Clara June Klein
Born in Pueblo, Colorado on March 23rd, 1928
Departed on April 21st, 2020 and resided in Englewood, Colorado
Cheered on by her loving family in New Zealand, Montana and Colorado via Zoom and FaceTime, a most excruciating and painful separation for not only herself, but for all of us due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Mom finally made it through the last grueling lap of her marathon race on earth to the finish line. In her last few hours son John, dressed in full protective garb, received reluctant permission to come through the official COVID barrier and sit beside her and get her to that line for her family. Just beyond that line she met her “surprise”, the smile and welcoming arms of Jesus into whose arms she collapsed. Behind Him, not separated by the pandemic on earth, were the cheers of her beloved husband along with relatives and friends gathered around a Fiesta table which her Colorado family had daily reminded her was being prepared for her, mariachis and all!
Bob Klein entered her life with a flame; a flame in the curtain of Gertrude and Albert Nearing, her mother and father’s home on West Evans Street. While sitting on the couch with his arm around June, his cigarette started the curtain on fire. For the next 60 years they would start and put out many fires, like most of us do. Out of that flame came three children, Linda, Paul and John.
To those children she gave everything she never had. She drove one to classical piano lessons during the week and on weekends to dance lessons which meant performing at Elitch Gardens. Thankfully this kid got put in the back row of the line up. For some strange reason she chose accordion lessons for Paul which meant traveling all the way across Denver so he could march in the Denver Marching Accordion Band. Can you imagine that? John lucked out. No lessons for him, but instead he got to go on trips with Mom and Dad to Mexico.
Mom drove us crazy, like any loving mother would, only more so because she was an artist. She filled our home with music, beauty and passion. The soundtrack she made for our lives came through her collection of music, including classical, folk, dance, religious and unfortunately, Elvis.
She especially loved to oil paint ocean scenes. By golly, she even had her father-in-law ask her to teach him to paint in his later years. In later years she became “crafty” meaning she would make various things out of feathers, flowers, and iridescent beads and then hot glued them to walls! Speaking of hot, she LOVED to iron, until that iron became too dangerous to have around as her dementia increased.
She and her sister, JoJo, ran a small dress shop business on Colorado Blvd called DonJo’s. She and JoJo, both very glamorous in their time, loved that business and were very good at it. JoJo and June are now together at that Fiesta in Heaven.
Being left-handed, she had a wondrous “claw” that threaded worms on her fishing hooks, dealt many bridge hands and bowled a wicked score at Celebrity Lanes in Denver. Later in life she used that left hand to knit scarves literally around her family. Much earlier in life she out-skied us all insisting that we follow her down those Black Diamond runs. The horror of it!
She was impossible to live with at times, let’s face it, like we all are. She knew her “demons” well and tried to silence them, again like we all do, by toting her 7 lb 11″x9″ Bible to her beloved Bible Study at University Hills Lutheran Church. That Bible is filled with scribbled study notes as well as recipes because along with that Bible she toted delicious goodies the gals could snack on. Since 1952 she and Bob had been faithful members of University Hills Lutheran and you can bet they loved being servants where food was involved.
In her beloved 1964 yellow convertible Mustang she “drove real fast and she drove real hard, she was the terror of Colorado Boulevard”. She thought she could take on any “Super Stock Dodge”. Speaking of terror, she caused great terror and pain when she painted Merthiolate on her son-in-law’s raw lacerated shoulder after he slid, bare-shouldered, on his motorcycle in front of her. The ER doctor told him that there was nothing more he could do if he could survive what June had just done to him.
When she got older we had to take those Mustang keys away from “Go Granny Go Granny Go” because she got distracted by the young guys pulling up beside her asking if she would sell it.Her precious Mustang is in good hands now with her son Paul in New Zealand, who by the way, loved spending time eating Bugles with Mom as they sat in her room watching evening TV together. By this time, she had forgotten when she had terrorized Colorado Boulevard. Now that she was a passenger, she screamed in terror and jammed her foot into the floor board if her driver dared pass anyone. She did get her last set of wheels but before that gift she just waddled around Porter Place Assisted Living like a penguin as we all eventually will do at that age. Then came her new wheels: a comfortable wheelchair.
She was a conniver like the rest of us, only she and Dad were the best at that! I had never realized she could roll that wheel chair along quickly by herself until it was lunch time at Porter Place! By gosh she had me conned into pushing her until I saw that move.
She was blessed with seven wonderful grandchildren who doted on her when they could. Then came 12 wonderful great grandchildren she so lovingly stroked and gazed at in total wonderment. She would lovingly decorate her home for festivities. Christmas Eve in later years we would send a sideways glance to the person next to us thinking “here it comes, wonder what strange gift she is giving out of her drawers this year. Will it be like her old nylon hosiery she tied in wads as a gift to someone last Christmas?”
She had a very grand life. She and Bob traveled to New Zealand and even helped start a resort in Cabo San Lucas where they worked hard and made many native friends.
In the end, she would always say, “I love you terribly”.
June’s ashes will be next to “Dad” to whom she had been calling out to for weeks on end, at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver.
A gathering will be held “who knows when” at this historical time of the Pandemic.
June is survived by her children; Linda (Robin) and Bob Cook, Paul and Jacqueline Klein, and John and Nancy Klein.
Grandchildren: Jeremy with Tammy, Rann, Jill with Aaron, Emily, Lindsey, Ross,Kate and Bode with Belle.
Great Grandchildren: Nancy, Dylan, Sydney, Maggie, Chase, Kyle, Luke, Hannah, Heidi, Elsa, Coco, Laylan and Akaya.