OBITUARY

Loren "Allen" Gatton Jr.

June 22, 1922March 23, 2019
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Loren Allen Gatton, Jr., age 96, was released into the arms of Jesus on Saturday, March 23, 2019, with many family members by his side. Allen was born on June 22, 1922, to Loren Allen Gatton, Sr., and Grace Belle Smythe Gatton in the home on their 60-acre farm in Crane, MO. Allen married Betty Jean Baldwin on April 20, 1945, in Kansas City, MO. They were married 61 years and had three sons: Bruce, Stan, and Rick.

Allen graduated from Crane High School in 1940, where he studied vocational agriculture and was a member of Future Farmers of America. Growing up he always thought he would be a farmer. Allen and his six siblings all graduated from Crane High School. He attended what is now the University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg. It was primarily a teacher’s college when he entered in the fall of 1940.

After attending college for one year, where he met his future brother-in-law, Charles Baldwin, Allen went to Kansas City to work for TWA (Trans World Airlines) doing cleanup detail, polishing such aircraft as the DC-3 and DC-2. He worked there for eight months before enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps. He went through basic training in San Diego, California. Allen wrote about his basic training: “I remember that my parents did not really wish I would get in the Marine Corp, but realized I would soon be drafted. I very much enjoyed basic training. The vigilant training and discipline, I thought, was the best life ever. The harder the work and training, the better the mattress.”

Allen was selected, seven out of sixty, for aviation mechanic’s school in Norman, OK. He trained there for seven months. He was one of three chosen to go to advanced active-duty squadron training in Santa Ana, CA. for three months in an active fighter air craft squadron, assigned to the VMF113 , Marine Air Group 22.

While in Santa Ana, Allen warmed up an aircraft as part of his duties. He looked across the tarmac and saw a tall, lanky fellow walking towards him. It was Charles Lindberg. Lindberg was testing planes for fuel efficiencies. Lindberg extended his hand, they had a brief conversation, and Allen assisted him into the airplane.

Allen’s VMF113 squadron was preparing to go overseas. He went to Pearl Harbor on USA Aircraft carrier Bunker Hill in Sept. 1943. On Feb. 1, 1944, he departed Pearl Harbor in an 80-ship armada, known as the Wake Island Avengers, to an unknown destination. After 31 days on water in a ship filled to double capacity (four bunks deep, in the space for two) they arrived at Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, and waited for the Navy to bombard the island. After two days of fighting, the island was secured. From there he was sent 350 miles west to Enewetok Atoll. Here they also bombarded and dive-bombed for the second invasion. The second day they disembarked, started building and repairing runways to began aircraft operations. Allen and his squadron flew four airplanes, four hours at a time, from dawn to dusk running combat air patrol up to 1,000 miles from where the Japanese had their bases, bombing often.

Replacements came after 19 months, and he returned to San Francisco and then to San Diego. While on furlough in Kansas City for 36 days, and after 32 months of letter-writing, Allen married Betty Jean Baldwin (age 19) only 20 days later. (Betty said she knew she “had to work fast!”) He and Betty went to El Centro, CA. where Allen received more training. He was told he would return to the Pacific, this time to Japan; however, the atom bomb was dropped. War ended on Sept. 2, 1945, and he was discharged in November, 1945. Allen continued in the USMC Reserves from 1947-1951 as a sergeant.

After World War II ended, Allen returned to Kansas City and went back to work for TWA until retirement in 1979 at age 55. Retirement allowed him to concentrate on his building and property management business, something he started in 1950. Loving hard work, he remained active, working in the apartment business, and playing golf until he was 90.

Growing up Bruce, Stan and Rick knew their Dad could fix anything. After their beloved dog, Corky, followed the family car onto State Avenue and was struck, they asked through tears, “Daddy, can you fix him?” believing that he surely could.

Allen and Betty were active members of London Heights Baptist Church from 1955 to 1975. If it was Sunday morning or Sunday night, the family was in church. They continued to serve as active members at Bethel Lutheran Church, and he enjoyed visiting at Open Door Baptist Church. Allen was a founding member and past president of the Kansas City West Kiwanis Club. He was also a member and past president of Business West of KCK.

