William Kretzschmar

August 1, 1938March 31, 2021

William (Bill) Kretzschmar passed away at home on March 31, 2021.

He is preceded in death by his father Paul Kretzschmar, his mother Elizabeth Donovan, his brother Paul Kretzschmar and his sister Elizabeth Lombardo.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 56 years, Janet and two sons, Kevin and Todd Kretzschmar, two grandsons, Kade and Alex and daughter-in-laws, Kandi and Michelle.

He was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY before joining the United States Marine Corps in January,1960. While serving in the Marine Corps, Bill flew the H-34 helicopter as well as the A-4 Skyhawk and A-6 Intruder. He flew two tours in Vietnam and earned a Silver Star for gallantry in action.

After the Marine Corps, Bill began what was to become a 30 year career with American Airlines. While based in New York and Raleigh-Durham NC, he flew the Boeing 727, DC-10, Boeing 757 and 767.

After settling in Killingworth, CT at the beginning of his American Airlines career, Bill and Jan raised a family and developed many deep friendships that endured even after relocating to Cary, NC for their retirement years. Throughout his 31 years living in Cary, Bill developed new friendships with a variety of people in the community, including golf partners, neighbors and fellow volunteers. All the while, he maintained life-long friendships formed during his active Marine Corps days, traveling to reunions around the country.

Bill had many passions over the years, including softball, tennis, hiking, running, skiing, walking, golf and traveling. In addition to being physically active, he was an avid reader of all subjects, often having two books going at once. He was also an accomplished writer and photographer.

Bill loved the Marine Corps and continued to support his country and the military throughout his retirement as a volunteer at the Raleigh-Durham Airport USO. In 2018, he was named Raleigh-Durham Center USO Volunteer of the Year. Bill regularly contributed to USO newsletters and Marine Corps Aviation Association publications.

Bill will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery at a date TBD.

His family would like to thank all of those who assisted in his care recently and those who continue to offer their thoughts, prayers and condolences during this difficult time.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


William Kretzschmar

have a memory or condolence to add?

Nancy Meyhoefer

April 16, 2021

I was saddened by the loss of Bill Kretzschmar . My husband, ,,"Helmy" served in the Marine Corp with him during those Viet Nam years. ..They later flew for American Airlines together . .Bill made a lasting impression on all those who met him. He was an exceptional pilot and writer as we looked forward to his Holiday Newsletter and travel experiences back to Viet Nam. He was truly one of a kind and will be sorely be missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to Jan and his wonderful family. I am sure that all of those who have passed are rejoicing in Heaven to see Bill again.
Love, Nancy

Cynthia McLaughlin

April 10, 2021

Bill, you are an American Hero, and our family is so proud and thankful to have had such a wonderful friendship with you, and to have been able to share in a small part of your incredible life. Thank you especially for being there for my husband, Mike, during his best days and his worst days. He thought the world of you, you know. Thank you for being there for the boys and I, after Mike's passing. We are all lucky to have known you Bill. Thank you for your caring, thoughtful ways and for your strength and amazing friendship. Rest in Peace.

Col. David Tarbox, USA, Ret

April 10, 2021

I served with Bill on the Monday, 3PM, afternoon shift at the USO.

Bill was an amazingly kind and generous volunteer.

He was attentive to the customers, and a wonderful raconteur to both the customers and his three fellow volunteers on duty with him.

It is a tremendous understatement to say we shall miss him greatly.

Bill is irreplaceable.

I am confident in my belief that he has already joined that great Marine Corps Chorale in Heaven singing mightily, "From the Halls of..."

Rest in Peace good and faithful Servant of the Lord.

Donnal Hiltbrunner

April 7, 2021

Ode to A6A Pilot KMAR
28 October’67

Launching from Chulai they did fly
Climbing North into the Night sky

Over the South China Sea they did drone
High In an Intruder all alone

Past the DMZ they did flow
Eighteen five hundred pounders in tow

Into Route Package Six they would glide
Haughty and Rude
Route Pack 6 would not Abide

Over the Red River following the bend
Into Harm’s Way they would extend

At Three Hundred Feet they would stride
Courage pumping thru their veins inside

Ol’ Man Doumer launching Fiery Darts at their Pride
But on at Five Hundred Knots they would ride

Sam Warnings wailing in their ear
They flew on without fear

Master Arm Switch On with a Feel
Intruder Encased in a Tunnel of Burning Steel

Radar a lock on Ol’ Man Doumer
His ThirtySeven, FiftySeven AntiAir a Blazing
The Night Hawk released on the Gomer

Through a CrossFire into a Wing Over
Outward Bound They did Maneuver

Feet Wet they soon did feel
Homeward Bound was Surreal

Donn Hiltbrunner


April 6, 2021

I flew several combat missions with Bill in Vietnam as his Bombardier/Navigator. I would also see him at reunions and received some of his writings via email. He was and excellent pilot, a good marine and a better man. He is a brother that I miss, but know that he had a life well lived and well loved. I wish his family well in this time of grief, but know that they must have many, many positive, happy memories.

Semper fi,


Richard (Dick) Tickner

April 6, 2021

When I transitioned from the A-4 Skyhawk to the A-6 Intruder, Bill was my instructor. He had gone through Navy training on the A-6, and was now tasked with training his fellow Marines on the aircraft. He was a gentleman to fly with, and helped me make the transition to the new aircraft a real pleasure. Several months later our squadron deployed to Chu Lai, Vietnam, where we served together for the next 13 months. It was a pleasure to serve with Bill,and I and his other squadron mates will miss him dearly.

Bob Shelton

April 5, 2021

January 1965 was when I first met Bill. I had just been commissioned and received my Wings of Gold and joined VMA(aw)242. Bill was one of the first to greet me and Jan was one of the first to call Carol. It was a friendship that would last for 50+ years.
Bill was one of the best story tellers and a gifted writer, those were just two of the many accomplishments in his life.. Carol and I always looked forward to his Christmas letter and visits with them. To say that he will be missed is an understatement.
Smooth skies, Blue side up and above all SEMPER FI

EARL Jacobson

April 5, 2021

a SKILLED AVIATOR AND TALENTED AUTHOR. The "KMar Grams" were a delightAnd will remain in our Memories

Ed Sipples

April 5, 2021

Billy K. Was a very proud leader and Jan was an excellent social director in Killingworth CT. My family and I moved into rural Cow Pen Hill from a suburban background. Bill K. And Ron Fine were the neighborhood leaders. Bill was very proud of his service to our country and also being an American Airlines Captain. When the men’s softball league was floundering, Bill stepped up to the plate and resurrected it. Although “the Bulls” were only mediocre, Bill had visions of us being champs! He was one of the most competitive players I ever met. When he and Jan left to move south, they left behind a big void.
Bill...feel proud of your accomplishments in life and the example you set for many of us. Thank you for having such a positive impact and rest peacefully in the everafter.

Nan Maples

April 5, 2021

Bill and I worked together on the USO Honors Support Team at RDU. I so admired him and have never met a more modest man , but true Hero! He will be missed by many...