Henry (Hank) Felchlin died June 29, 2011, in El Centro, Calif., after battling physical ailments stemming from a heart malfunction. He was born Oct. 22, 1920, to Swiss immigrant parents Henry and Agatha Felchlin, who settled in Enumclaw where they farmed.
He worked with the U.S. Border Patrol until 1942 when his tenure was temporarily delayed while he served in the U.S. Army’s infantry during World War II, where he reached the rank of first sergeant. He married Virginia Slatter in Kearney, Neb., in 1944. After the war, he returned to the Border Patrol, where he achieved the rank of Chief Patrol Inspector with a move to El Centro with his family.
He retired in 1977 after 35 years of service. He helped create the Fraternal Order of Retired Border Patrol Agents, which gave rise to the U.S. Border Patrol Museum in El Paso, Texas. Part of his noteworthy career, included his assignment in El Paso, where he and various other law enforcement officers took part in foiling the first attempted domestic airplane hijacking.
After retiring, he practiced real estate. At his death, he had more than 40 years of active involvement in business and community-based organizations throughout the Imperial Valley. He was a member of the Imperial Valley Swiss Club, where held numerous board positions.
He is survived by his wife Virginia; children Sandra and Michael; two grandsons and two great-grandsons.
A memorial service will take place at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in El Centro today, Wednesday, July 13. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to U.S. Border Patrol Museum in El Paso, www.borderpatrolmuseum.com, or the American Heart Association.