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Morton Klotz, Class of 1939

Dr. Morton A. Klotz (September 18, 1922 – April 10, 2012), longtime resident of Placerville, died peacefully at home on April 10th.
He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1922. He attended Townsend Harris High School and was a graduate of City College of New York. He served in World War II as a medical technician in the 326th Glider Infantry Regiment of the 13th Airborne Division, known as the “The Lucky 13th”, one of two divisions that never heard a shot fired in anger. After the war he returned to Brooklyn and earned a PhD in organic chemistry at Brooklyn Polytechnic.

In 1956 he married Jean Smith, and moved to Southern California, accepting a position with Aerojet-General Corporation. He stayed with Aerojet for twenty-five years, researching high energy solid rocket propellants, and developed a national reputation in the field. Mort and Jean had three children, and when Aerojet moved operations to Sacramento in 1962, they settled in El Dorado County. Jean and Mort celebrated their 55th anniversary in January.

He took early retirement in 1981 but continued to be active, first teaching astronomy at American River College, and in 1981 became “Dr. Rocket” under Aerojet sponsorship. He visited local high schools and elementary schools, lecturing on rockets, astronomy, and space exploration.

A dedicated amateur photographer from the age of 14, he had several shows in Placerville and Sacramento galleries. He loved nature and enjoyed bird watching and hiking, and was very proud of having climbed Mount Whitney. Another passion was classical music, and he served several terms as president of the El Dorado Community Concert Series.

Mort is survived by his wife, local attorney Jean Klotz, his children, Jim Klotz, Margo Anderson, and Sara Klotz de Aguilar, and his grandsons, James and Robert Anderson.