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American Patriotic 11


Dr. Carl Kostol

May 17, 1922 ~ March 14, 2018 (age 95)
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Carl Richard Kostol was born May 7, 1922 in Baker, Oregon to Lars Severn Kostol and Millie Ricco Kostol. His sister, Edna Annette, joined the family 7 years later.  He spent his childhood attending Baker schools, and summers in the Prairie City area, working with his uncles on their ranches. He played football and basketball, skied, hunted and fished, and enjoyed the outdoor offerings of Eastern Oregon.

Carl joined the National Guard during high school and they were mobilized in the summer of 1940. He applied for pilot training in the Army Air Corp in 1942.  By the end of his cadet training, he was certified to fly both P-38 fighter planes and B-25 bombers. He was eventually assigned to the 11th Bombardment Squadron, 341st Bombardment Group in the 14th Air Force (also known as the Reorganized Flying Tigers) and stationed at an airbase in Kweilin, China. Following 36 exciting and successful missions, Lieutenant Kostol's plane was shot down after bombing the Kiukiang railroad yard on the Shanghai River.  Over the next 30 days, Chinese guerillas escorted him 200 miles through Japanese territory and another 250 miles to his squadron at Kweilin.

Carl was awarded the Purple Heart for a battle wound, an Air Medal, and the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters. He was honorably discharged from the Air Force in 1944.

Carl attended the University of Washington. At an Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity/sorority exchange, he met a young Chi Omega coed, Virginia Lee Benson, of Hoquiam, Washington.  He then attended medical school at McGill University, in Montreal, Canada. Carl and Virginia carried on a long distance courtship until she graduated. They were married in 1949, and she joined him in Quebec as he finished medical school. His residency was completed at Providence Hospital, Portland, in 1953 and they moved to Baker to begin his medical practice by joining Dr. Palmer McKim at the Baker Clinic. Their first son, Carl Steven Kostol, was born that same year, followed in regular intervals by Teresa, Cristyn and Lars (known as Casey as a child). In the late 60s, Carl, along with Palmer's son, Robert McKim, and Menzie "Kim" McKim, built a new office building on Pocahontas Road and practiced there until his retirement in 1982.

As a general practitioner, Carl provided medical care to many families in Baker County, delivering babies, making house calls, and taking his rotation in the emergency room at Saint Elizabeth's.  He counted many of the nuns not only as colleagues, but also as friends. He served on the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners, Baker County Parks Board, Salvation Army Advisory Board, and Baker City Airport Commission.  He did free Salvation Army camp physicals for children for 25 years. 

Carl took health and fitness very seriously: he was a jogger before jogging was cool. He played basketball at the YMCA and North Baker School until he was 72. As a member of the "Old Timers", he was famous for his orange "Wheaties" sweatshirt and his running set shot. He was one of the founders of the Anthony Lakes Ski Area, and developed many of the runs. He served as the president of the Anthony Lakes Corporation, and served on the board several terms. He remained an avid skier into his late seventies.  

Carl fished all the local streams, rivers and reservoirs constantly, and was sought after for his fishing advice. He took an annual fishing trip to Montana with Bob Love and Jesse Himmelsbach for over 40 years. He tied his own flies, thousands of them, and gave them away freely.  He hunted deer, elk and chukars with friends Boots Rode, Henry Stiltz and Jesse Himmelsbach, as well as his sons.

After retiring from the medical field, Carl took up golf. He and Virginia checked out every new golf course in Central Oregon, and played several times a week at the Baker Golf Club. They also traveled to Hawaii and California to get a little sun and golf each winter for 20 years. He attended the biennial 14th Air Force reunions until they ended, due to lack of surviving veterans. He was featured in OPB's Oregon at War documentary about WWII.

After living a very full and interesting 95 years, Carl passed away on March 14, 2018, with his wife at his side.  His sense of humor stayed with him to the very end.

Carl is survived by his wife of 68 years, Virginia; son Carl S. Kostol and wife Patricia (Tigard, OR) and their sons Brian and Keith; daughter Teresa Droessler and husband Justin (New Brighton, Minnesota) and children Amy Fritz and Mark Droessler; daughter Cristyn Kostol and husband John Marble (Crawfordsville, OR); son Lars Kostol and wife
Carla Kostol (Medford, OR) along with their sons Casey and Kelly; great grandchildren Cy and Isaiah Kostol; brothers-in-law Leonard Woski (Chehalis, WA) and Roger Meusborn (Yakima WA); Meusborn and Woski nieces throughout Washington state, and many Ricco cousins in the Prairie City area.  His sister, Edna Meusborn, passed away just last year.

He was a wonderful husband, father, doctor, friend, outdoorsman, Baker County booster and always a gentleman. He decided the way he wanted his life to be, and he purposely created that life, making this community a better place while he was at it.

The family will hold a private internment at Mt. Hope Cemetery with the Air Force Honor Guard. On Saturday, March 24, 2018 at 12:00 noon, his family invites you to a celebration of Carl's life at Cole's Tribute Center, 1950 Place Street. Bring a story to share!

For those wishing to make a memorial contribution in Dr. Kostol's memory, the family suggests the Salvation Army or the Baker County Historical Society through Coles Tribute Center at 1950 Place Street, Baker City, OR 97814.

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