Allen’s hobbies included golfing, gardening, traveling with Betty, and entertaining at his pool. He loved working hard, watching his sons’ sports or school events, and watching the grandchildren and great grandchildren swim in the pool in his backyard. He was a wonderful, generous provider, a man of his word, full of integrity, well respected and loved. Always a die-hard supporter of Wyandotte County, he even bought a racehorse to support the Woodlands Race Track.

As a United States Marine, Allen made landings on hostile shores of another country. On March 23, 2019, he made his final landing on the peaceful shores of Heaven.

Allen was predeceased by his siblings, Ones Harlan Gatton, George William Gatton, Lora Helen Gatton, Fern Lorene Chastain, Mae Elizabeth Parsons, and Belva Ruth Henson. He is survived by his sisters, Alice Nadine Kemper of Springfield, MO and Blanche Clevenger of Springfield, MO. Allen is survived by his children Bruce Gatton (Linda) of Apollo Beach, FL; Stan Gatton (Joyce) of Kansas City, KS; and Rick Gatton (Karen) of Shawnee, KS; 8 grandchildren (Beth, Jeff, Eric, Jaime, Heather, Tim, Dylan, Joe), 10 great grandchildren (Coltyn, Lake, Drew, Logan, Beau, Jake, Tanner, Tara, Carter, and Kennadie.) The family extends grateful appreciation to the caregivers from The Piper for their loving attention.

Funeral arrangements by Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens. Visitation 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 29, 2019, at Chapel Hill-Butler Funeral Home, 701 N. 94 St., K.C., Ks. 66112. Funeral service at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 30, 2019, at Open Door Baptist Church, 3033 N. 103 Terr., Kansas City, Ks. 66109. Interment will be immediately following in Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens.

Memorial contributions may be made to: Kiwanis West of KCK, PO Box 9002, KCK 66112, or Samaritan’s Purse, PO Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607.

  • PALLBEARERS

  • Jeff Gatton
  • Eric Gatton
  • Dylan Gatton
  • Timothy Gatton
  • Joseph Gatton
  • Mike Huisman
  • Chet Englis
  • Wayne Easley
  • Coltyn Gatton, Honorary
  • Lake Gatton, Honorary
  • Drew Englis, Honorary
  • Logan Taylor, Honorary
  • Jake Huisman, Honorary
  • Tanner Easley, Honorary
  • Carter Easley, Honorary
  • Andre' Lloyd, Honorary
  • DONATIONS

  • Kiwanis West of Kansas City, Kansas
  • Samaritan's Purse

Services

PREVIOUS SERVICES:

  • Visitation Friday, March 29, 2019
  • Funeral Service Saturday, March 30, 2019

OTHER SERVICES:

  • Graveside Service
REMEMBERING

Loren "Allen" Gatton Jr.

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Kim Steakle

March 29, 2019

We had rough start getting to know each other but we became great friends. I will miss Al very much. :(

FROM THE FAMILY

June 2016 - 94th Birthday

FROM THE FAMILY

Jake, Beau, Tara & Gpa
94th Birthday

FROM THE FAMILY

94th Bday

FROM THE FAMILY

94th Bday

FROM THE FAMILY

Visit with Matt & Laura McCormick - 5/16

FROM THE FAMILY

93rd Birthday - 6/22/15

FROM THE FAMILY

1943 - Before going off to war

FROM THE FAMILY

1982 - Gatton Family

FROM THE FAMILY

1945 - After the war

FROM THE FAMILY

June 2016 - 94th Birthday

FROM THE FAMILY

Jake, Beau, Tara & Gpa
94th Birthday

FROM THE FAMILY

94th Bday

FROM THE FAMILY

94th Bday

FROM THE FAMILY

Visit with Matt & Laura McCormick - 5/16

FROM THE FAMILY

93rd Birthday - 6/22/15

FROM THE FAMILY

1943 - Before going off to war

FROM THE FAMILY

1982 - Gatton Family

FROM THE FAMILY

1945 - After the war

FROM THE FAMILY