Delbert Chester Kurtz was born in Keizer, Ore., near where Bi-Mart now stands, on November 1, 1925 to Frederick Godfrey Kurtz and Mary Barker Kurtz. During his adventurous youth, he spent time with his father in the forests of the Siletz, Rock Creek and Rogue River where they lived in cabins and gathered cascara bark to sell and mined for gold. He attended school in Salem until serving in the U.S. Navy from 1943-46, including the South Pacific War Theatre. He married Betty Reeve on June 20, 1947, recently celebrating their 71rst wedding anniversary at home. Returning to Keizer in 1962, He worked at Oregon Pulp and Paper Mill and as an ironworker for Mercer Steel Co. until an early retirement.
Deb was a descendant of early Oregon settlers, specifically Robert Godfrey, who came from England to Oregon in 1845 and took out a donation land claim in what today is West Salem in Polk County. The extended family of Mordecai and Celia Lane came in an 1853 wagon train from Missouri and settled in Marion County near Sublimity. Francis Anne Lane and Robert Godfrey were married October 11, 1855 in Salem. The Frederick-Kurtz family were early settlers in the Keizer area. Deb’s grandfather, Frederick H. Godfrey, was adopted into the Kurtz family as a boy in 1916 at the age of 11.
Deb enjoyed playing and watching his children play sports. Baseball, golfing, and hunting were his favorites. He spent many hours traveling, camping, and hunting with his family – often teaching them the finer points of each. Deb was an avid golfer and hunter until very recently.
Deb is survived by his wife, Betty J. Kurtz and children John Richard Kurtz, Marguerita (Bub), Dillingham, AK; Gerald Reeve, Cindi, Prineville, Ore.; Michael Jeffrey, Cynthia, Keizer, Ore.; and Lisa Deb’ Anne Atchley, Salem, Ore.; and 11 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren.
Private family services and interment were held at Restlawn Memory Gardens. Donations can be made to Union Gospel Mission, Salem, Oregon.