Col. Herb Kalen
  • 87 years old
  • Date of birth: Mar 12, 1929
  • Place of birth:
    Tarrytown, New York, United States
  • Date of passing: Aug 27, 2016
  • Place of passing:
    Panama City, Florida, United States
Let the memory of Herb be with us forever

This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Col. Herb Kalen, 87, born on March 12, 1929 and passed away on August 27, 2016. We will remember him forever.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Sky Akman on 29th September 2016

"Herb, I work in the office where we manage his rental units. I will Miss his phone calls "Hey Sky its Herb" and him coming in and pulling up a chair just to chat, just his sincerity. I will miss you dearly herb, my thoughts and prayers are with your family."

This tribute was added by Kathy Kalen on 27th September 2016

"Linda Gimbel Hughes
September 7 at 10:16pm

For those Trekkers who weren't at the August Social we wanted to let you know that Herb Kalen, one of the Founders of MV Trekkers, passed away August 27.

To honor Herb, it was decided that the Trekkers would make a donation to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. A collection was started & the Trekker treasury will supplement that collection in order to round out the donation dollar figure. If you're interested in contributing, please send a check written out to Moreno Valley Trekkers: P.O. Box 1234, Angel Fire, NM 87710."

This tribute was added by Dick & Boo McPeek on 26th September 2016

"Boo and I were surprised and sorry to hear of Herb's passing. Speaking for all of us who skied with him, he was the embodiment of the Energizer Bunny - after spending the day, trying to keep up with him, and having just about enough energy left to get off the mountain - it was Herb who always said "just one more run - I know where there's still some untracked powder". I'll miss our talk of politics while on the Chili Express or on our way to TSV.  Most of all, I'll miss seeing that faded red ski jacket on the slopes at AF."

This tribute was added by Al & Pam Warren on 21st September 2016

"We met Herb (and Kathy) when we moved to Chino Terrace in Angel Fire.  Herb, Kathy and a bottle of wine came over to greet us! It didn't take us long to realize how fortunate we were to have such a dynamic couple as friends and neighbors.  Herb LIVED every day of his 87 years.  He was a force to be reckoned with--but what a joyful force.  We will miss him terribly."

This tribute was added by Kathy Kalen on 21st September 2016

"Kat Pennington 4:10pm Aug 31
Kathy,  Lee and I were so sorry to hear about Herb, he was a true hero not only to you, but to many, many others. Lee often includes Herb's example of heroism, integrity and leadership in the military classes he instructs. We both loved and held the greatest respect for him. He was many things to many people; if I was asked to describe him, Herb was a humble warrior. We love you Kathy, and if there is anything at all we can do for you, at anytime, please do not hesitate to contact us."

This tribute was added by Debby Welker on 20th September 2016

"I met Herb when we first moved to Angel Fire 7 years ago.  Since then he has always served as a role model for me.  I hope I can still ski when I am 86 years old.  Our first encounter occurred on a Trekker snow shoe kike that he was leading one day after returning from Florida.  The altitude was affecting him a little but I still could not keep up with him on the hike and I am more than 20 years his junior.  And I certainly could not keep up with him when we skied together.  He loved to ski the edges of the trails where there was still some fluffy powder snow.  He would start at the top of the mountain and not stop till he reached the bottom - Incredible!  After Don died he was kind enough to think of me and he invited me to ski with him once so I would not have to ski alone.  Indeed a true hero! Don and I also enjoyed a dinner at your lovely home in Angel Fire that Herb cooked so he even knew his way around the kitchen.  A remarkable man!  I will miss him."

This tribute was added by Kathy Kalen on 20th September 2016

"Mike Bleacher
Col Kalen, I honor you for your selfless service to our country. I hold your family in my thoughts and prayers as they suffer through your loss. Indeed the nation is lesser today and one hero short. Your story told to me by your daughter and my dear friend Kristi should serve as an inspiration to the American generations to come. We will risk everything to bring our fellow service members home. Now that the Lord has called you home, you can finally rest easy. You have finished the race. No greater love has a man than he lay down his life for his brother. May God welcome you with open arms and comfort your family and friends. Mike Bleacher St. Augustine"

This tribute was added by Stephanie Smith on 19th September 2016

"What a great life Herb and Kathy shared!  Herb enjoyed life to the utmost and his adventures reflect that.  It was scary following him down a ski trail but there was no one I'd rather follow.  Here's to your next adventure, Herb!"

