by Jerry Vaughn
D. B. Kline submitted his application to join the Bay Yacht Club on February 22, 1976 along with a check for $100 initiation fee plus $15 for the first month’s dues. He was assigned member number 244. At the time he had a Ranger 23 named Izarra. D.B. has been an Active member, a Senior member when the Club had that category, back to an Active member and finally the membership of the Club voted to name him a Life member in recognition of his many years of service. The Life membership was the result of a unanimous vote at the April, 2009 General Membership Meeting.
D. B. would never tell anyone at the Club what the initials stood for. In his 1995 poem presented at the annual Installation Banquet, Tom Arnold told everyone that they stood for Desmond Bartholomew. Of course this wasn’t right. They actually stood for Darwin Burdett but for the years after that poem he was often jokingly called Desmond or Desmond Bartholomew.
D.B. was elected as a director in 1983, 1989 and 1990 and as Commodore in 1991. He edited the Bowsprit for 11 years, from 1994 through 2004. He received the Commodore’s Trophy in 1992 and was awarded the Harkrider Trophy twice, in 1995 and again in 2005. D.B. was always ready to help the Club in any way that he could and also to help other sailors, Club members or not. He was known for his good sense of humor and his enormous stock of stories, both of adventures and mishaps on the water and of his time in the Army Air Corps and the Air Force.
D.B.’s last boat was a Cal 25, Mk II named Mistress. The boat used an outboard rather than an inboard diesel. For many years he racedMistress every Wednesday night and in most weekend regattas. This was during the time when Wednesday night races drew 30 to as many as 50 plus boats. D.B. knew the race rules and unfailingly followed them. He had a well honed sense of honor about the race rules and how they should be followed. After his retirement from KMart, D.B. left the marina sometime in November on a single handed trip to the Bahamas, returning the following July. He followed the ICW around the Gulf both ways and, according to him, had an absolute ball. Various friends and relatives joined him for short segments of the trip but the only parts of the voyage that he insisted on having a crew member along for safety were in his two crossings of the Gulf Stream between Florida and the Bahamas. It was after this trip that he and Lois were married. D.B. had a lot of experience in long distance sailing. He made the Vera Cruz race as a crew member more than once and helped various friends bring boats back from the Caribbean.
D.B. will be greatly missed by the members of the Bay Yacht Club.
Darwin Burdett 'D.B.' Kline, 85, passed away Saturday, June 19, 2010. Kline was born 22 February 1925 in Huntington, Indiana to Dewey Schley Kline and Gladys Margaurite Kline.
He is survived by his wife, Lois L. Kline of Corpus Christi, Texas; two sons Michael Smith Kline of St. Charles, Illinois and Steven Rea Kline of Seguin, Texas; sister Joan Marcel Benson of Huntington, Indiana, three grandchildren, Amanda Rea Kline, Jenna Michele Kline and Michael Raymond Kline of St. Charles, Illinois; three step grandchildren, Brandi Williams of Seguin, Texas, Misty Michelle Fuqua Klager and Rachell Fuqua; four step great-grandchildren, Nathan Alexander Guerrero, Jasmine Elizabeth Fuqua Klager, Hailey Rosales and Ashlyn Trulove.
He is a graduate of Huntington Township High School, Huntington, Indiana. He entered Military Service in June of 1943 first assigned to the Army Engineers and later was selected for Army Air Cadet training. He graduated from Pilot Training on 11 March 1945 at Moody Field Georgia with the rank of Flight Officer. He was ultimately assigned to the Troop Carrier Command and flew twin engine C-47's and C-46's. After WWII hostilities had ceased he left service for a short period of civilian life. He re-entered the Army Air Corps as a Master Sergeant and was one of three enlisted NCOs flying on B-29's in the position of Radar Navigator/Bombardier with the 509th Bomb Group, Strategic Air Command. In 1947, he transferred to the Air and Airways Communications Service (AACS), later renamed the Air Force Communications Service (AFCS) where he began a 22 year career as an Air Traffic Controller. He served extensively in the Alaskan Air Command, Germany and Spain. Several highlights of his service were as the Chief Controller Berlin Control (Germany); American Chief Controller of the Madrid, Spain Air Route Traffic Control Center; and while detached to the Spanish Air Ministry, he taught Radar Air Traffic Control Procedures at the University of Madrid. Kline was also selected by the Department of Defense to command the Air Force Honor Guard at the January 1960 inauguration of President Jack Kennedy.
He holds the Air Force Commendation Medal for assisting Spain with the revision and establishing of air routes and terminal procedures. A second Air Force Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster was awarded for his actions in planning refueling procedures and routes over Spain and the Mediterranean Sea during the Cuban Missile Crisis (Operation Chrome Dome). He retired from the U.S. Air Force on 1 January 1970 with a total of 27 years of service and at the ranks of Chief Master Sergeant and Major USAF Reserve. After retirement, he moved to Corpus Christi, Texas and was a long time member and Past Commodore of the Corpus Christi Texas Bay Yacht Club and a volunteer with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.