Richard Klitch
1933 - 2021
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Klitch, Richard
Richard D. Klitch - born 8-15-33 deceased 1-31-21. Dick lived a wonderful 87 years of life filled with love, laughter, family, friends, and sports. As a life-long athlete and tennis pro, Dick was more than a coach, he was a gifted teacher who taught life lessons through sports. He brought tennis, the sport that positively changed his life, to as many people as possible. Dick was the youngest of six, born to Herman and Ida Klitch in Portsmouth, Ohio. His humble upbringing instilled integrity, humility, grit, and an incredible discipline and work ethic. These values, along with a fierce competitiveness and desire to teach and give back, were defining characteristics of his life. He met Joan, his wife of 65 years, on a blind date at Miami University and their love story made national news when they made a bet that Joan, a Phi Beta Kappa student, couldn't beat Dick, a two-sport athlete described as a "rangy cager," by a full grade point. Dick proved to be up to the challenge by earning a 3.2 GPA. Joan paid up and the rest is history. Dick would later be inducted into the Miami University Hall of Fame in both tennis and basketball after a storied career in both sports, winning the MAC championship in basketball 3 out of 4 years and the MAC tennis championship his senior year in 1955. Other honors included Dick's induction into the Portsmouth High School Athletic Hall of Fame where he was the 1951 state tennis champion, the Flood Wall of Stars as a Portsmouth Ambassador, and also the Northam Park Tennis Wall of Honor in Upper Arlington. In Columbus, Ohio, where Dick worked and raised his family for over 60 years in the Grandview/Marble Cliff community, he helped establish the Gold Circle Tournament, later GCTA, coached more than 20 state champions (including daughter, Jenny, 1980), and developed numerous college and professional athletes. One of his proudest contributions was supporting grass-roots tennis programming that reached all communities throughout the greater Columbus area. Dick was a voracious card player and actively played with all generations of his family up to the very end of his life. It was a rite of passage to beat "the white-haired guy" at any sport, game, or contest, which is how he spent much of his life with his kids and grandchildren. Dick spent his final years with Joan in Austin, Texas, living with son, Tim and his wife, Barbara, graciously surrounded by love and support. Dick is preceded in death by his parents Herman and Ida, siblings Katherine Klitch, Mary (Klitch) Bradfield, Robert Klitch and William Klitch, his children Beth Klitch (Larry Kirkpatrick) and Michael Klitch. He is survived by his wife, Joan; son, Tim Klitch (Barbara); daughter, Jenny Klitch (Brad Sprayberry); and daughter, Jodi (Klitch) Bricker; sister, Ruth (Klitch) Snyder; grandchildren, Andrew Klitch, Matthew Klitch (Meaghan), Daniel Klitch (fiancé, Katie), Ryan (Molly), Colin (Sonia), and Austin (Maxie) Sprayberry, Natalie and Ella Bricker, Caroline Kren (Brian), Abby Kirkpatrick; and great-grandchildren, Jonathan, Alexandra, and Elizabeth Kren. A celebration of life will be held in Columbus, Ohio, at a later date when we can gather in person. In lieu of flowers, please consider paying it forward by encouraging, mentoring, or supporting a young person.

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Published in The Columbus Dispatch from Feb. 3 to Feb. 7, 2021.
Memories & Condolences
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15 entries
February 19, 2021
To Joan and Family,
Chuck and I spent many years playing tennis at Northam. Dick was a great teacher and promoter of tennis. We always enjoyed talking with Dick and Joan at Northam. We miss you. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
mary stockman
February 19, 2021
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.
mary stockman
Acquaintance
February 11, 2021
Team Klitch

Our thoughts are with you

Mr Klitch made my weaknesses strengths with some of the craziest drills you have ever seen. He made his students better players but more importantly better people! Great memories on the courts at Windsong and Northam.

