Friends, community remember Kette

Published 10:02 am Friday, December 16, 2016

Charles Kette Jr., whose business, Clay Street Drug Store was a fixture on Clay Street for 50 years, died Monday at Promise Hospital. He was 90.

A graduate of St. Aloysius and the University of Mississippi, Kette was known by friends as an avid hunter and fisherman and a gentleman who was willing to help others and the community.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“You can’t find a better person,” said Vicksburg Warren School District Trustee Joe Loviza. “He was a good friend of mine for many, many years.”

Loviza described Kette as a good Christian.

“He just was real good guy. He had a nice family and he was a veteran of the U.S. Navy.

I hunted with him for 40 years; he was an excellent shot and he had some very excellent bird dogs, and all his kids were successful.

“He was active in helping get Hinds Community College into Vicksburg, and he worked on several committees on that effort.”

Loviza said Kette played football during his high school days at St. Aloysius, and also worked with Joe Gerache at the Corner Drug Store at the corner of Washington and China streets before opening his own store.

“He wouldn’t miss church,” Loviza said. “He’d make his Mass, and was always helping charities.

You could count on him if you needed help; he’d pitch right in with you. He helped anybody in the community who needed help.

“He was a good one, and I hate to see him go.”

David Hosemann, owner of Hometown Medical and Kette’s second cousin, said Kette worked part-time at his store after retiring.

“He helped us as a pharmacist,” Hosemann said. “He had a great work ethic and stayed busy with it. He really just helped Hometown Medical build a nice inhalation pharmacy program. We’re glad of our association with him for years.

“He sure helped us out when we needed it. We owe him for that for sure. He was always right on time; never missed a filling or never took a day off. He was very steady.”

“He was a wonderful man,” said Joe Lorinc, who was neighbors with Kette and his wife.

“He was our neighbor for 15 years. We saw him on nearly a daily basis for a long time. He just was a fine fellow. He was very vital up until the end, and an extremely sharp individual, mentally. He was a special man.”

Cindy Vanderberry knew Kette through visits to his drug store with her mother and grandmother.

“He was always there and he was always very kind and friendly and helpful, and just went out of his way to help his customers,” she said. He and his wife were a perfect team together there and he was devoted to her.

“For me growing up, he was a great example of what a good Christian man and father and business owner should be,” Vanderberry said. “He came out on our land in the country and went fishing and hunting. So he was our forever friend.”

“Charles was just a fine person and fun to be around,” said David Speyerer. “He always had a conversation going about whatever was going on in the world.”

Speyerer said he fished with Kette “a number of times, and he was a real good companion.”

“He always had the most expensive clothes, always neatly pressed. The pants were creased,” he said of fishing with Kette. “It didn’t matter if we were going on a pond or a lake.

“He was just fun to be around; a good friend, good friend.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

email author More by John