Tuesday, July 18, 2017
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Visit with family and friends while sharing food and drinks. Rosary will be recited at 7:30pm.
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
In the heart of Lou Klein there was no greater joy than the love of family. With quiet strength, his positive nature and humor were always a welcome addition to any conversation. Lou never craved extravagance, but found happiness in caring for his family. Lou worked hard to provide for those he loved, and as their foundation, he lead by example with integrity and unconditional love. Always independent, Lou forged a way for himself in life, relying on his own strengths and abilities, which were many. Deeply missed, he will be lovingly remembered by those who knew him best.
Born on February 3, 1922, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Louis Klein was the youngest of seven children born to Mathias and Mary (Banner) Klein. His parents were hard working farmers, and having made their home in Mendon, Michigan, Lou and his siblings each pitched in and did their part on the farm. Lou was a persistent and tireless worker, especially through the example of his mother and his tough, German heritage.
Growing up, Lou experienced the joys of boyhood adventures and was a friend of many. Lou attended the Mendon area schools. A very bright young man, great athlete, and proud left hander, he was an accomplished quarterback for the Mendon High School Hornets. He went on to graduate from Mendon High School with the Class of 1939 as salutatorian of his class.
Lou had the intelligence and abilities to go in any direction he desired, but chose to take over their family farm when his father took ill. Extremely independent, he insisted on doing everything on his own. Authentic in every way, Lou never met a stranger and couldn’t have made an enemy if he had tried. There was no artifice to him, and friends and family alike respected him and responded in kind.
Lou began looking for his own farm and ended up buying several hundred acres in Cooper Township. Farming was in his blood, and he was good at it. He grew mostly corn and soybeans, adding acreage over the years. People were amazed at how much he could get done with the little equipment he had, and he always found a way of getting something accomplished
Through family, Lou came to know and love Theresa Coady. She worked in Lansing as a teacher, and after a brief courtship, the two were happily married on January 31, 1953, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Sand Lake, Michigan. They enjoyed a memorable honeymoon driving to Florida before returning home to begin their new life together as husband and wife. They soon began a family of their own, and in 1954 they were blessed with the birth of Julie. Daniel and Martha followed, and in 1964, David completed their happy fold.
Lou was a charter member of St. Ambrose Parish. He was a devout Catholic, and as a family they attended church faithfully. A devoted husband and dedicated father, Lou treasured his family in every way. He loved all sports and despite his demanding farming schedule, he never missed his children’s sporting events. He built his kids a basketball court inside the barn and in the yard, a baseball diamond with pitching mound. Lou remodeled their home many times, and rebuilt the barns as they aged using the same wood. Family vacations meant piling into the station wagon and heading to places such as Washington, DC, Williamsburg, the Badlands, and Cedar Point.
Lou enjoyed a good meal and he was never a picky eater, particularly when it came to sweets. He was known to head out in a snowstorm for chocolate, because, he exclaimed, "There’s not a cookie in the house!” His wife, Theresa was a wonderful cook. He loved hosting the holidays at their home where everyone would gather. Lou was the official turkey carver in the family, and throughout these special times, countless memories were made. Lou had a curiosity about the world and he enjoyed reading historical and biography books and articles. He was an avid University of Michigan fan and an active member of the Knights of Columbus Council #1616.
When Lou retired, he and Theresa enjoyed bowling, golfing and getting together with friends. They were on several leagues at Crestview, and even at 85 years old, Lou shot a 42. They travelled together, too, enjoying many excursions, bus trips and a visit to Ireland. He built a greenhouse where he grew flowers for drying and making wreaths. He learned to create beautiful stained-glass lamps, sun catchers, and windows. Lou appreciated the arts and liked going to plays. Even in retirement, Lou could not be idle for long. He was a hands-on type of man and was always busy with a project.
Lou was never one to act his age. He often continued to surprise his family with what he was capable of doing, even well into his later years. One time Lou got his hands on a pair of ice skates and proceeded to skate and stop just like Gordy Howe. Lou was an unstoppable worker even as the years came upon him; no one could outwork him. He just did what needed to be done, never asking for help or boasting about his accomplishments. He was caught shoveling snow off his roof in his nineties, but he was emphatic that "Theresa was not to know"! He helped his family and his extended family in any way he could and never ceased in being there for those he loved.
His nephew, Jack Robinson, wrote about Lou:
“Uncle Lou was not my real uncle but still one of my biggest heroes. He was tough. He was kind. He was confident. He was humble. He had such an open honest smile. He was tall but that was not the reason I saw him standing above most of us. He did it by the way he lived his life. Noble comes to mind.
You might ask how I could judge a man who had so little to do with my own life, really. Well, he was so easy to size up. So easy to admire and like. So unique. A decent human being. A good man.”
Lou was a kind, gentle soul, who lived life with vibrancy. He was young at heart, independent, and worked hard his whole life through. His family was his greatest joy, and in them he found purpose. For these things and so much more, Lou will be deeply missed as his legacy lives on in the hearts of many.
Louis M. Klein, age 95 of Plainwell, died Friday, July 14, 2017 at Bronson Hospital. Lou was preceded in death by his six siblings: Norine Brainard, Veronica Harrington, Agnes Kuntz, Rose Westrick, Charles Klein, and Theresa Brohl. Surviving are his wife of 64 years, Theresa Klein; four children: Julie (Brad) Whitmore of Freeland, MD, Daniel Klein of Plainwell and Deb Klein of Holland, Martha (Mark) Burlingame of Gainesville, FL and David (Marni) Klein of Plainwell; six grandchildren: Ian (Valerie) Whitmore of Baltimore, MD, Jocelyn (Kevin) So of Columbia, MD, Louis Klein of Los Angeles, CA, Claudia Klein of Holland, Johnathan Klein of Ann Arbor, and Veronica Klein of Plainwell; four great-grandchildren: Alden, Saoirse, Tabitha and Imogen; many nieces and nephews. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and drinks on Tuesday, July 18, 2017, 5-8pm at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 where the Rosary will be recited at 7:30pm. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 10:30am at St. Ambrose Church followed by a luncheon in the church hall. Burial will take place at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Please visit Lou’s personal web page at www.betzlerfuneralhome.com, where you can share a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to Kalamazoo Gospel Mission or Loaves and Fishes.