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
Ernest Klimczak was a fun loving, trustworthy and loyal man with a big heart. His family and friends respected him greatly, both for his strength of mind and his unconditional love. He was continually guided by strong values, values that helped him make a lasting and positive impression on all the lives he touched.
As the United States was celebrating a time of temporary peace and prosperity between the two world wars, the Klimczak family of Chicago, Illinois had a celebration of their own with the birth of their son, Ernest, on August 3, 1924. Ernest was the youngest of three boys, and grew up on the south side of Chicago in a good Polish/Catholic neighborhood. While his mother was a traditional homemaker, his father earned a living working in a plumbing manufacturing company. Ernest was a good student in school and also played baseball. After graduating from an area Catholic high school in 1942, he attended Tilden Tech School, doing his undergraduate in engineering. He then went to the University of Chicago, where he earned his MBA. It was during this time that Ernest first became involved with the Boy Scouts as a Troop Leader, which he tremendously enjoyed. He often told funny stories of his camping adventures with the Scouts.
With his degree in hand, Ernest moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan to put his education to good use in the paper industry, working at Allied Paper Co. In the mid 1960s, Ernest met his first wife, Beatrice “Bea,” and they were happily married for several years before she died in the 1980s. Meanwhile, Ernest’s strong and industrious work ethic helped him move up through the ranks at Allied. Eventually, Ernest became the CEO of the company, and he also had a few patents on his designs that are still being used today.
In 1986, Ernest met his second wife, Dorothy Pyne, who was an RN at Dr. Hunt’s office, where he was getting a physical. They began talking and found out that they had both recently lost their spouses, and with a little prodding from Dr. Hunt, Ernest finally asked Dorothy out. As fate would have it, the two were happily married on May 30, 1987, in the First Methodist Church. It was in that same year that Ernest retired from Allied, but still did some business consulting for a few years. Once he and Dorothy were both fully retired, they enjoyed doing some extensive traveling, stateside and overseas. Ernest also had a cottage on Sister Lakes near Dowagiac, where he taught many of his family members how to fish.
Always active, Ernest enjoyed many different hobbies and interests. He loved being outdoors and was an avid golfer and member of the Kalamazoo Country Club. He was also a great handyman around the house, and with 2 acres of land that he maintained and landscaped himself, he had plenty to keep him busy. In his quieter moments, Ernest liked to paint scenery with oil paints, and perhaps puff on his pipe while deep in thought. He was very computer literate for his age, and a die-hard fan of Notre Dame football. He enjoyed watching a game on TV or catch the pros playing golf.
Ernest’s good spirit and smiling face served as testimony to the fact that he enjoyed every moment of his life. Although he never had children of his own, he was a big kid at heart and enjoyed spending time with his grandkids. There was always giggles and fun in the air when Grandpa Ernest was around. Education was also a top priority for Ernest, and he was adamant that his grandchildren get a good education. Someone had generously paid for his college education, and he firmly believed in paying it forward, sending his grandchildren to school and helping others who were less fortunate as well. Ernest will be remembered not for the things he did, but for the reason he did them.
Being young at heart helped Ernest to stay active and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. However, about a week ago, he suffered a severe stroke and just couldn’t recover from it. He died peacefully at Rose Arbor in Kalamazoo on Wednesday, March 24, 2010, at the age of 85.
Services will be held on Saturday, March 27, at 11:00 a.m. with visitation beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (375-2900). A luncheon will follow in the Life Story Center. Burial will be at Mt. EverRest Cemetery.
Ernie was preceded in death by his first wife, Beatrice Klimczak, and by 2 brothers. Surviving is his wife of 23 years, Dorothy Klimczak; 4 stepchildren: Renee Corzine, Dick (Martie) Corzine, Mary (Ivan) Winn and Chuck Peterson; many step-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. Please visit Ernie’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com where you may share a memory or photo with his family or sign his online guest book before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association.