Howard Julius Klatt Jr. “Coach Klatt,” 87, of Cedar Falls, IA and formerly of Oelwein, IA passed away peacefully on Monday, February 14, 2022 at Allen Hospital in Waterloo, IA. Visitation will be from Noon-1:00 PM on Saturday May 28, 2022 at the Geilenfeld-Buehner Funeral Home in Oelwein. Memorial services will then begin at 1:00 PM. Inurnment will be in Woodlawn Cemetery at Oelwein. There will be a Howard Klatt Memorial Golf Outing beginning at 10:00 AM on Sunday May 29, 2022 at Hickory Grove Golf Course in Oelwein.
Howard was born on May 1, 1934 in Cherokee, IA; he was the first son of Howard Julius Klatt Sr. and Evelyn (Glasson) Klatt. Howard was raised in Cherokee, where his father owned a hardware store. In 7th grade he met classmate Darlene Larson and unbeknownst to them; it was just the beginning of their love story. When they first met they became friends and maintained their friendship throughout school. After high school, Howard attended Iowa State from 1952-1953 and Iowa from 1953-1954. He then enlisted in the United States Air Force on August 4, 1954 in Iowa City. During that time, Darlene had attended and graduated from the Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa) and began teaching 6th grade in Algona, IA. While Howard was stationed in Mississippi, he thought of his good friend Darlene and in November of 1954 he began writing letters to her. Their relationship grew with letters back and forth until the following July when they spent his leave together and officially became engaged. The couple maintained a long distance relationship for the next year while Darlene taught 6th grade in Storm Lake.
On June 17, 1956, Howard and Darlene were united in marriage at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Cherokee. The newlyweds moved to Alpena, Michigan and later Detroit, where their first son Tim was born. In the summer of 1958 they moved back to Cherokee after Howard was honorably discharged from the Air Force. They moved again to Cedar Falls so Howard could attend Iowa State Teachers College and earn his teaching degree. Children Dan and Terri were born in Cedar Falls while Howard was finishing school and working at A&P Grocery Store. When Howard started looking for teaching jobs it was by a stroke of luck he just so happen to meet the Oelwein school district’s superintendent’s daughter while singing at church one Sunday in Cedar Falls. A connection was made and then out of a 100 applicants, Howard was hired by the Oelwein Community School District. Their growing family moved to Oelwein in 1961. After Howard and Darlene moved to Oelwein they had four more children: Deb, Mike, Marc and Kelly. While residents of Oelwein, the family lived on 1st Avenue from 1966-1983 and then on 8th Avenue from 1983 until the fall of 2017 when Howard and Darlene moved to the Western Home in Cedar Falls. Howard and Darlene were members of the Christ United Presbyterian Church in Oelwein. Howard always enjoyed singing at church; he had a strong and beautiful singing voice.
Howard taught “Shop Class” (Industrial Arts) from 1961 until retirement in 1996. He earned his Master’s Degree of Industrial Arts in 1965. After just a few years of teaching, the school was looking to hire a golf coach and one single question, “Would you have girls play golf?” to which Howard replied, “Yes,” secured the job. At the time there were no girls’ sports but that quickly changed. Coach Klatt coached the Huskies’ girls golf team from 1966-2014. He truly loved the game of golf and believed it was a game anyone could enjoy throughout their lifetime. He always emphasized the positive, which made him a special coach. He coached around 800+ golfers and claimed a pair of Northeast Iowa Conference titles. Even after retirement, he stayed in touch with many of his athletes.
Golf was a common love with Howard and Darlene; that love of golf was passed onto their children and their families. Howard was very involved at Hickory Grove Golf Course in Oelwein for many years; whether it was playing on the men’s league or working in the shop. Howard and Darlene both golfed up into their 80’s and even last summer at 87 years old, Howard enjoyed several golf outings with his children and grandchildren.
Howard loved golf but he was also an avid sports fan in general. For more than 30 years, he was the scoreboard operator for the Huskies home football and basketball games. In his younger years he refereed for basketball games. The Huskies athletics held a special place in his heart. Howard was also an avid Iowa Hawkeyes and Minnesota Vikings fan. He regularly attended sporting events and extracurricular activities of his children and grandchildren; he was their biggest fan and supporter.
Howard was most certainly the patriarch of his family that he and Darlene created. He was the most incredible husband, dad, grandpa and great-grandpa. His family truly meant so much to him and he and Darlene both worked very hard to have individual and close relationships with all of their children and grandchildren. He was a mentor, teacher, leader, and coach…on and off the golf course. He was the best story-teller imaginable and could recall memories with such detail. He also had the most contagious laugh and sense of humor. Klatt gatherings were always full of laughter. His family will greatly miss that “grandpa Klatt” laugh. Howard loved his coffee, swishy pants and the simpler things in life such as sitting out on the deck on a quiet morning and admiring the view (especially if it was a golf course). His presence was always consistent and always felt among his family and for years in the Oelwein community. His teachings will continue to leave a lasting legacy of love, laughter, faith and family.
Howard was ready to be reunited in heaven with his wife Darlene, whom he missed dearly since her passing in 2020 and his daughter, Kelly who passed unexpectedly in 2019. Howard is also reunited with his parents, Howard (Evelyn) Klatt; parents-in-law, Louis and Olive Larson; brother, Robert “Bob” Klatt and sister-in-law, Janet Sivinski.
Those left to cherish his memory and carry on his legacy include his children: Tim (Cindy) Klatt, Dan (Shana Holland Lair) Klatt, Mike (Amy) Klatt, Terri (Kevin) Makinster, Deb (Al) Price and Marc (Alma Goodwin) Klatt; son-in-law, Darrin Amundson; 27 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; brother-in-law, Roger (Cheryl) Larson; sister-in-law, Lois Klatt and extended family and many friends.
The Klatt family would like to express their utter gratitude to all the staff and residents of the Western Home Community, where Howard made many friends over the course of the last 4.5 years and to the staff at UnityPoint Health-Allen Hospital for their exceptional care and kindness. In expression of sympathy, cards or memorials may be sent to the Geilenfeld-Buehner Funeral Home, 309 1st Avenue NE in Oelwein, IA 50662.