Earl E. Gatz, 89, passed away on November 28, 2019. A funeral service will be at St Paul's United Methodist Church, 7740 Lackman Rd, Lenexa KS 66217 on Thursday, December 12, 2019 at 10 am. The family will travel to Pratt, Kansas after the service and a brief reception for family and friends.
Earl was born at home in Preston, Kansas on July 17, 1930 to Dr and Mrs Isaac F. (Ike) and Dorothy (Ellis) Gatz. He was the youngest of three children; an older brother, Jack, and a sister, Kathy.
Earl’s parents lived and worked on the family farm near Preston where Ike also ran a veterinary practice. Ike was in the Kansas State veterinary graduating class of 1922 followed by Earl in 1956 and Earl's son, David, in 1984. Dorothy also attended Kansas University.
Earl met and married Nancy D. (Murray) in Manhattan, Kansas in 1954 where they both attended college. Nancy and Earl were married for 65 years.
After college, Earl served in the US Army at the Presidio in San Francisco, California. Nancy has fond memories of the two of them and their newborn, Janet, living at the Presidio overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.
While at the Presidio their ‘Army’ baby, David, was born. Later they moved to Iowa where Earl worked for a veterinarian, and following his father’s stroke, Earl moved back to Kansas with his young family. Another daughter, Karen, was born in Pratt, Kansas soon after their arrival. Two more daughters followed, Suzanne and Kathleen (Katie), also born in Pratt.
All the children followed in their parents' footsteps and graduated from Kansas State. The family still enjoys getting together to watch the Wildcats win, or lose, at basketball and football. Nancy and Earl attended Kansas State football games and the requisite tailgate parties for 50 years and Earl enjoyed these events right up to the end.
Janet lives in Stilwell, near Kansas City; David in Amarillo, Texas; Karen in Piedmont, California; Suzanne in Ballarat, Australia; and Katie in St Louis, Missouri.
After arriving in Pratt, Earl set up his own veterinary practice, the Town and Country Veterinary Clinic, that operated for almost 50 years. Many around Pratt knew Earl as ‘Doc Gatz’ and he was well known in the district. Nancy helped in the clinic, looked af-ter a large and busy family and taught in the local schools.
Some of the family’s favorite memories are of their father enjoying his evenings and weekends on the golf course with his friends. After the demanding years of working and providing, these were times of simple relaxation and the company of good friends and lots of laughs. Earl possessed a sense of fun and humor that truly shined in the company of these dear friends.
As the children grew, Earl and Nancy had many opportunities to visit them at their homes and favorite vacation spots including San Francisco, Cape Cod, Florida, Texas, New Zealand and Australia. They also traveled in Europe visiting or accompanying their children.
Earl was Veterinarian of the Year in 1984 and served 17 years on the Kansas State Board of Veterinary Examiners. He was a lifelong member of the Kansas Veterinary Medical Association. He also served eight years as a Trustee of the Pratt Community College and was a member of the Pratt Presbyterian Church, a church founded by his maternal grandfather, Rev. Andrew Axline in 1884. Earl retired and moved with Nancy to Olathe Kansas 12 years ago.
Earl is survived by his wife, Nancy and five children - Janet, David, Karen, Suzanne and Katie; 13 grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to kcur.org. or Saint Paul's church.
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