Skip moved to Kansas City as a child and graduated from Paseo High School in 1948. He studied violin at the Kansas City Conservatory until enlisting in the Air Force in 1951. He played numerous instruments throughout his life and fostered a love of music in his children.
In 1959, Skip married Barbara David. After spending their first married year in Los Angeles, Barby and Skip moved to Gladstone, MO. In 1972 they built a home on a farm north of Weston, MO, near Iatan. During their 43 years at the farm, which they called “Toad Hall,” they enjoyed the wildlife and quiet beauty of country living. In 2015 they moved to a home in the northland of Kansas City.
Aside from being with his family, Skip’s favorite thing was to fly. He served as a Dehmel simulator instructor at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas. Returning to Kansas City, he worked in family businesses while also working as a flight instructor for Trans World Airlines. TWA hired Skip in 1954, made him an international co-pilot on the Lockheed Constellation in 1956, and then a captain in 1966. During a brief furlough from the airline, he instructed and flew charters for Kansas City’s Executive Aircraft. After retiring from TWA in 1986, Skip flew for twelve years for Americo Life insurance Company. Over the course of his life he piloted helicopters, gliders, and hot air balloons. He built his own Stits Playboy and flew a variety of small aircraft, including an Omni autogyro and a Rose Parakeet. For three years, he competed in the National Hot Air Balloon Races in Indianola, Iowa. Skip received the Wright Brothers Award from the Federal Aviation Administration.
During his years as a TWA captain he also taught at the airline’s training center, preparing scores of pilots to fly. He relished the exchange of culture and knowledge with his students from international airlines. He and Barby formed friendships with Aeroméxico students and their families, which contributed to Skip’s lifelong admiration for Mexican culture; he studied Spanish all his life and traveled to Mexico many times, including a tour of the country on his motorcycle.
He participated in numerous organizations, including the Antique Aircraft Association, the Experimental Aircraft Association, the Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame, and Quiet Birdmen. He served Kansas City’s Airline History Museum on its Board of Directors and as Chief Pilot. Recently, he served as a docent at Kansas City’s TWA Museum. Beyond aviation, he was an amateur radio operator, a member of the Weston Historical Museum, and a patron of The Bell Road Barn Playhouse in Parkville. In Gladstone, MO he served as a reserve police officer in charge of the motorcycle division and later he served as a deputy with the Platte County Sheriff’s Department.
Skip was a peacemaker. He was kind, compassionate, generous and open minded. He could repair anything and loved to find or make a needed tool in his vast workshop. He wrote and read daily, sharing a sense of vital curiosity with all who surrounded him. He built buildings and machines, baked bread, grew vegetables, and made friends with people and animals of all kinds. He was ours, we loved our time with him, and we miss him. We wish him blue skies.
Charles “Skip” Gatschet is survived by his wife, Barbara Gatschet; brother, James Gatschet; children, Susan, Charles, and Anne; granddaughters, Rachel, Eva, and Marilyn; great grandchildren, Carter and Amelia, and by many loving friends and relatives.
Services will be held at Meyers Northland Chapel, 401 Main Street, Parkville, MO on Tuesday, July 19, 2022. Visitation at 3:00 PM. Celebration of Life at 4:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, donations in honor of Skip can be made to the TWA Museum, Kansas City, MO. Memories of Skip and condolences to the family may be shared at meyersfuneralchapel.com.