Cover photo for William (Bill) Henry Klein Jr.'s Obituary
William (Bill) Henry Klein Jr. Profile Photo

William (Bill) Henry Klein Jr.

March 28, 1925 — September 30, 2022


William (Bill) Henry Klein Jr.


A bright light was extinguished September 30, 2022, when William H. Klein Jr., age 97, took his last breath.
Bill was born on the family dairy farm southeast of Plains, Kansas, March 28, 1925. He was the last of 5 children and the only son. His sisters and mother, Dolly Elmena Packard Klein, spoiled him while his dad and namesake, William Henry Klein, Sr., demanded hard work and strict discipline. Young Billie began milking cows at age 5-a mandatory chore, twice daily, for the next 11 years instilling a strong work ethic.

In the 7th grade a new music teacher arrived in Plains and discovered Bill’s natural, angelic tenor voice. It was a gift he shared with the community as soloist for weddings, funerals, talent shows, church choir, and men’s groups. His final public performance was at age 86 when he sang a duet with his then 7-year-old granddaughter Grace. A birthday phone call to a family member regaling them with the Happy Birthday song was a treasured experience that he continued until his death.

Just days after his high school graduation, Bill declined an agricultural deferment to join the US Army Air Corps. He returned 2 years later a 2nd Lieutenant with wings pinned to his lapel. The war ended before he could deploy with his flight crew as a bombardier.

It was the Fall of 1947 when Bill married his lovely, red-headed, childhood friend, Ruby Janice Jacobs. They sped off to California in a new Ford convertible for their 6-week honeymoon. The wheat crop that year had been bountiful and sold for $2/bushel. Within 3 years they were homesteading on a farm 20 miles southeast of Tribune WITHOUT electricity, running water, an indoor toilet or a telephone; and WITH a

toddler, Kandee Kae, and a baby, William Huntley. Later, Rock Alan followed by Kellee Jo, completed the family.
Farming and ranching were the core of Bill’s dry land agribusiness-growing wheat, milo and ensilage then grazing heifer calves on wheat pasture over the winter. It was a gamble to farm and ranch on this arid, finicky prairie; he prevailed with perseverance through the best and worst of times. The farm lives on!

Later he joined other community investors to purchase the First National Bank of Tribune where he sat on the Board of Directors for 29 years.

Bill was a founding member of his beloved “Lunch Bunch”- a group of fun loving individuals who gathered every weekday for lunch at the Dixon Drug cafe. Known for his personal and financial generosity, Bill could not turn his head to a person or a community organization in need and likely contributed to every fundraiser ever held in Greeley County!

However, Bill Klein will be remembered most for his charismatic, uplifting SPIRIT, his always-present SMILE, and most of all, for his legendary, truly- unforgettable LAUGH.
He always cited his family as his most valued legacy: his wife of 75 years, Janice, to whom he gave all the credit for raising their 4 children; Hunt (Vickie) Klein, Rock (Teri) Klein, Kellee (Chris) Dixon, and Kandee Klein.

He loved and was so proud of his 9 grandchildren: Jennifer (John) Klein Boggs; Levi (Michelle) Klein; Jeremi (Stewart) Dixon Whitham; Jentri (Nick) Dixon Hahn; Jasmine (Aaron) Dixon Kastner; Michael (Claudia) Klein; Robert (Amilette) Klein; William Joseph Klein; and Karen (Taylor) Klein Lundy; and his great grandchildren: Belle Ruby Boggs; Cassandra Lynn Boggs; Judah Soren Lundy; Jackson Stone Lundy; Jacob Rockwell Klein;

Olivia Marie Klein; Addison Blayne Castillo; Ariana Belen Castillo; Amora Janice Klein; Axel Alan Klein; Grace Kellee Whitham; Max Edward Whitham; Reagan Jane Hahn; Myles Henry Hahn, Reese Vivian Hahn; and Calvin William Kastner.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents; four sisters Myra (Olus) Vail , Ethel (Pete) McCormick, Agnes (Elwood) Hill, Shirley (Russel) McLaughlin, and daughter-in-law, Marilyn Smith Klein.

His life will be celebrated Saturday, October 22, 2022, 11:00 MST at the Tribune United Methodist Church pastored by Jeri Farmer Smith. Services will be live streamed in the window below this obituary. Memorials are suggested to the Greeley County Library or the Tribune United Methodist church in care of Price and Sons funeral home, PO Box 161, Leoti, Kansas 67861.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William (Bill) Henry Klein Jr., please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Memorial Service for William H. Klein Jr.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Mountain time)

United Methodist Church of Tribune

608 Broadway Ave, Tribune, KS 67879

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