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Eugene D. Klineburger


1919 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Eugene D. Klineburger Obituary
Eugene D. Klineburger

Eugene (Gene) Klineburger was born April 27, 1919 in Tucson, Arizona and died at the age of 99 on May 26, 2018.

When Gene was 15, he lost sight in one eye as a result of another boy shooting at him with bird shot. That didn't show him down and, in fact, later he learned to fly and got his pilot's license. He also had a life-long interest in antique cars. His first endeavor was to take a 1922 Model T Ford, remove the body and make it into a "strip down", a forerunner to an early hot rod. This love of cars resulted in his avocation of collecting horseless carriages and classic cars throughout his adult life. He was a life member of the Horseless Carriage Club, Mercedes-Benz Club, Franklin Club, and Classic Car Club.

Gene's father died during the Great Depression and Gene, at 16, began work for the mines to keep the family going in Bisbee. When WWII broke out, Gene joined the Army and became a Military Police Escort Guard, watching over German and Italian prisoners. While serving near Ogden, Utah, Gene met his future wife, Betty Thurman, at USO dances and they were wed in 1944.

After the war and Gene's honorabel discharge from the Army, they moved to Tucson, Arizona where they built a home and began their family of three children. He worked for Tucson General Electric as an electrician. They moved to Bellevue in 1954 where he joined his brothers, Bert and Chris, in working for, and later purchasing, Jonas Bros. Taxidermy of Seattle, a world-renowned company. The brothers quickly expanded the business to include fur tanning, fur garment manufacturing, and travel. After buying the company, they changed the name to Klineburger Brothers Worldwide Travel.

One of Gene's favorite activities was hunting and conducting business in Alaska's Arctic region. He and Betty had many hunting and travel adventures around the world, including Africa, Thailand, India, and Alaska and met many fascinating people and digitaries.

In 1970 they bought a former chicken ranch on 5 acres near Pine Lake, Issaquah, built a home and 8-car garage for his antique cars. They lived there until Betty's death in 2008, after 64 years of marriage. Gene continued to live in Issaquah before moving to Lynnwood 3 years ago.

Gene is survived by his daughters Dianna (husband Gene Snidarich), Judy (husband Kim Simonelli) and son Lloyd (wife Jan), brother Chris (wife Grace) and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.

After a week of telling his stories one last time to many family and friends who visited with him, he passed away surrounded by family on Saturday, May 26. He was buried at Tahoma National Cemetery. If you chose, donations in the memory of Gene may be made to a .
Published in The Seattle Times on June 10, 2018
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