This tribute was added by Georgette & Mike Gutch on 19th September 2016

"Herb was our neighbor and a good friend! We enjoyed his company and friendship. We are honored to have had the opportunity to get to know him.  You will be tremendously missed! Our thoughts and prayers are with Kathy and Kristi!"

This tribute was added by Mary Boyd on 18th September 2016

"Herb Kalen was my neighbor for many years. He was a good friend and a true gentleman. I'm sure going to miss seeing him around Hibiscus on his daily walks carrying the wooden stick and stopping to say hello always with a smile and of course to discuss anything and everything ,our social gatherings, the economy etc. etc and of course the military. ..He truly will be missed. My prayers and support to Kathy and Kristie on the loss of a wonderful man. ...."

This tribute was added by Bill & Diane Mereness on 18th September 2016

"We miss our friend.  He was a delight to be with either skiing, hiking or camping.  We had great respect for his military stories and thank him for his many years of service!"

This tribute was added by Jim Thorne on 18th September 2016

"Herb was my hiking partner, my comrade in arms and my friend. I was terribly saddened to hear of his passing, but take some solace in knowing I will see him again at Arlington. Vaya con Dios my friend!"

This tribute was added by Lynette Friedemann on 17th September 2016

"Dear Kathy and Kristi,
Sending our prayers. Herb will be missed. What an amazing, yet humble man. Kathy you were the wind beneath his wings. We will always cherish the memories of you both and how our lives were enriched by knowing you. His warm smile, his sense of adventure and his optimism will be forever etched in our memories.
Our love, Alan and Lynette Friedemann, Angel Fire friends."

This tribute was added by Don Whitecotton on 17th September 2016

"He was a Hero of heroes, one who reaches out to others only a hero without trying to be one America will miss you, God Bless you and the USA that you loved!"

This tribute was added by Dottie Marshall on 17th September 2016

"Kathy, Herb was certainly one of a kind.  Enjoyed sking and hiking with you both in Angl Fire.  It is sad to know he is gone.  Jack died last September so you have my sympathy.      Love, Dotty"

This tribute was added by Jay Strayer on 17th September 2016

"IN 1970, I shared the Son Tay Prison (attempt to rescue POWs from North Vietnam) raid with Herb, a splendid HH-3 pilot who landed his heli inside the prison camp knowing a tree would surely contact the rotor blades -- all went well for him and his crew -- sure sorry re his demise as I will too soon follow -- my condolences to his family -- Jay M Strayer, Colonel, USAF (Ret), Xenia, Ohio"

This tribute was added by Carol & Marvin Leneave on 17th September 2016

"Over the years when Herb & Kathy came to visit us in Port Orange, Florida, we had many wonderful adventures thanks to Herb's love of the outdoors & boundless energy.  He arranged for us land lubbers to go on our first canoe trip which he guaranteed was a "piece of cake"!  We almost landed in the river a couple times but managed to make it to the end still dry but shaky!!!  Our next canoe trip was on a much calmer river in North Florida.  We even took our dog Snoopy & son Brian who joined us in a kayak.  Herb & Kathy had a time share in Naples, FL years ago & decided we should try to find out where Kathy & Marvin's parents lived for a while on Marco Island.  We were joined by Kristi, cousin Scott & Brian & had a great adventure in a pontoon boat going through the archipelago searching the many islands for what we thought might be the place where they lived for a while.  It was such fun & quite the adventure  Then some years later Herb rented another pontoon boat near DeLand, FL which took us on the beautiful St. John's River. At one point our dog Snoopy ended up alone on one end of the boat with the rest of us at the other end nearly sinking it.  We blamed him for the near disaster & have laughed many times over the years at our close call!  Marvin & I are so grateful to our adventurous brother-in-law for taking us out of our comfort zone so that we will always have  wonderful, happy memories of our times together.  You will be missed, Herb Kalen.  We pray you will continue to find great hiking trails & snowy mountains to ski.  To Kathy & Kristi we send our love & prayers."

