Life Story Visitation
Friday, August 4, 2023
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Where food, drinks, and stories will be shared.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
A true gentleman with a great sense of humor, Edward Klein lived a life rich in faith, family, and friends. A man who embodied the principles of his faith, Ed led with his heart in all things. He embraced every moment as a gift and every person as a friend. Ed's passion for adventure inspired many wonderful memories, as did his gifts for recognizing beauty everywhere, storytelling, and living every moment to the fullest. A devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend, Ed was cherished by many and will long be remembered by those he so dearly loved.
Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, 1930 beheld a power of hope that undulated in the hearts of many. With a natural drive to not just endure but thrive in the face of uncertainty, the nation continued to put one foot in front of the other to build a better future. Nowhere was there a greater sense of hope than in the Detroit home of Frank and Magdalena (Malik) Klein as they welcomed their son Ed on Halloween, October 31, 1931.
The fifth of the Kleins' six children, Ed grew up in East Detroit. His parents were German immigrants, and his dad worked as a barber for the Detroit Lions. Through his father’s occupation as a barber, Ed met Babe Ruth and Byron White, a supreme court justice. Ed attended St. Martin's Catholic schools in Detroit, where he forged a strong group of friends. Winters were spent skating on the canals, and Ed became an excellent speed skater. He often took the trolley or bus to the Eastern Market to buy live chickens for his mom to make a wonderful dinner. Holding the live chicken on the ride home was no easy task!
After graduating from high school, Ed attended Michigan State University. A member of the Army ROTC, Ed participated in one of the nation's top leadership programs while working towards his bachelor's degree. After earning a BA in Journalism and Business in 1953, Ed was assigned to the 325th Infantry Battalion, Tank Company, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. While serving in Alaska, he learned to parachute and cross-country ski. Trained as a tank platoon leader, he was once given an outdated map for a training mission. The map took them through a turkey farm! The farmer was not happy. In time, Ed completed his service, receiving an honorable discharge as 1st Lieutenant.
In 1958, Ed met Jane Elizabeth (Condon) Klein, a nursing graduate of the University of Michigan, on a blind date. Ed and Jane enjoyed dancing together and were soon setting their hearts on building a future together. On May 2, 1959, the happy couple married at Saint Ambrose Church in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.
Ed's 40-year career began in the General Motors Diesel Engine Division advertising department before he joined the Stran-Steel Division of National Steel Corporation as Advertising Manager in Houston, TX. The remainder of his career was spent as Director of Communications for National Steel Corporation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania until he retired in 1990.
Blessed to raise five children with Jane in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, Ed was well-known as the fun dad in the neighborhood. He built push-karts for the kids, and because they didn't have a tree to build a tree fort, he built a fort in the garage rafters. Many wonderful memories were made while picnicking indoors during the winter. During the warmer seasons, they enjoyed camping and the fabulous stories Ed told around the campfire. Ed took the family on a trip across the country to visit family in Arizona, which required stuffing five kids and a lot of luggage in the station wagon. When his daughter's tennis racket flew off the wagon and down the highway, Ed stopped and made sure to find it.
High-energy and outdoors oriented, the family enjoyed lots of hiking and camping. Ed taught his kids to fish, and they watched in wonder as he tied his flies for fly fishing. Ed was also delighted in teaching them how to ice skate and in the winter they spent time helping him build a kayak in the basement. During a trip to Nova Scotia for a few weeks, he brought back live lobsters for dinner. He made a big point of showing his kids how to boil lobster. Much to their surprise, one somehow jumped out of the pot!
After retiring, Ed and Jane built a home in Hendersonville, North Carolina, hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina and designing and tending the gardens surrounding their home together. They also enjoyed a lot of travel overseas, especially their trips to Ireland, Germany, France, and Italy. They loved the beach and often went to Pawley's Island, South Carolina.
During their years in Sewickley, Ed was active as a parishioner and parish council member at St. James Catholic Church. He was also a member of the Edgeworth Club and Sewickley Heights Golf Club. In North Carolina, Ed volunteered with Trout Unlimited and was a parishioner at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, where he served as a Eucharistic Minister. He was a Hendersonville Knights of Columbus, Council #7184 member. A terrific tennis player, Ed was also a member of the Hendersonville Racquet Club.
