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Nyles O. Klampe

1942 - 2017 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Nyles O. Klampe Obituary
Nyles O. Klampe

May 23, 1942 - May 18, 2017

TURNER - TURNER - Nyles Orville Klampe, who lived a good life filled with big adventures and few regrets, died (date) after a lengthy illness. He was 74.

Nyles was born in Salem, Oregon, to parents Orville and Gladys (Bloomfield) Klampe, one of six children. He grew up in the Lake Labish area and attended North Salem High School. He joined the Army in 1959 and served three years, mostly in Germany; he graduated with honors from turret mechanic school.

He met Christel Georg in Germany and the couple married in 1962. In 1970, Nyles married Carolee Arendt; the couple had a son, Grayson, in 1971. Grayson now works as a fishing boat captain in Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

After Nyles left the Army, he worked several places, including Little Iron Works and Overhead Door, which transferred him to Oxnard, California, for two years. After a trip oversees, he returned to Oregon, where he was hired at Diagnostic Centers, Inc., also known as Car Lab; he later was promoted to shop foreman at the Tigard location.

Nyles was an entrepreneur always looking for new ventures. In the 1960s, he started a small business, Little Lift Co., with Pat Lewis. In 1969 he partnered with Morris Fischer to open the original Muffler Center on Silverton Road in Salem. Nyles also took Dale Carnegie management classes and he and Buddy Ellis launched another small business, Fourth Dimension Seminars, which provided similar motivational training. Some of his ventures were more successful than others but each was a learning experience for Nyles.

Throughout the 1970s and into the early 1980s, Nyles was heavily involved in auto racing throughout the Northwest. He won the 1974 Northwest Division Championship racing competition eliminator dragsters. In 1975, he built a new car in 30 days, a feat few thought could be accomplished. The new rear-motor car went on to qualify first and win in its first race. Nyles won the Northwest championship again that year.

In 1980, Nyles partnered with Gary Lewis to buy a AA Funny Car. Nyles then struck a promotional deal with Blitz-Weinhard beer to promote the fictitious "Schludwiller Beer," that was popularized in a series of Blitz commercials at the time. The promotional partnership allowed Nyles and Gary to take the Schludwiller Funny Car to countless fairs, parades and races, and kept their race team afloat. Later they teamed with driver Mark Miller and enjoyed success along the funny car circuit around the northwest and Canada until the car was sold in 1981.

After selling the Muffler Center in 1989, Nyles went to work for John Fusner, setting up manufacturing plants in Mexico off and on for about 10 years. He purchased a 36-foot Islander sailboat, the Mericke, which he sailed from Everett, Washington, to Newport, Oregon, where he lived aboard and worked on the boat for two years. He later sailed to Chula Vista, Calif., and lived aboard while working in Mexico. Nyles always planned to sail to Baja but never could get a good weather window at the right time.

He met the love of his life, Martha Gutierrez, at the Taco Shop 12 years ago. The pair built a life together in Turner; her family became his family and the couple raised their two granddaughters, Samantha and Brianna, off and on for 10 years. Nyles and Martha finally cemented their relationship last year when they got married; it was the biggest relationship commitment Nyles ever made.

Nyles greeted everyone he knew with a sloppy smooch, was known for operating on "Nyles" time, and had a special knack for showing up at a party just as the hostess finished putting the food away.

He was fortunate to travel the world, from Europe to Barbados to Saint Lucia to Australia. His favorite spot was Nazko, British Columbia, where he spent many winters snowmobiling and summers fishing and dirt bike-riding, often with Grayson in tow.

Cars were Nyles' passion. He bought, sold, repaired and customized all kind of vehicles. He couldn't pick a favorite but had four special cars in his collection: a 1957 Chevy Nomad, a 1958 Corvette, a 1979 Porsche 928 and a 1934 Ford two-door custom sedan.

Nyles is survived by his wife, Martha of Turner; son Grayson of Salem; stepdaughters Paty, Veronica and Lili; Martha's five grandsons and four granddaughters; a sister, Peggy Burke of Salem; nieces and nephews, extended family and many friends. He was preceded in death by parents, Orville and Gladys; wife Christel; brothers Verle, Maurice, Marvin and Loren; and stepson Ramon.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Queen of Peace Catholic Church, 4227 Lone Oak Rd. S.E., Salem. A celebration of life will follow at 2 p.m. for family and friends at the Klampe home, 9642 39th Ave., Turner. Bring your own beverages.

Arrangements entrusted to City View Funeral Home.
Published in StatesmanJournal on May 24, 2017
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