Richard Holt Klein
April 29, 1929 - February 28, 2021
Tahuya, Washington - Richard 'Dick' Klein died peacefully at his beloved waterfront home on Hood Canal on February 28, 2021. He was born April 29, 1929, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the first of two sons to Victor and Evelyn Klein. Dick will be laid to rest next to his wife Joanne, the love of his life and best friend, in the Bethania Cemetery in Rosholt, South Dakota.
Dick frequently reminisced about growing up close to Lake Harriet and meeting his lifelong neighborhood friends Dick Sachs and Cal Gage in the seventh grade. His relationship with those two dear friends helped shape Dick's core values: family, service, generosity, kindness, the importance of relationships, faith, innovation, courage, integrity, and gratitude. After graduating from Washburn Senior High in 1948 he went on to St Olaf College where he met Joanne Bjork. They were married on June 26th that same year. After St Olaf, they moved to Minneapolis where he attended the University of Minnesota Dental School. Dick's stint with the Army took the family, Joanne and sons Bob and Jim, to Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver, Colorado. It was here that Nancy was born. In 1954 the Army relocated the Klein family to Fort Lewis, Washington. Dick and Joanne fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and decided to make Lakewood their home. By the early 1960's they added Peter, Jennifer and Stephen to the family; Lisa and Andrea followed soon after.
Outdoor life for Dick started as an Eagle Scout in Minnesota and continued as he immersed himself in outdoor activities and community pursuits. Dick and his family were founding members of Sitzmark lodge and the chapel at Crystal Mountain. Summers were spent on Hood Canal in Tahuya and later in retirement Dick and Joanne lived in Baja in a beachfront home at Posada Conception. Some of the best times were at home on Steilacoom Lake where water and nature activities abound. As if life wasn't full enough Dick always found time to backpack in the Cascades and Olympics, travel to Europe and watch the kids' sporting events. Dick was a founding member of Christ Lutheran Church in Lakewood and an early supporter of Charles Wright Academy, where seven of his children attended school. He also sat on the Board of Regents at Charles Wright and Pacific Lutheran University. In Baja, Dick was a member of Mulege's Rotary International where he served as a dentist in their clinic and brought 'new smiles' to remote villagers. Since the late 1990's Dick has been a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Belfair and President of the Board that oversaw CLC's childcare center.
Dick's life was made complete with his thriving dental practice that allowed him to hone his craftsman like dental skills and nurture relationships with his patients, staff and partners. The Klein-O'Connor Dental Management lecture circuit with partner Ralph O'Connor was his passion for more than 20 years. They became nationally acclaimed experts as they pioneered best practices and procedures for dental practice management. Dick was a member of the American Academy of Aesthetic Dentistry, the American Academy of Dental Practice Administration where he served as president, and served as faculty at The University of Washington Dental School.
Dick's love for the arts, music and photography permeated his entire life. He sang in choral groups including the choir at Christ Lutheran Church and with the Seattle Rep's performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance. Christmas Eve at the Klein household was always celebrated with a family and friends sing-along that lasted for hours. His amateur photography 'career' was ongoing, and he was rarely seen without a movie or still camera in hand. In his later years, he mused with the iPhone and iPad technology for the photo quality it produced. He will be remembered by the thousands of beautiful photos, slides and movies he took of people, flora and fauna.
In his later years Dick defied the laws of aging. He exercised daily, made new friends and was always a welcome guest. He had a talent for listening, engaging in conversation, and caring deeply for those he was with.
Dick is preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Joanne, his son Stephen, and his brother Don (Anna-Marie). He will be very missed by his surviving family, his children Robert (Cindy), Jim (Charmaine), Nancy, Peter (Sheila), Jennifer (Brent), Lisa (Rick) and Andrea (Ben) as well as his grandchildren Christopher (Whitney) Seth, Peter, Zach (Rachel), Stephanie (Phil), Alec, Nathalie, Gavin, Taylor, Kate, Isaak and Henry, and great grandchildren Alana, Eli, Harper, and James.
A Celebration of Dick's life will be held at St. Nicholas' Church, 15000 NE Northshore Rd, Tahuya, WA 98588 on Saturday, June 19 at 1:00 pm.
No Flowers by request. Donations in Dick's name can be made to Scandinavian Cultural Center at Pacific Lutheran University and Christ Lutheran Church (Belfair) Childcare Center.
Published in News Tribune (Tacoma) on May 30, 2021.