Thursday, October 14, 2010

Obiturary: Henry B. Kleinert - Class of 1934

DALLAS, TEXAS/MADISON - Henry was born in Wisconsin, March 5, 1917, the second son of Bernhard H. Kleinert and Olena nee Rockne-Anfinson Kleinert. He grew up in Madison, Wis., graduated from Central High and attended the University of Wisconsin in music. He was initiated into Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia the honors music fraternity. He was also in pre-med and pre-law. Later, he was in graduate studies in psychology. He directed a popular orchestra out of Madison under the name Henry Haaks. On August 2, 1940, he married a lovely young lady, Helen Peck, of Spring Green, at Bethel Lutheran in Madison. Dr. Morris Wee performed the marriage service. Henry served on the staff of the Madison YMCA and the state YMCA Camp Phantom Lake, where he taught swimming, sailing and canoeing. In 1941, after a lot of planning, Helen and Henry planned on canoeing the entire Mississippi River. They sold their big Chrysler Airflow orchestra car and bought a Model A Ford for $60, canoe, tent, camp cook stove, paddles, etc. Donald Lovell, joined Henry paddling, and Patricia Burris, a seventeen year old friend, accompanied Helen in the Model A pulling the orchestra trailer with the camping equipment. They began their trip the first of June in Lake Itasca, the source of the river and ended the trip in New Orleans on August 19. Later, Henry served as an Artic Survival Instructor in the Army Air Corps in the Rockies, Canada, and Alaska. Gary, their son, was born in Edmonton, Alberta. After the war, Helen and Henry lived in Spring Green, where Henry learned about the seed corn business, with Helen's father, Harry Peck, one of the founders of Pride Seed Corn Company. Henry was active in the community of Spring Green, in in the Chamber of Commerce, president of the local development corporation, treasurer of the Big Hollow Lutheran Church, active in the Republican Party and other activities. Linda, their daughter, was born while they lived in Spring Green.

In visiting Dr. Charles Puls in Madison, Dr. Puls asked Henry if he ever thought of the ministry. After some laughter Henry said, "No". Dr PuIs said, "Why Not" Henry experienced a holy presence and he knew the Lord called him and also called Helen to be a partner in the Call. Helen had graduated from the university in 1940, but Henry had been in and out of the university but no degree. They moved to Fremont, Nebraska, where Henry attended Midland College, Central Seminary and supplied two Methodist Churches, Arlington, and Kennard, Nebraska until he finished seminary in 1953. He received a Call to serve as assistant to Dr. Puls at Luther Memorial in Madison, while attending the university graduate school in Psychology in order to go with Dr. Goud Wickey in the Board of Higher Education. Dr. Wickey granted Henry the scholarship for graduate studies. Dr. Wee urged Henry to continue the graduate studies by accepting the Call to Black Earth and West Middleton Lutheran Churches near Madison. Henry was the first pastor of both congregations. Then he became campus Pastor at Eau Claire and then Chaplain of Midland College in Fremont, Nebraska. He was then called to Mount Carmel in Minneapolis as senior pastor. Later as senior pastor in First Lutheran in Ottumwa, and then back to Minneapolis as president of American Bethesda Corp., a non-profit group which designed and built retirement communities. Then Henry was called to the suburban congregation, Grace Lutheran of Wayzata. He retired from Grace in 1981, and served Vision of Glory as assistant, Good Shepherd in Inver Grove Heights, Minn. In 1994 Henry and Helen moved to Texas to be near family. In Dallas Henry was Interim Pastor at Christ Lutheran on Lovers Lane, assisted at King of Glory and Central Lutheran. In December, 1998 Henry went to Grace Lutheran, a store front congregation in Ennis, Texas. He retired finally on July 18,2004 in the new church building which had been dedicated in 2004.

Henry was preceded in death by his two brothers, Eugene and Wilmer, son, Gary, in 2003; and his wife of 67 years, Helen in 2007.

He is survived by his second wife, Gerry Reeves Kleinert of Arlington, Texas; sister, Josephine Farrell of Madison, Wis.; daughter, Linda Cole of Colleyville, Texas; four grandchildren, Chris Kleinert of Dallas, Courtney Ullrich from Kentucky, Mike Cole of Austin, and Christy Davis of Keller. He is also survived by 10 great-grandchildren, ages 1 to 20 years old. Visitation is at RESTLAND FUNERAL HOME, Greenville Avenue in Dallas on Friday, Oct 15, 2010, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. (972) 238-7111. Memorial Services will be held at Central Lutheran Church, 1000 Easton Road, Dallas, Texas 75218 at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct 16, 2010. Phone (214) 327-2222. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Central Lutheran Church Memorial Fund.

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on October 14, 2010 (submitted by Sandie Sabroff Weber)

Note: Henry B. Kleinert's class year is based on information in the 1934 Orange & Black yearbook, where he is pictured among the graduating seniors.

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