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James Richard Klein Sr.

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COLUMBIA, S.C. -- James Richard Klein Sr., 83, of Columbia, S.C., died Wednesday, June 18, 2014, at his daughter’s home in Lake Hopatcong, N.J., following a brief illness.

Born on April 8, 1931, and raised in Lebanon, Pa., Jim served in the United States Navy during the Korean Conflict. He attended the seminary, but transferred to and graduated from Lebanon Catholic High School. He graduated from Gannon College in Erie, Pa., before taking a job as a mechanical engineer at Picatinny Arsenal and moving his family to Sparta, N.J.; he also lived briefly in Biddeford, Maine. Jim retired to Columbia, S.C., at the age of 55, with over 25 years of civilian service to the military, but continued as a civilian consultant for FN Manufacturing Inc. in Columbia, for another eight years.

He was a member of Corpus Christi R.C. Church in Lexington, S.C., and a 4th Degree member of the Lebanon Order of Knights of Columbus. Jim had been a dedicated docent in the Education Department at the Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Gardens for the past 12 years, recording more than 500 volunteer hours per year; he was twice nominated as Volunteer of the Year. He was an avid golfer who loved traveling the globe, and throughout his lifetime, Jim had visited most states in the U.S. and several countries around the world.

The son of the late Joseph A. and Winifred R. (Fair) Klein, Jim was also predeceased by two sisters and two brothers. He is survived by his children, Karen Beierle and husband, Larry Ramsey, of Florida, Beverly Huntsberger and husband, Dr. Terry Huntsberger, of California, Dr. Pamela Klein and husband, Romesh Canekeratne, of Florida, Chrysten Shea and husband, Patrick, of New Jersey, James R. Klein Jr. and wife, Babette, of Pennsylvania, Megan Fiore and husband, Anthony, of New Jersey, and Gregory Klein and wife, Lori, of New Jersey; 16 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

He was a devoted father, grandfather and great-grandfather. His family enjoys fond memories of time spent with “Opa” at their various homes, as well as at Lake Murray, S.C., and Jim’s beloved Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens.

Mass of the Resurrection will be held at Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lebanon, Pa., on Thursday, June 26, at 10 a.m. There will be a visitation at the church beginning at 9 a.m. Entombment of cremains with military honors will immediately follow the Mass and be held at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in Annville, Pa.

A Memorial Mass will be held in August at Corpus Christi R.C. Church in Lexington, S.C.

Memorial donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Smith-McCracken Funeral Home, 63 High St., Newton, NJ. Online condolences may be offered at

Funeral Home
Smith-McCracken Funeral Home
63 High Street
Newton, NJ 07860
(973) 383-4600
Published in The New Jersey Herald on June 22, 2014
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