William F. Kettenbach

Lewiston Morning Tribune
Thursday, January 6, 1938

Wm. Kettenbach Taken By Death

Heart Attack Fatal To Pioneer Business Man Who Came Here In 1878

William F. Kettenbach, 63, resident of Lewiston since 1878, and prominently identified with financial, commercial and civic interests of the city since early manhood, passed away following a heart attack yesterday morning at the home of his daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Skillern, 522 Fourth avenue, where he had been recuperating from a recent illness and major operation.

He was first stricken at 4 a.m. After a physician administered emergency treatment he fell to sleep and passed away at 9:30 o'clock. Mr. Kettenbach apparently had been recovering from his recent illness, being out of bed each day and had commented that he felt improved in health.

Resident Here 60 Years

Mr. Kettenbach was born Nov. 1, 1874, at Indianapolis, Ind., where his father was engaged in the wholesale and retail grocery business and later operated a hardware store. His father's investments were wiped out in the panic of 1877 and the following year the family moved to Lewiston, where Mr. Kettenbach, Sr., first secured a position as bookkeeper and later served as agent for the Oregon Railway & Navigation Co. His father then established the first general insurance business in Lewiston and, in 1883, he founded the old Lewiston National bank, of which John Brearley was first president.

Mr. Brearley died soon after the bank was established and Mr. Kettenbach, Sr., then served as president until his death in September, 1891. Mr. Kettenbach prospered in his business affairs and acquired large property holdings in Lewiston and surrounding territory, including valuable timber lands in the Clearwater forests.

W. F. Kettenbach, who attended the public schools in Lewiston, was a student at Butler university, Irvington, Ind., when Mr. Kettenbach, Sr., was taken by death. He returned to Lewiston and succeeded his father as president of the Lewiston National bank and managed his extensive capital investments. At the time, then 25, he was the youngest president of a national bank in the United States, serving for 10 years. Mr. Kettenbach had not actively engaged in business in recent years, devoting his time to management of his real estate holdings.

Prominent Sportsman

Mr. Kettenbach took an athletic interest in sports and outdoor activities. He was coach and a player on the first Lewiston football team, which competed with Washington State college, the University of Idaho and other leading teams of the northwest in the early '90s, and was an organizer of the old Lewiston Athletic club, also holding membership in the Multnomah Athletic club at Portland. In recent years golf was his principal recreation and he was ranked among the top players of the Inland Empire, winning the Lewiston city championship in 1929 and 1933, and competing in many state and regional tournaments. He was instrumental in organizing the first golf club in Lewiston in 1910. In his younger days he also was an expert baseball and tennis player and, at Butler university, was a member of the varsity baseball, football and track teams.

Mr. Kettenbach was married Oct. 17, 1895,to Miss Mary Jane White, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. D. M. White, among the early pioneers of Idaho. He is survived by his widow; three daughters, Mrs. E. V. Lorenz and Mrs. S. C. Skillern of Lewiston, and Mrs. Dryden Eberhart, of Evanston, Ill., and a sister, Mrs. Charles Pfafflin, of Indianapolis.

Mr. Kettenbach took an active part in many civic and fraternal organizations. He was a member of Rho chapter of Sigma Chi fraternity at Butler university, of Lewiston lodge No. 896 of the Elks, and other organizations.

The body is at the Brower-Wann chapel. Funeral arrangements have not been completed.

Contributed by Natalie Huntley

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