R. Chatley Nurtured Fledgling Plane Firms With Enthusiasm

Date: February 19, 1982
Location: Wichita, KS
Newspaper: The Wichita Eagle
Page: 5D

Robert Chatley’s friends remember how he brought professionalism and enthusiasm to the fledgling industry of aviation advertising.

Chatley, a native of New York, worked in aircraft sales and advertising for three Wichita companies in the 1940s through the 1960s. He died Feb. 11, in Oklahoma City, after he apparently was trapped in freezing water following an automobile accident near his home. He was 59.

While spending World War II as a fighter pilot, Chatley made friends with Vic Yingling of Yingling Aircraft Inc. Yingling convinced Chatley to become an airplane salesman in Wichita after the war.

Chatley’s friend, Gifford Booth of Wichita, recalled, “Those were the days when we expected that there would be an airplane in every garage.

“Bob was a dynamic salesman, a born optimist, the kind of guy you wanted in a job like that.”

His success encouraged Cessna to hire him as advertising and sales promotion manager in 1949. For the next 15 years, Chatley coordinated the company’s advertising campaigns, sales brochures and sales meetings.

Near the end of his tenure, the Wichita Area Chamber of Commerce put him in touch with Bill Lear of Gates Learjet in hopes he could help convince the company to locate in Wichita. Chatley was so successful that Lear hired him as a marketing manager.

He later worked for Rockwell International in St. Louis and Oklahoma City before taking an early retirement in 1979.

While in St. Louis, he was among the founders of the Wings of Hope program, a non-profit agency supplying aircraft and replacement parts to missionaries.

In July 1980, he joined GKD Advertising firm in Oklahoma City, specializing in aviation-related clients.

Survivors include his wife, Margaret; his mother, Irene, Hamburg, N.Y.; a son, Bruce, Sausalito, Calif.; a daughter, Betty Lou Spurgeon, Hamilton Woods, Mich.; a stepdaughter, Pamela Kerr, and a stepson, Jerry Bridgens, both in Oklahoma City; five brothers, John of St. Clair, Mich., Francis of Vermillion, Ohio, Ira and Walter of Hamburg, and George of Palm Beach, Fla.; five sisters, Agnes Kirloff of Hamburg, Isabel Schultz of Lake View, N.Y., Shirley Schumer and Ella Reger of Hamburg, and Rita Chatley; and nine grandchildren.

Services were held Monday in Oklahoma City. Memorials may be sent in his name to Wings of Hope, 2319 Hampton, St. Louis, Mo. 63139.

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