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William Lewis Kliefoth

Obituary for William Lewis Kliefoth

February 13, 2019
Bristol, Pennsylvania


William Lewis Kliefoth was born in Endicott, New York on November 24, 1923 to William Edward Kliefoth and Margaret Lewis Kliefoth. He was married to his loving wife Vera Tomlinson Kliefoth for 48 years before she preceded him in death. Bill died on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 at the age of 95. He resided in Yardley for nearly 70 years and is survived by his four loving children; Nancy Gillespie McAllister (Brooks), William "Brud" Kliefoth (Allyson), Sharon Barberides (David), and Wayne Kliefoth (Kimberly). He also leaves to cherish his memory 12 grandchildren; Jonathan Gillespie ( Joanna), Ashley Costello (Dan), Stephen Kliefoth, Bryan Kliefoth (Kristin), Heather Kliefoth, Katherine Barberides, Laura Roberts (Tim), Stephen Barberides, William Kliefoth (Mac), Sean Kliefoth, Reagan Kliefoth, Shannon Kliefoth and one great grandson, Peter William Roberts.

Following graduation from Maytown High School, Bill attended Parks Air College prior to enlisting in the US Army Air Corps to do his part in the World War II war effort. Upon completion from pilot training, he flew the P-40 Warhawk, and was assigned to P-51 Mustang training when WWII concluded. Once discharged from the Army Air Corps, he continued his education at Spartan College of Aeronautics in Tulsa, and Rising Sun School of Aeronautics in Philadelphia. He founded Trenton Building Block, but took every flying job from banner towing, to crop dusting, to small aircraft deliveries.

While continuing to build flying hours, he landed a Cessna 195 on State Street in front of the New Jersey State Capital building during afternoon rush hour as a publicity stunt to sell Cessna aircraft. His 32-year Pan Am career took him to over 110 countries and countless cities, flying planes such as the luxurious Boeing Stratocruiser, Boeing 707 and iconic Boeing 747. Celebrity passengers included Charles Lindbergh, Charlton Heston, Robert F. Kennedy, Paul McCartney, Walter Cronkite and heart transplant surgeon, Dr. Christiaan Barnard. Pan Am selected Bill to pilot numerous special flights, such as two extensive charters for President Sukarno of Indonesia, US presidential press charters, and a 5-week, all-first class world tour. Bill was recognized by Pan Am by becoming a check navigator, a check captain, and was offered the position of Chief Pilot at Pan Am's JFK airport base, to which he responded, "Thanks for the honor, but I didn't take this job to sit behind a desk."

For more than 70 years, Bill was an active member of Calvary Baptist Church in Bristol, PA serving as a deacon, a trustee, as well as on Calvary's mission board for many years. He led a Bible study group for 30+ years, visited missionaries all over the world, and served the Lord in many other ministries. Bill possessed a zest for learning, a passion for travel, a natural interest in people, all while sharing his faith with others, generously supporting many missionaries and various organizations, and gently demonstrating what integrity means, while living his beliefs. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Relatives and friends are invited to Bill's Life Celebration on Sunday, February 17, 2019 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Dunn-Givnish of Langhorne, 378 S. Bellevue Ave. Langhorne, PA 19047 and again on Monday, February 18, 2019 from 10:00-11:00 a.m. at Calvary Baptist Church, 250 Green Ln., Bristol, PA 19007 followed by his funeral service at 11:00 a.m. Interment will follow in Newtown Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, designated donations may be made in his memory to Calvary Baptist Church, 250 Green Lane, Bristol, PA 19007 or to the Pan Am Historical Foundation, (in memory of Captain Bill Kliefoth), 1559-B Sloat Blvd. #144, San Francisco, CA 94132

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Dunn-Givnish Funeral Home

378 South Bellevue Avenue
Langhorne, PA 19047
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