Charles A. “Chuck” Klein was not born into wealth or privilege, but he was lucky enough to be born a true Texan. He was born in San Benito, Texas to Arnold Alfred and Charlotte Doris (Kientz) Klein on August 1, 1934. He traced his ancestry to a strong history of pioneers who helped build the early Texas Republic and the formative stages of statehood. He was the son of a stern German plumber and an educated caring mother. He had two brothers, Gene and Robert, one older, one younger.
When he was 5, his family moved to Corpus Christi, and once there he went to school, grew into a man and stayed there until, at age 17 he joined the barely developed United States Air Force. The Air Force was so new that as an enlisted man, he wore army fatigues and an army uniform. His basic training was in San Antonio; the farthest North he had been in his life, and when completed, he was sent to South Carolina for additional weapons training.
Now ready, the Air Force sent him to California for further assignment to his permanent post. He was supposed to go to Hawaii, but by a quirk of fate, was instead deployed to Fairbanks, Alaska. Chuck would always say that it was the best mistake that ever happened to him. The two years spent in Alaska started a lifetime love affair with what was then a raw, untamed, and unpopulated wilderness, and it was an adventure that he would treasure his entire life.
In 1953, Chuck married his high school sweetheart, Dovie Lee Hughes and soon thereafter they started a family. First Debbie, then Kelle and finally Chip. They were married 65 years.
Chuck left the Air Force in 1958, after moving from Alaska, to California, Colorado, Nebraska, and finally Ohio. The family resettled back in Texas, in Port Lavaca, and then on to Mathis, and finally Portland. He worked most of his life as a highly trained technician working in nuclear plants, aluminum plants, and oil refineries across the country from Texas, to Washington, to Wisconsin, to Connecticut and Georgia.
Throughout his life, Chuck was a dedicated Mason and Shriner. He was a devout Southern Baptist and a member of the Gideons; and when in retirement, he and Dovie came back home to Mathis, they joined the First Baptist church where Chuck was soon elected a Deacon.
Chuck Klein was an independent, patriotic, God-loving, and stubborn man. He was cut from the cloth of people who lived through the great depression, and knew what it meant to go without, and to have to make your own way in the world; something he had been doing since he was twelve years old. He loved his God above all, then his country, and family and friends. He was an avid outdoorsman, fisherman and hunter. He loved the mountains, particularly the Rockies of southern Colorado, and saw many a sunset from atop a high mountain peak, all the while watching for the moose, elk, and deer that were surely nearby.
The children of the depression, of World War II and Korea are passing into memory. We will remember Chuck for the patriot he was, for his strength which came from his steadfast trust in God and Jesus Christ, and for his willingness to help others in need, when they needed it.
Charles was preceded in death by his parents, and brother Gene Klein. Survivors include his loving wife of 65 years, Dovie Lee Hughes Klein, daughters Deborah Lynn (Robert) Sheffield, Claudia Kellene (John) Carradine, son Charles (Chip) Jr., and brother Robert Klein. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Tara (Fidel) Villarreal, Travis (Chasity) Sheffield, Brandon (Rori) Sheffield, Briana (John) Abernathy, Brittany (Matthew) Patterson, Malcolm Carradine, Josh (Kelly) Klein, Jessica Klein, and Julia Klein; and 12 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be at Limbaugh Funeral Home, Portland, on Friday, November 9th, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Funeral Services will be conducted at 2:00 PM on Saturday November 10, 2018 at Limbaugh Funeral Home. There will be a burial immediately following at Palms Memorial Gardens Cemetery, Portland. Pallbearers are his grandsons Travis, Brandon, and Michael, and Grandsons in law Fidel, John, and Matt.
The family requests that memorial contributions be made to: First Baptist Church, P.O. Box 66, Mathis, TX 78368.
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