Obituaries | Eastgate Funeral Home
August 23, 1931 August 11, 2020
August 23, 1931 -- August 11, 2020

Paul Fredrick Koeltzow

Colonel Paul F. Koeltzow Born: 8/23/1931 Died: 8/11/2020 United States Air Force Military Service: 1951 - 1975 Procession, Interment Service - NorthTX PGR.org Vietnam War: 1967 & 1974-1975 Paul Koeltzow was born August 23, 1931, in Millington, Michigan. He attended Tuscola County Teachers College where he met Frances Hutchinson, whom he later married on September 8, 1951. After teaching for a year in the Michigan County Normal school system, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1951, and was commissioned an Air Force 2d Lt in Sept. 1953. Lt Koeltzow completed pilot training and earned his pilot wings at Webb AFB, Texas, followed by F-86 Sabre Combat Crew Training. Lt. and then Capt. Koeltzow served as an F-86 Saber and F-101 Voodoo pilot from 1955 to 1962, and then attended F-105 ThunderChief Combat Crew Training and was a F-105 pilot from 1962 to 1966. Maj Koeltzow served as an Operations Inspector OIR with Headquarters U.S. Air Forces –Europe thru Feb. 1967. Maj. Koeltzow then served as an F-105 pilot with the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Korat Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, till Sept. 1967, where he flew 106 combat missions. Maj. and then Lt. Koeltzow was next assigned to the 561st Tactical Fighter Training Squadron / 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing at McConnell AFB, Kansas. Lt. Col Koeltzow attended the USAF Air War College and received his Masters Degree in Political Science at Auburn University in 1971. Lt. Col Koeltzow followed with service on the staff of the 6003rd Support Squadron at Hickam AFB, Hawaii. Col Koeltzow served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations with 13th Air Force at Clark AFB in the Philippines from 1973 to 1974, and then as Vice Commander of the 56th Special Operations Wing at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai AFB, Thailand until his retirement on September 1, 1975. Over 24 years of service in the U.S. Air Force, Col. Koeltzow received 19 Combat awards for Valor during the Vietnam campaign. They include the 'Air Force Cross', the 'Silver Star', the 'Legion of Merit', three (3) 'Distinguished Flying Cross', and a total of fourteen (14) 'A.F. Air Medals'. He also wore the Presidential Unit Citation, and two (2) Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards (w/ Valor). After retirement, Paul Koeltzow dedicated himself to the betterment of the Dallas Unified School District reading programs and pushed for the improvement of students' reading abilities. Over the years, he spent considerable effort in the pursuit of lobbying the Texas State Legislators and the Governor of Texas to strive that Reading remain a top priority of the school systems in the State of Texas. Paul was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Frances M. (Hutchinson) Koeltzow, his brother David L. Koeltzow and his son-in-law Wesley Coffey. He is survived by his sister Mary Jane Gould, Paul & Fran's four children, Ronald Koeltzow, David Koeltzow, Sally Sandler, and Cathy Coffey, his two daughters-in-law Teresa Koeltzow, and Sharon Koeltzow, and his son-in-law Fabian Sandler. He also had seven grandchildren: Paul, Michael (wife Alee) & Karen Koeltzow, Amanda and Makayla Koeltzow, and Evan (wife Alyssa) and Jacob Sandler; and, four great-grandchildren: Logan Paul Koeltzow, Andrew Sandler, Tucker Sandler, and, the newest Koeltzow born just this week, Olivia Grace Koeltzow. My Dad was my hero. As I was growing up, like many people, my Dad was my hero. He provided a good home for us. But, even better, he and Mom provided a good home life for us. He gave us good rules to live by. We were allowed to be noisy as long as it was happy noises. When it got to be unhappy or contentious, Dad would say, "That's enough." And, woe betide the child that had to have that last word. Dad made sure that we knew where the line was and made sure that we all knew that crossing the line came with consequences. He also made sure that we felt loved, even when we did things that weren't likeable. My dad took us to church and/or Sunday school every Sunday. He taught us that a promise was not to be broken. He taught us to be punctual. He taught us to give compliments. Most of all, he taught us to make sure that we lived our life without regrets. My Dad was a fighter pilot so there was no way of knowing when he left for work if he would ever come back. So, the whole family said "I love you" a lot. He taught my brothers to be strong and manly. But he also taught them that there was no shame in crying when you were hurting. My Dad was an amateur athlete in the truest sense of the word. He loved playing sports. He was often on the base or wing softball or basketball teams. As family entertainment, we would go watch Dad play ball. He was a solid, but not a great, softball player. He was better at basketball. Dad was our first coach. He didn't yell at us if we failed to catch on. He would patiently explain things as long as we were trying. He and my 2 brothers, Ron and Dave, would