This tribute was added by Richmond Neff on 17th September 2016

"Herb, I SO wanted to visit with you one more time. You out-foxed me just as you out skied me down the moguls. I will never forget how you led the four of us, you, Kathy, Isabella and I, along with that young kid with us, across that ridge in the Truchas and then down the snow filled chimney to the bottom of the mountain. One mile in 9 hours, we took.
Just another day in Trekkers world. Rest Well, Dear Herb. And confound you for making me cry ! Thank you Kathy. It is tough, but God Bless you."

This tribute was added by Glenn & Marcia Weiderstein on 17th September 2016

"We have such great memories of hiking with Herb and hearing his great stories.  He was so passionate about life.  We always remember the first hike with Herb -- there he was -- the first one at the end of the trek, sipping on a beer, enjoying the moment.  What a great individual.  He will be missed."

This tribute was added by Gayle Cleland on 17th September 2016

"To Kathy and Kristi - Len and I send you our love and deepest condolences. We met Herb and Kathy 16 years ago when they became our landlords at Long Beach in Panama City Beach. They both became so much more to us. They became family! We were always amazed at Herb's tenacity and zest for life! He had  such a full life with so many wonderful experiences in so many places. Kathy, this is a beautiful tribute to Herb and to the wonderful life that you two shared together!
We always loved to hear Herb's many stories. He accomplished so much in his full and adventurous life! He was such a military hero and yet was so humble about it all.
We will miss him so much but I will always think of him racing down the ski hills! Kathy,he was so fortunate to have you as his life partner as you shared his love for adventure! Please try to remember all of those wonderful experiences!
Herb,we will miss you dear friend! Happy hiking in Heaven!!!!"

This tribute was added by Barb Zinn on 17th September 2016

"I was planning a long backpack through the mountains above Angel Fire and Herb and Kathy invited this total stranger into their lovely home and shared their extensive knowledge and love of the country with me. I will never forget their kindness and enthusiasm - true Trail Angels. Herb and Kathy - I backpacked over incredible Jicarita Peak last weekend and you were in my thoughts.  Thanks again, and Herb, mark those new trails you are now following for us all."

This tribute was added by Bill Mason on 17th September 2016

"We'll miss Herb!  We shared a lot of good times: Houseboating in the Everglades and Utah; Canoeing and hiking in North Florida, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado and New Mexico; Traveling, hiking, backpacking all over; and plenty of good eating, drinking, and talking.  Thanks for the good times Herb and Kathy!"

This tribute was added by Laura Todd on 16th September 2016

"My dad, Alex Lupenski, always spoke so highly of Herb. He admired him  greatly. He told of many skiing adventures and fun times.
He will be very sad to hear of his passing.
Our prayers for you, his family.
The Lupenskis"

This tribute was added by Kathy Kalen on 13th September 2016

"I just wanted to offer my condolences and well wishes. Herb was an inspiration for me both on the trail and on the ski slopes. Even though he was moving more slowly during his latest visits to Angel Fire, it was always a pleasure to meet and chat with him. We will miss him.

Cheers and Blessings, Gordon."

This tribute was added by June Ryan on 12th September 2016

"Herb is one of the "original" Angel Fire people my husband and I were privileged to meet on Trekker events.  His big grin was infectious."

This tribute was added by Treva Baker on 10th September 2016

"My Memories of Herb, My husband and I met Herb and Kathy in 1997 and house sat for them for a month while they went to Alaska in their RV. We fell in love with Koki, the little black poodle.
I remember that their were maps and more maps in their house--National Forest Maps -- that was right down my husband's alley as he had a Forestry Degree but this was the start of his dream of finally get to us it at age of 54ish. Lynn loved looking at maps w Herb and Kathy. For many years Herb and Kathy lead hikes--oh so much fun!!!! Herb could scamper up and down those mountains so fast!!!!
Herb and Kathy were very instrumental in getting several nice groups started in the village of Angel Fire, Trekkers for one--they planned and built trails--and look at all of the trails that Angel Fire has now as other folks have continued using Herb and Kathy's knowledge, skills and talents. Their fervor for the outdoors and nature was caught by others to continue their initial endeavors. It's still happening today!!
Herb always seemed happy and brightened ones day when seeing and talking to him. So glad that he got to experience life to the fullest, and that we were fortunate enough to meet him. Treva Baker"

