Billy Klackle

Passed: October 07, 2018


Billy Klackle, a long time PebbleCreek resident, passed away peacefully on October 7, 2018.

Billy was born April 17, 1930, in St. Joseph, Michigan to Mike and Sophie Klackle.  Billy grew up along the beautiful banks of Lake Michigan.  Notwithstanding the idyllic setting, WWII cast a shadow over everyday life.  Though the war came to an end while Billy was in high school, the Berlin Blockade and Airlift occupied the headlines.  As Billy approached high school graduation, recruiters convinced his father that allowing him to join the United States Air Force would prepare him for life.  Consequently, Billy and his high school friends left Michigan for basic training in Biloxi, MS and then they went on to Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, TX to become Air Force instructors for aircraft electrical systems.

Billy married his high school sweetheart, Mary-Jo McCullough, in 1950.  When the Korean War broke out, he was sent to Goose Bay, Labrador, Canada.  As shop chief for aircraft instruments and electrical systems, he worked on nine permanent planes that were equipped with skis in the winter and rubber wheels or pontoons in the summer.  Though winters were brutal, with temperatures at 19 below zero and snow as deep as 19 feet, his planes shuttled equipment and building materials to Greenland where a new base was being built to protect against any Russian threats.

Billy’s next assignment was Strategic Air Command (SAC), Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, NE.  His responsibilities continued to increase with over 70 aircraft electricians now under his command.  His additional duties included working on General Curtis LeMay’s personal aircraft. Billy and Mary-Jo were then transferred to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson.  In 1961, they were transferred to Guam where they experienced the worst typhoon in the island’s history.  His last assignment took them to Castle Air Force Base in Merced, CA.  Billy retired in 1968 having achieved the rank of Master Sergeant.

Billy worked for several years for United Airlines as an aircraft electrician at San Francisco International Airport.  Later he worked for Xerox, overseeing copy machine repairmen for a large territory in California until he retired a second time.  Once again, he came out of retirement and became an entrepreneur, owning several successful businesses in Atwater, Chico, and San Francisco, CA.  Billy finally decided to permanently retire and he and Mary-Jo moved to the PebbleCreek Community in Goodyear, AZ in 1997.

Billy was blessed with an ability to make those around him shine.  His people-focus leadership style always brought out the best in his employees.  He was devoted to Mary-Jo and would charm everyone when she entertained at their home.  His grandchildren loved to come to visit and hang out with Grandpa Billy!  He was an exceptional golfer and had a passion for the game.  There was nothing he loved better than playing a foursome with his grandchildren.

Billy always had a positive outlook.  He chose to be happy every day!  He had a habit of whistling through pain.  Whistling became more frequent as time moved forward.  Nevertheless, his smile never wavered and his love and appreciation for his family was evident in all he did.  Though the family will miss that whistle, they are grateful that he is free from pain and reunited with his beloved wife Mary-Jo of 67 years and his buddy Sugar Babe the Wonder Dog!

Billy is survived by his four sons, Mike, Scott, Kurt and Chris; daughters-in-law, Candy, Laura, Joy and Lisa; 10 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren and his sister-in-law Sue Jahns.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm, Saturday, November 10, 2018, at Christ Presbyterian Church, 925 N. Sarival Avenue, Goodyear, AZ  85338.

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4 responses to Billy Klackle

  1. To the Klackle family and friends please accept my deepest condolences for the loss of your loved one Billy. Very soon Jesus Christ will resurrect the loved ones we have lost in death back to life Acts 24:15; John 5:28, 29, right here on a brand new Paradise Earth no more sickness pain or death Life Without End Revelation 21:1-5 .

  2. Linda and I rejoice you are now with Mary Jo. You are a awesome couple and Billy you were always there to help us. RIP our friend

  3. We loved having Billy and Mary Jo as friends and we have many fond memories of years past. I especially enjoyed and appreciated their help with the Lady Niners – Deepest sympathy to all of you. Keep these precious memories close in your heart.

  4. Jody Prunty says:

    Oh my sweet sweet uncle. How I am going to miss that smile, those words, those sassy dance moves with your cane! So many sweet memories, and never having enough time with you. Peace. I love you so much, and you were and are so loved. xo Jody and the Ya Yas.

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Thompson Funeral Chapel