April 19, 1935 - August 13, 2021
Prairie Village, Kansas - Melville Barth Kleinschmidt, 86, Prairie Village, KS, passed away at St. Luke's Hospital on August 13, 2021 surrounded by his family. Barth was born April 19, 1935, in St. Louis, MO, to Melville and Hannah (Mortensen) Kleinschmidt. A sportsman and competitor, he pitched baseball at Webster Groves High School, threw the javelin for the University of Missouri, participated in 2 U.S. Senior Olympic Games. At Mizzou he made lifelong friends in the Sigma Chi Fraternity and graduated with a degree in Agriculture in 1958. Barth married the love of his life, Susan Ruddy, after graduation. They settled in Prairie Village for 44 years where they raised three children. They were active in St. Ann's Catholic Church where Barth dedicated his booming baritone voice to the choir and hosted pancake breakfasts.
An entrepreneur at heart, Barth sought ways to improve daily life through invention, actively pursuing patents into his 86th year. His eclectic career started at Pet Milk Corporation. He owned "Alfie's Fish and Chips" in downtown Kansas City, ran a food brokerage business for 20 years and started a wholesale reseller business from undeliverable freight sourced at SubTropolis.
Barth was a skilled fly fisherman from a childhood spent on Missouri rivers. He passed the love of canoeing and camping to his children and grandchildren. He was known to spin a scary yarn around the campfire. In 1983, Barth became part of the river narrative of author and fellow Mizzou grad, William Trogdon, a.k.a. William Least Heat-Moon's 5,288-mile journey documenting life and America's water-forged history in Riverhorse. Barth and a group rafted the Salmon River stretch of Heat-Moon's adventure. In retirement, Barth and Susan relocated to Bend, Oregon, enjoying recreation along the Deschutes River and in the Sisters mountains with wonderful new friends.
We'll all miss his big booming laugh, his disdain for cilantro, his love of pancakes floating like rafts in syrup and real butter. Please visit www.Muehlebachchapel.com
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Published by Kansas City Star on Aug. 22, 2021.