Sadly, after sharing fifty happy years, Jane died in 2009. In her absence, Ed found comfort in his family, friends, and faith, continuing to live an active life. A self-taught painter, Ed transformed many blank canvasses into magnificent travel scenes, florals, and landscapes. Once framed, he often gifted them, to the delight of family and friends.
In time, Ed met Elizabeth "Joy" Compter through the church. They began dating, and on March 1, 2013 they married. Joy was a wonderful companion who also loved fishing and had an infectious laugh. The couple made their home in Hendersonville, NC, for five years until Joy returned to her native Louisiana to receive health care for an extended illness. Joy passed peacefully on June 11, 2020.
Five years ago, Ed moved to Friendship Village in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he quickly organized many of the masses, rosaries, and special events for his fellow Catholic residents, making many friends along the way. Ed also poured his passion into growing dahlias at Friendship Village, hoping to create a you-pick garden for residents. The garden had so many varieties of dahlia that it looked like fireworks with all the intense colors. Fondly known as The Dahlia Man, when Ed realized some residents couldn't pick the flowers themselves, he made sure to take the flowers to them.
Ed's zest for life and boundless curiosity led to many adventures, including chartering seaplanes to remote Canadian islands to camp and fish with his sons and enjoying a scenic helicopter ride at age 90. An aspirational motto displayed in his home office said, "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting 'What a ride!'" Ed did this, living each day to the fullest. It is this legacy we shall so proudly carry forward. Whenever we choose faith over fear, lead with love, say "yes" to adventure, and embrace the gift of sharing meaningful relationships, we celebrate the many ways Ed inspired us to live full and wholehearted lives.
Edward (Ed) John Klein, age 91, of Friendship Village, Kalamazoo, MI, passed away surrounded by the love of family on July 31, 2023, after an extended illness.
He is preceded in death by his beloved wife, Jane (2009), and is survived by their children: Kathryn L. (Klein) Hamann and her husband, Norman L. Hamann, Jr. of Kalamazoo, MI; Eric J. Klein and his wife, Elizabeth (Muller) Klein of Wimberley, TX; Suzanne M. (Klein) Murphy and her husband, Theodore C. Murphy of North Smithfield, RI; Thomas E. Klein and his wife, Shannon M. (Beaudin) Klein of St. Paul, MN; and William A. Klein and his wife, Shauna L. (Lindquist) Klein of Mebane, NC, grandchildren: Katrina Hamann-Azanov and their wife, Sasha Hamann-Azanov, Peter Hamann, Alysia (Klein) Rogers and her husband, Jonah Rogers, Meagan Murphy, Clare (Murphy) Whitney and her husband, Colin Whitney, and Brigid Murphy, Robert, and Julia Klein, Abigail, and Zoe Klein and his great-grandchild: Asher Rogers. Ed is also preceded in death by his siblings: Elizabeth (Klein) Herrington, Joseph Klein, Ann (Klein) O'Malley, Frank Klein, and Joan (Klein) Louwers. Ed is also survived by his step-children: Sherry (Barry) Maykut and Robert Barry, Jr., and predeceased by Belinda (Barry) Casey and her husband, Michael Casey. He is survived by his step-grandchildren: Michael Casey, Jr., Elizabeth Barry, and Ashley M. Maykut.
Please join us at a Life Story Visitation on Friday, August 4, from 6-8 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 421 Monroe Street, Kalamazoo, on Saturday, August 5 at 2 PM. The service will be live-streamed via the Facebook link found on the church website: www.sttomskazoo.org. A reception for family and friends will be held immediately following.
Interment will be private at the Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery, Black Mountain, NC, where he will be reunited in burial with Jane.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks those wishing to make a memorial tribute to consider Centrica Care Navigators - www.centricacare.org - The American Cancer Society - www.cancer.org - or Friendship Village Senior Living Community - Garden Fund under "Our Current Funds" - www.friendshipvillagemi.com.
Please visit Ed's webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories and photos or sign his guestbook.