often go to the gym and challenge some young GI's (20-25 year olds) to a pickup game. My Dad being in his 40's and my brothers in their teens, the GI's would think they had an easy game to play. They were so often wrong. Later, when Dad was in more of a command position, he played golf and tennis. He coached both my sister and I. We both made our high school tennis teams. We seldom heard about how his day went but he was always interested in how the family's day had gone. We had dinner as a family and we all had the chance to share what was going on in our lives. My Dad made sure that praise was given publicly. If we needed to be reprimanded, he made sure he did that privately. He wanted to correct our behavior without tearing us down emotionally. It wasn't until many years later that I figured out why my Dad didn't talk much about work. My Dad had top secret clearance and many of his missions were classified. He took that very seriously. After 24 years in the Air Force, my Dad was given the assignment of going to the Pentagon. He and Mom made the decision that it wasn't what he wanted for his career nor for the family. If we had moved to the D.C. area, I would have been bussed to a school that was across town. So, he decided it was time to retire from the Air Force. My sister was in her senior year in high school so we stayed an extra year in Michigan to allow her to finish up in the school that she had been attending. We then moved to Texas for Dad to attend Southern Methodist University's School of Theology. (An old injury from his flying days prevented him from finishing the program.) One afternoon, I sat down and started going through the family scrapbook. It was only then that I realized that my Dad was not only my hero, but also, a hero. I read the newspaper articles that had been written about him. He set cross-country flying records. He flew his "100 missions" over Vietnam and received merit and/or valor commendations for 19 of them. These included the Air Force Cross, which is the second highest award for valor that the Air Force can bestow. (The highest medal being the Congressional Medal of Honor.) One evening, my Dad and I went to see the movie, The Right Stuff. After watching the movie, I commented about the role that Chuck Yeager had played as a test pilot. My Dad mentioned that he had been Chuck Yeager's training pilot for the F-105. On a different occasion, Mom, Dad and I went to see the movie, We Were Soldiers. As part of the movie, there was a listing of all of the military men that had died in the battle that was portrayed. When we left the theater, my Dad mentioned that one of his friends had been listed and that he had never known how his friend had died before going to that movie. Having insights like these made these movies even better in my eyes than they already were. One day, my brother Ron and his wife Terry called to talk to Mom and Dad and get some advice. It seems their son was having difficulties in school. He had not been able to learn how to read and he was about to enter the fourth grade. Dad said he would do some research and see if he could come up with a plan of action. My Dad did his research and he and Mom hauled their travel trailer to Florida and tested his theories on Ron's son. In 2 months, Dad taught Ron's son to read. It was knowing that it wasn't the child that couldn't be taught. It was the method that the schools were using to teach reading that seemed to be the problem. Dad decided that the situation impacted more than his grandson and that, if the schools knew about the problem, they would rectify the problem. So, dad set out on a campaign to educate the schools that led him from the schools, to the school boards, to the Texas Department of Education and, finally, to the Texas State Legislature. He volunteered his time, his money and, at times, we thought maybe even his sanity. He couldn't understand how people whose job it was to make sure children got a good education could be aware that there was a better way to teach out there and not move heaven and earth to get it put into the curriculum. He continued until he had written a bill that had a majority from both the House of Legislators and the Senate either signed on as co-authors or confirmed as backing the bill if it came to the floor. Unfortunately, the House and the Senate Chairpersons for the Education subcommittees stalled the bill in subcommittee and it never made it to a vote in the Texas Legislature. (However, when then-Governor Bush became President Bush, he signed a modified version of my father's bill into federal law. It was called the "No Child Left Behind" act.) My Dad was my hero because of how he cared for and raised his family. My Dad was my hero because of how he treated my siblings and, especially, my Mom, with honor, respect and loving devotion. My dad was my hero because he was passionate about what he did and about how he did it. My Dad was my hero because he never asked me to live up to his standards, he asked me to live up to my own standards. My Dad was a hero because he served his country with honor and distinction. My Dad was a hero because he served mankind with passion and tenacity.