Dr. Karl Kieth Kreth, 88, retired periodontist and private pilot, was cleared for departure from this earth on January 5, 2021. Kieth was born August 8, 1932 in Collier, Kansas to Karl Albert Conrad Kreth and Ella (McBride) Kreth. He attended Balboa High School in the former Panama Canal Zone, where he lettered in football, baseball, water polo, track, and discus. Kieth graduated in 1954 from Arkansas A&M (now the University of Arkansas at Monticello), lettering in football and playing baseball. Kieth earned a DDS in periodontics in 1958 from the University of Kansas City Dental College (now the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry) and was a member of the Psi Omega Professional Fraternity for Dentistry. He completed an MSD at Baylor University School of Dentistry in Dallas, Texas in 1964. Kieth also served in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service from 1958-66 achieving the rank of Lt. Commander.
Kieth established a private periodontal practice in Little Rock in 1966. He taught at the University of Arkansas Dental Hygiene School and delivered presentations about dental hygiene to nurses employed by the Little Rock Public Schools. He served as Secretary/Treasurer, Vice President, and President of the Central District Dental Society and was a member of the Southwest Society of Periodontists and the American Academy of Periodontology. Dr. Kreth was beloved by his patients, students, colleagues, and staff.
Over the years, Kieth’s hobbies included photography, recreational camping, motorcycling, and flying radio-controlled airplanes and helicopters; throughout the 1960s and 70s, he was a member of the Mid-Arkansas Radio Control Society. When his wife, Evelyn, obtained a VFR pilot license in 1980, Kieth, not to bested, focused on obtaining an IFR license.
Kieth retired in 1991 to live the dream expressed by American aviator Len Morgan: “The way I see it, you can either work for a living or you can fly airplanes. Me, I’d rather fly.” Kieth became an active member of the North Little Rock Aero Club, the Experimental Aircraft Owners Association, and the Flying Dentists Association. He kept a hangar at the North Little Rock Airport, and over the years owned and flew a variety of aircraft, including a Cessna 172, Cessna Cardinal, Cessna 190-195, a Skybolt, and a Taylorcraft L2 Grasshopper; he also built an RV4, RV6, and RV8.
Survivors include his wife and co-pilot, Martha Evelyn (Inman) Kreth; a sister, Eloise Allen of Little Rock; two daughters, Melinda Kreth of Mt. Pleasant, Michigan; and Desha McCluskey and husband Scott of Sherwood, Arkansas; a son, Kelly Kreth and wife, Ellen, of Little Rock; and six grandchildren, Paula Kish and husband Byron of Highlands Ranch, Colorado; Chase McCluskey of Cabot, Arkansas; Caden McCluskey of Sherwood, Arkansas; Gracie Kreth of Washington D.C., and Celia Kreth, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Another son, Karl Alex Kreth, predeceased Kieth on April 30, 2019.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to the Tribute of Life Foundation at Hospice Home Care (2200 S. Bowman, Suite A, Little Rock AR 72211) or the Arkansas Foodbank (4301 W 65th St, Little Rock AR 72209).
Visitation will be 9:30-10:30 AM, Thursday, January 28, 2021 at Smith North Little Rock Funeral Home. Graveside service will follow at 11:00 AM at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock.
State of AR COVID-19 directives: Face coverings required. Maintain social distancing.
Arrangements by Smith North Little Rock Funeral Home, 1921 Main St, North Little Rock, AR 72114, 501-758-1170.
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