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Earl Duane Katz, 83

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Earl Duane Katz, age 86 of New Hampton, died Tuesday Dec. 27, 2022, at Regional Health Services in Cresco.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 5, 2022, at Redeemer Lutheran Church in New Hampton with the Rev. Peter Faugstad officiating.

Chantal Denner, Eddie Denner, Alli Denner, Wesley Christensen, Hope Katz, Owen Katz and Claire Christensen will be serving as pallbearers with Ricki Glenn and James Denner serving as honorary pallbearers.

Friends may greet the family from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2022, at Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory in New Hampton.  Visitation continues an hour prior to the service on Thursday at the church.

Earl’s life of love and tinkering began on April 20, 1936, when his parents, Edward and Viola Katz, welcomed him into the world at the old St. Joseph’s Hospital in New Hampton. He grew up and attended school in New Hampton, where everyone knew him as Buster.

After high school, Buster enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and he served as an aircraft mechanic for four years that included time in Texas and overseas in Japan.

After receiving his honorable discharge, he returned to New Hampton, where he worked as a mechanic and also continued to serve his country in the Air National Guard for many years.

The real mark Buster made in life was with his family. He met Annetta Knutson when he returned home from the service, the two were married on Feb. 20, 1960, beginning a wonderful 60-year marriage that was filled with love and happy memories.

The couple had four children — Brenda, Cindy, Dawn and Joshua — who grew up with a father whose family was his pride and joy. He loved taking the kids hunting, fishing, going to their school events and taking the old retired school bus into a hauler/camper for his stock cars. Over the years, he won many races, but the important part of racing to him wasn’t taking the checkered flag but it was the fact that it was a family affair. The Katz kids remember fondly the times spent with Dad in the garage, where Buster could fix anything and everything.

He was so mechanically inclined it was crazy.  He loved working on his cars, but it didn’t really matter what it was. If he could get his hands on it, Buster could fix it.

Buster was a great father, but he was an even better grandfather to Chantal, Eddie, Claire, Alli, Wesley, Hope and Owen. Proud doesn’t begin to describe Buster when it came to the super seven grandchildren that God gave him. And even though he was a great grandfather before, when he officially became one to Ricki Joe and James Carol, oh my, how he loved them and the pride it gave him.

Through it all, Annetta was at his side, and they made for a wonderful couple, who always put others before themselves.

Buster had a smile that lit up the world. He loved all God’s creatures, which make it so hard for all of those who knew him to say goodbye, but one of his granddaughters may have summed up the news of his death best with these words:

“It feels bittersweet. Selfishly wishing he was still here, but knowing Grandpa is finally with his love brings peace. Rest in paradise Buster Katz.”

Amen, and thanks for the memories that you gave all of us throughout a life well-lived and full of love.

Buster is survived by his four children, Brenda (Jeff) Hanna of Clear Lake, Cindy (Kent) Christensen of Keller, Texas, Dawn (Billy) Edgar of Elma, and Joshua (Jessica) Katz of Kernersville, North Carolina; seven grandchildren) Chantal (Mathew Glenn) Denner, Eddie (Emma) Denner, Claire Christensen, Alli Denner, Wesley Christensen, Hope Katz and Owen Katz; and two great-granddaughters, Ricki Joe Glenn and James Carol Denner; one brother, Roger (Karen) Katz of New Hampton; two sisters, Rose Baltes of New Hampton, Robyn (Jason) Profit of New Hampton; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Annetta, in 2020; and two sisters, Connie (Gary) Finnegan and Sally Katz.

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