Life Story / Obituary
Donald J. Klein, age 87, passed away on December 31st, 2019 due to kidney failure at St. Monica’s Senior Living.
Born in Burlington, WI on January 14, 1932, he was the son of Leonard and Mildred (nee Downie) Klein. He attended St Mary’s Catholic grade and high schools in Burlington. He served in France with the 982nd Construction Engineers, Company A, U. S. Army, for two years, and was a member of the American Legion Post 310, Racine.
Don was a linotype operator for many years for several companies in Wisconsin and Illinois; he was then employed at Borg Industries in Delavan for several years. He was the assistant manager of the Casa del Mar Motor Inn in Ormond Beach, FL for ten years, returning to Wisconsin in 1980.
He moved to Racine in 1985 and in 1993 married Gabriella Birkholz, a close friend he had known for more than 35 years. Gabriella predeceased him in October 2017. Don love the out of doors and enjoyed working in his yard. Their cottage in Waterford, WI offered great opportunities to enjoy boating on the Fox River and entertaining family and friends. Don was an avid reader who also enjoyed traveling. Favorite destinations were New Orleans and Key West. Above all, he liked living in close proximity to Lake Michigan.
Don is survived by nieces Renee (Jim) Michals, Lyons, WI and Candice (Dan) Becker, Overland Park, KN; nephews Jeffrey Swano and Robert Jasen of, Oak Park, IL; mother-in-law Sonja Becvar, Racine, WI; sister-in-law Julie Swano, Barrington, IL; and many other relatives and special friends. He was preceded in death by his wife, his parents, his sister Rosalie Radke of Burlington, and special canines Bradley and Alexander. Special thanks to the Sisters of St. Rita at St. Monica’s Senior Living, as well as nurses and staff.
A Memorial Service will be held at Maresh-Meredith & Acklam Funeral Home, 803 Main Street, Thursday, January 9, 2020, 5:00 pm with Reverend Richard Molter officiating. Visitation will be held prior to the service 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm. Private burial will be at the Bohemian National Cemetery, Caledonia, WI.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the American Heart Association, the National Kidney Foundation, or Vision Forward Association.