This tribute was added by melinda berke on 9th September 2016

"We met only a few years ago at The Dunes of Panama and visited each other a few times. We always had a fun time to hear Herb's fascinating war stories. We remember him as a true hero and a good hearted man. We will miss him!
Melinda and Les Berke"

This tribute was added by John Wigington on 7th September 2016

"Suzy and I met Herb when he was trying to get his truck out of a snowy ditch in Angel Fire, in the mid 80's.  He was cheery even in a unpleasant situation.  We helped him get out and he noticed the Air Force sticker on my car.  We became instant friends.  Herb led us on a memorable hike to Wheeler Peak one summer.  He would ski us into the ground, even with an eye patch and suffering with shingles.  We had plans to ski Utah in February or March of this year, but it did not work out.  Herb was a true powder hound, who will be missed by all who had the good fortune to know him.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you Kathy"

This tribute was added by Pat Broderick on 5th September 2016

"Herb invited me to ski with him the winter before last at his real home in Angel Fire.  I'm not sure if he was the former mayor but he was indeed the king of the mountain.  His vision was waning and he had to wear a patch over one eye but he out-skied us all.

Of course, we had to tell war stories, and drink a little wine.  There is no way I can't compete with Herb's stories.  Every Special Operator of my generation knows about the Son Tay raid, but Herb brought it alive.

He asked me once if I ever had a good luck moment.  Yeah, I did.  My best good luck moment was to have known Herb.

Pat Broderick, CWO4 (SEAL) USN (ret)"

This tribute was added by Kathy Kalen on 5th September 2016

"Beard Clear Sir?
Shared by Royce Terrell on 09/02/2016
Herb, had a reputation for being somewhat of a hard ass stand eval pilot that would cause lesser H- 3 pilots to quake in their boots, especially students. One day I was on the ramp at Hill AFB with a student pilot for his check ride and Herb was on a stand eval visit  to the 1550th. Herb was scheduled to check another crew so my student and I were somewhat relieved and were going about our checklist when we heard via the radio the other H-3 was having maintainence problems. I told my student not to worry Col. Kalen would stick with the other crew until they were good to go. WRONG!!! Before you could blink an eye Herb lept off the broken bird and ran lickety split right over to our bird and hopped in. Seeing that big grin on his face all I could think of to say was "Beard clear sir?" Everyone on the crew got a chuckle out of it but I had to explain to my student that the expression was in reference to Santa Claus. I still don't think he got it but he did well on his check ride. Herb was the best! This is from Royce Terrell I thought it would be missed in stories."

This tribute was added by William Barnes on 5th September 2016

"I've known Herb for about 45 years since I was 16, when he took my dad and I for our first trip to Alta. He was the strongest skier we ever knew and it was always just so free and pure fun. Been skiing of and on ever since. Never got tired of those stories and adventures of the fixes they managed to get themselves into.

I was truly honored to have him as a friend. Not many young people are privileged to have heroes of consequence in their lives. I was so fortunate to have my dad and Herb, and so many others, with such bravery and selflessness to go right into the teeth of the danger to save others. To this day, men are alive because of men like Herb and all those others. But man, wasn't there something special about Herb!

I was so proud to introduce him to my wife and friends, and co workers and anybody who was around when he'd pop through Price. And then when he'd left I'd explain what a big deal that was about who they just got to meet and they are always amazed upon hearing about Son Tay.

It was so meaningful to me to know Herb and my dad were such good friends. That USAF pilot fraternity - the strongest and best I've seen.

When mom and dad called with the news, dad and I cried like little girls. We miss him. It was a rare moment of intimacy that dad shared a story about how they'd reciprocate visiting and looking after one another when they'd done something our other or had a health issue. Two old warriors in bathrobes cooking breakfast for each other and Herb just started crying followed by my dad. That's some rare friendship and love, forged in the crucible of shared careers, dangers, and life experiences embodied in the sheer freedom and fun they experienced with each other.

I promise you Kathy and Kristi, we will always remember Herb. He is everything a man ought to be."

This tribute was added by Bill Chapman on 5th September 2016

"Herb always prepared when reaching the top of a MV Trekker hike with his cold beer wrapped in foil and a twinkle in his eye!"

