Corlett Krans Roberts was born April 9, 1922, in Chetek, Wis., to Arthur and Selma Roberts. He passed away Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, in Fort Worth, Texas, surrounded by his three children. He was 96 years old.
Everyone who knew him said “Corley” was a gifted musician, singer, athlete and leader. He played the cornet from a young age, was a member of the high school choir, boys’ quartet and band, and served as drum major. In competitions throughout high school, he regularly placed first for cornet solo, solo singing and as a drum major and twirler. Childhood friends recounted that he always ran everywhere, clearly in preparation for playing all four years of high school basketball, serving as captain his senior year, and leading the team to Chetek High School’s first-ever conference title.
He was a man of incredible inner strength, insight, conviction, determination and duty to God, his family and his country. Graduating from Chetek High School, he began college at Superior State Teachers College. He enlisted in the Marines for World War II in December 1941, and was assigned to the Base Band at San Diego, Calif., then later as a rifleman at Camp Elliot, and deployed to New Zealand as part of the 6th Regiment, 2nd Battalion, F Company.
While there, he was accepted to the V-5 Naval Aviation Cadet program. Returning stateside, he completed his flight training commissioned in the Navy, after which he was commissioned back into the Marine Corps as a first lieutenant and qualified in carrier landings.
He was recalled to active duty for the Korean War in January 1951. He completed helicopter training and attained the rank of captain, being stationed in Korea in 1952 and Japan from 1953–1954, after which he was honorably discharged from active duty. He remained in the Marine Reserves until being honorably discharged, having attained the rank of major.
Following the footsteps of his father, he joined Chetek Masonic Lodge #277 in 1945 and was proud to be the longest continuing living member.
Corlett spent his career flying helicopters, first for Petroleum Helicopters Inc., in Columbia, South America, then 35 years for Chevron USA, based out of New Orleans, La. Upon retirement as chief pilot, he had logged more than 23,000 hours of flight time. It was in New Orleans that he met and married Katherine Rose Ktsanes on Aug. 1, 1964, at Trinity Episcopal Church. It was also there that they raised their three children. He and Katherine relocated to Boise, Idaho, in September 2005. Corlett then relocated to Fort Worth in June 2013.
He was also an avid photographer with an innate eye for composition of both scenery and portraiture, the latter of which was further honed through seemingly endless family photo sessions.
Corlett is survived by his three children and their families: Elizabeth Roberts and husband Tony Sabala, of San Jose, Calif.; Dr. Richard Roberts and wife Kathryn Davison Roberts, and their children, Alexandra (Lexie) and Janie, of Fort Worth; and John Roberts and partner Kelsey Albair, and their children, Theodore, Thaddeus and Jude, of Boise; as well as nieces and nephews, especially Suzanne Dyrland Arnevik, of Rice Lake, Wis., with whom he was incredibly close.
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 48 years, Katherine; his parents; his brother, Vernon Roberts; and three sisters, Henrietta “Babe” McCarty, Millicent Dyrland and Zola Rae Cole.
Corlett’s absolute adoration and unconditional support of, and generosity of spirit to his family knew no limits. He will be tremendously missed and remembered.
A funeral service was held on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 3401 Bellaire Drive S., Fort Worth. Burial will be held at the Lake View Cemetery in Chetek, at a later date.