Another World War II aviator is flying high into the heavens. John Roger Kling, 96 passed away on February 10, 2021.
He was born in Mead, Nebraska to August Kling and Ruth Kling. At the age of 4, he and his three brothers moved with mom and dad from Mead to a small farm south of Hilmar near the Merced river. The boys had great fun spending their summers swimming in the river after working all day on the farm. It was a great place for the boys to grow up. He attended Hilmar schools and graduated from Hilmar High. He went on to attend Modesto Jr. College and transferred to UC Berkeley. In the fall of 1942, he and his twin brother answered the call to join the war effort. During World War II, he served as a P-47 Fighter Pilot in the US Army Air Corp 12th Air Force 27th Fighter group and flew 101 combat missions in the European theater. He obtained the rank of Captain and became a squadron leader, received 6 air medals and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Upon returning from the War, he finished his studies graduating from UC Berkeley. He partnered with his dad on the family farm eventually taking over the farm. While farming, he pursued his passion for teaching and earned a teaching credential and taught in the Turlock Unified School district for 27 years.
He is survived by his wife Ortha of 68 years, children David (Judy) of Gilroy, Nancy (Ken) Johnson of Stevinson, California, grandchildren Julie and Danny (Sally) and great grandson Landon, eight nieces and four nephews, and many friends. He also leaves his brother-in-law and sister-in-law Howard and Marilyn Uecke of Wildomar, California. Preceding him in death are his parents August and Ruth Kling and his four brothers Leon, Bill, Dwayne and Ralph (twin).
As an active member of the former Berea Lutheran Church in Hilmar, he served as Property Chairman. He is a member of Good Shepard Lutheran Church of Turlock and resided at Covenant Living retirement community. He had a passion for gardening, fishing, and camping with the family.
Remembrances can be made to Hospice of Emanuel, Emanuel Medical Center, 825 Delbon Ave., Turlock, CA 95382 or the Benevolent fund at Covenant Living in Turlock A celebration of life will be held at a later date.