Thomas E. Ketchbaw
(May 29, 1922 October 30, 2008)
Thomas E. Ketchbaw passed away Thursday, October 30th, at the age of 86.
Ketch is survived by his wife: Donna Dellinger Ketchbaw; sons Danny Ketchbaw of Albuquerque, NM; Juaquin and wife Michelle Ketchbaw of Austin, TX; daughters Claudia Butts of Splendora, TX; Kodie Ann Ketchbaw of Nashville, TN; grandchildren Sammy Butts II and Danny Ray Butts. He was preceded in death by one daughter: Veronica Ketchbaw.
Ketch was chosen to play "Taps" for fallen Marines due to his exceptional talent with the trumpet. It was an honor he was emotionally proud of. He was a "Rifle Sharpshooter" weapons specialist in the Marine Corps. He was VP of Texas Judo Black Belt Federation, and had the rank of 5th Degree black belt in Judo. He taught Judo until the age of 82. He was also a 32 degree Mason.
He was owner & president of Houston Gamma Ray Company, a radiographic inspection company of pipeline welded seams. He was the only independent contractor hired on the Alaska Pipeline project. He ran welding schools & tested all welders who came to work on the pipeline; his company, Gamma Ray was in charge of inspection of all welded pipe seams on the Alyeska pipeline project. His biography is written in the pipeliner's book Men of Achievement because he was a pioneer in the field of radiographic inspection of pipeline welded seams. He designed the "Snoopy" crawler which is used today in large pipe inspection.
He founded the Marine Corps League in South Texas: the Wintergarden Detachment where he served as President for 2 years. When he moved to Fredericksburg, he founded the Marine Corps League Hill Country Detachment 1051. He was a licensed instrument rated private pilot & owned and flew 19 airplanes in his flying career. Flying, next to Judo, was his passion. He loved to hunt and fish as far south as Mexico and as far north as Canada. Services will be held Monday, November 3rd, at 3 PM, in the chapel of Fredericksburg Funeral Home. memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association or the charity of one's choice.
Fredericksburg Funeral Home, Fredericksburg, TX