) Baldwin, WI, one daughter, Janon (Robert) Martinez, Fresno, CA, five grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren; one brother, Daniel and numerous nieces and nephews.

Memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 15, 2019, at 10:00 a.m., at Pilgrim Lutheran Church, 2733 W Northwest Blvd., Spokane, WA, with Pastor Hille and Pastor Goodfellow officiating. There will be a private cemetery ceremony for the immediate family at a later date. Memorial donations may be made on Jake's behalf to Pilgrim Lutheran Church Mission Fund or a .

Published in Spokesman-Review on June 9, 2019
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