This tribute was added by Donny Wurster on 4th September 2016

"Herb Kalen was a name that every young HH-3E pilot learned and knew among the helicopter pilots of my generation.  Though we did not know him personally, each of us learned the limitations of the HH-3E and marveled at his skill to draft on the HC-130 to Son Tay and then to safely put that machine into a spot where everybody knew it was going to stay...and that he would instantly turn into a ground combatant.  He represented a generation of skilled, courageous, and dedicated men who built the reputation of the Jolly Green Giant and it's enduring legacy of combat rescue.  

Nearly all of the HH-3E pilots have left active duty.  One recent retiree who grew up in the HH-3E was Maj Gen Mike Kingsley.  Another HH-3E pilot who is currently serving as the vice commander of Air University is Maj Gen Tim Leahy.  Thank you to Herb and the other respected and valorous pilots, crews, and maintainers of the HH-3E...you set the bar high.  Those who followed you in the mission of rescue and special operations hope you have found our service to be worthy of your example.  Fair skies Herb Kalen, and thank you.  

Lt Gen Donny Wurster, USAF, ret
Former AFSOC commander, and HH-3E pilot"

This tribute was added by Julie Alford on 4th September 2016

""My heart goes to Mrs Kathy and Kristin..this man who was loved by so many had the heart of gold and always there with helping hand. He would always take my cart back and always eager to help any way he could. Heaven truly gained an angel. He will be missed. He would always be walking or going swimming, always exercising. He would always smile and say how you doing. He would at times say jokes and laugh so hard. Mr Herb I am going to miss you and your smiles and helping hand. I will check on Mrs Kathy and Kristin every now and then to make sure they are okay. " Lots of love!!"

This tribute was added by Charmaine Gahr on 4th September 2016

"Herb was the best example of living the fullest as long as possible.  A good hearted man with many talents. We meant Herb at a dumpster in Angel Fire, NM when he seen our canoe on our truck and he wanted to know where we going to canoe, became a good friend afterwards.
Herb will be greatly missed.  Love and prayers to Kathy and Kristi."

This tribute was added by Cheryl Mason on 4th September 2016

"What beautiful memories we have of Herb and we'll miss him every day.  All our wonderful hiking trips, our Hawaii trip, and so many other special times with such a happy person who lived every day to it's fullest and lighted up the room whenever he came in.  He's our hero!  Prayers for Kathy and Kristi."

This tribute was added by Tim Revis on 2nd September 2016

"I am blessed to be able to call Herb my friend, I think of him as a hero and will miss him and his stories and being able to shake his hand every day and see that smile. God Bless Kathy and Kristi"

This tribute was added by Judy Christopher on 2nd September 2016

"I was 8yrs old playing chinese checkers with Herb and our Gr-Grandmother.  I remember Herb flying over Long Island Sound dipping his wing and breaking the sound barrier just to say hello.  His and Kathies surprise visit to our home in Florida in 2009.  I will miss Herb.  My great Hero cousin."

This tribute was added by Judy Knowles on 2nd September 2016

"How many times have I been greeted with Herbs awesome open and welcoming grin! (image #75).  So grateful to have known this warm and wonderful man.  He will be missed by many!  Love and prayers to Kathy and Kristi"

This tribute was added by Julie Morris on 2nd September 2016

"I've only known Herb since last November.  My favorite memory of him is every time he started to talk he would say,  "I'm going to tell you some stories,  and most of them are true. "  It made me laugh every time!
I've only been in Florida for a little over a year,  and Herb,  Kathy,  and Kristi have "adopted " me and been so warm and inviting.  May happy memories heal your hearts!"

This tribute was added by Walter Barnes on 1st September 2016

"Kathy & Kristi, our thoughts and prayers are with you, as you well
know Herb was a speciial friend and person.  He certainly lived life his way, as the song goes.  I cherish our ski memories and will truly miss Herb Superb.  A & W"

This tribute was added by Connie Conway on 1st September 2016

"I love this man like a father.   As the flower girl in his wedding over 50 years ago, he is still a Prince in my eyes.   Love and prayers to Kathy and Kristi"

This tribute was added by Butchie Landolfi on 31st August 2016

"Herb.   my friend Rest In Peace.   You absolutely" DID ITYout Way"   You will be missed,  We had so much fun  when  we were there  and  got you a toe ring   You actually wore it with us, Just shows what  a sport you were. My thoughts and prayers will be with Kathy and Kristi
                                                                                      Live"


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