David
David Royer
Student
February 11, 2021
Mr Klitch as I referred to him was first real tennis coach and helped me for many years. He had a big impact in my life and his tennis lessons taught me a lot. My condolences to all the family. God Bless
John Royer
John W Royer
Teacher
February 11, 2021
My condolences to the entire Klitch family.
Mr. Klitch towers in my memory, not only because he was improbably tall, but he seemed larger than life!
He and Joan breathed life into Northam Park Tennis; they built great junior programs. They taught many of us how to work and provided people like me with our first jobs.
There was no one I knew who had a finer ability to teach technical tennis, from the kick serve to the drop shot.
He was fiercely protective and loyal to his people.

Ted Frantz
Student
February 9, 2021
Dick was such a wonderful person. Babs Sirak and I took many, many lessons from Dick. He was a great teacher but also a good friend and alot of fun . Tennis became an important part of my Columbus life and Dick had so much to do with that.. We also came to know Joan as well and to you I send my thoughts and my love,

Mary Lazarus
Mary Lazarus
Friend
February 7, 2021
So sorry to hear of your loss. Your dad was always a lovely guy. May his memory be for a blessing.
Ann B Rosenfield
February 7, 2021
Greetings Klitch Family, Dick Klitch played an important part in my life. I have a lifelong disability in my left arm, due to a birth injury. I wanted to play tennis. I could not (and still cannot) raise my left arm higher than my shoulder. I took private lessons from Dick at Windsong in the late 70’s, early 80’s. He developed a method for me to serve by tossing the ball however high I could with my left arm and then getting under it with my right arm, and propelling it by snapping my right wrist. I would never be an A player, but this method served (no pun intended) me well enough to play several years in the suburban club league, first at Windsong, later at Brookside. I also played non competitively in the winter. I made many friends through tennis, some of whom I still see today. I play golf now. I’ll never be a single digit golfer, but the confidence I gained in tennis gives me the positive attitude to just get out there and play the game. My condolences, Marty Evans Huestis
Marty Huestis
Student
February 7, 2021
Joan and Family,

Dick was simply “the best”. He was a big part of our lives from the time we first met when Dick was the tennis pro at the old Winding Hollow. It was a privilege to know him and to have him as a friend. We send our sincere sympathy.

Bobbie and Alan Weiler

Alan Weiler
Friend
February 7, 2021
Dick and I enjoyed so much of our lives together as friends in Portsmouth and in Columbus. I'm surely proud to be his friend and he was always the gentleman sportsman. I believe we enjoyed our early Portsmouth-Columbus Breakfast meetings, the old Scioto County Roundups, and Adult softball tobgether. I know his greatly blessed family will miss the wisdom of my wonderful friend.
Sam Kegley
Friend
February 7, 2021
Tim , I’m so sorry for the passing of your dad , I’m glad u got to spend time and care for him in Texas . He was such a kind gentle sole .
Kim McNier
Friend
February 7, 2021
Dick was such a good person to make a huge mark on Columbus tennis. I can’t help, but think of his voice telling me some meaningful words. When he got older and couldn’t run on the court as well he compensated by hitting you a ball and knowing ahead where to be because that’s where you had to hit it. Thanks Dick for everything!
David Townsley
Friend
February 4, 2021
I had the great pleasure of working with Dick for many years. Not only was he a great friend, wonderful family man, but the Father of tennis in Columbus. I am blessed for the many years of friendship with Dick and his beautiful family.
Rest In Peace
Love, Stef Jones (Ft. Myers Beach, Fl.)
Stephanie Jones
Friend
February 4, 2021
The tennis community in Columbus was so blessed to have had Dick for so many years. His teaching/coaching style helped thousands of men, women and children to love tennis. I feel so lucky to have known Dick!
Sandy Ferris
Friend
February 3, 2021
Every time I step on a tennis court, I hear Dick’s voice in my head. There are a lot of tennis pros around, but there has never been a more effective teacher of tennis. His gentle soul and positive approach to interacting with a player he was teaching should have been bottled and sold. I will miss him.
Jane McMeekin
Friend
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