As told by Charlie Huggins (MHS Class of 1964)
Eddie Klatt graduated the same year as me, 1964. We had gone to school together at South Elementary, Cowden Junior High and Midland High School, Odessa College and North Texas State University. I was friends with him until his passing in June of 2020. I used to love calling him to talk about old times. We had a lot of good memories. I remember the first year that we arrived at North Texas University in 1966. Eddie, another classmate of ours, Butch Parks, and I all roomed together in an apartment close to the North Texas campus. The three of us shared the very small apartment with three half beds. There was not very much room there. At the end of the semester, I decided to stay in the same apartment complex but to move to an efficiency apartment by myself. This would allow Butch and Eddie to remain in the first apartment and have more room. We all hung out together and we had some good times. Eddie went to school at North Texas until 1968, and then he moved back to Midland. Eddie joined the fire department shortly thereafter. He remained with the Midland Fire Department for 32 years and his last held position there was Assistant Fire Chief. Eddie’s father had been a Fire Marshal back in the day, and Eddie was familiar with being a fire fighter. My son, Josh, is also a fire fighter and he is a Captain. Eddie and I used to talk about my son and Eddie was glad to know that my son was also a fire fighter. Being a fire fighter was Eddie’s life and he was really well respected. When Eddie died in June, they had a graveside service and they played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes. It was very beautiful. Even though his service was during the COVID-19 pandemic, many people came to the service because many people knew him. He had lived in Midland almost all of his life. Eddie was married to Cindy Shoeman. They were married for over 30 years and lived on West Holloway.
In the later years, I would call Eddie every month and talk to him. We would talk about old times and talk about people that we knew and people that had passed away. I had known Eddie almost all of my life and I sure do miss him. He was just a really good guy.
During the college years, Butch and Eddie joined a fraternity called, “The Diesels”. It was a local fraternity and was not nationally affiliated. They did not call their people “pledges”, they called them “prospects.” They were a wild bunch and would kind of remind you of the fraternity in the movie, “Animal House.” They talked me into joining the fraternity in the Fall 1968 (my Senior year). I really only had one semester where I was a full-fledged member. I have a lot of fond memories and I am glad that I did it. I lived in the fraternity house my last year at North Texas.
Butch Parks graduated North Texas with a degree in Physical Education (PE) and a minor in Industrial Arts. He coached for one year and didn’t like it so he went back to North Texas and got a Masters Degree in Industrial Arts. He and his wife, Kay, went to Indonesia and taught school to the Americans that were in Indonesia on the Army Base. They taught there for 2 years. They moved back and bought a house in East Texas. Butch taught Industrial Arts there until he retired. His wife taught at a Junior College there, too. They had 2 boys. In 2011, Butch died suddenly of a heart attack. I was shocked and I really miss him. He went to South Elementary, Cowden Junior High, Midland High School, Odessa College and North Texas. At Odessa College, he played baseball for two years. He was an excellent baseball player. His position was right field. He was a left handed pitcher and hitter. We were life long friends until he passed away.
John Barker went to the University of Texas at Arlington. After graduation, he joined the Army. It was during the time of Vietnam in the late 1960s. He became a helicopter pilot. From what I understand, he was awarded quite a few medals for his bravery and work there. He did not discuss it very much. He wasn’t the kind of guy that would do that. One of his teachers from junior high, David LeMaster, kept up with him all of those years. When John passed away, David wanted everyone to know about those medals John had received. John was married to a young lady named Becky Dillard. Becky also went to South Elementary, Cowden Junior High and Midland High School. Becky has some children from a previous marriage. John loved those kids as if they were his own. He was most proud of being called, “Grandpa.”
The four of us, grew up together and really enjoyed one another’s company. I have been fortunate to have some very wonderful friends from Midland.