Bob L Klein

Bob L Klein

June 29, 1932 – May 8, 2021

 Retired Physics Instructor and Track Coach from Westside High School

Survived by wife, Mary “Kay” Klein; children: Lee Ann Klein, Tim Klein, Tom Klein (Sally); grandsons, Michael and Joseph; brother, Garry Klein (Deb); sister-in-law, Judy Hughes.

Family will receive friends Thursday, May 13th from 5-7pm at West Center Chapel.  Private Family Funeral Mass.  In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Autism Society of Nebraska, The Westside Foundation, or Mary Our Queen Catholic Church.

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Bob grew up on a farm near Wolbach, Nebraska.  He attended Wolbach High School, where he participated in football, basketball, track, and baseball.  At age 16, he graduated from Wolbach High School as Salutatorian of his Class of 1949.  

After graduating from high school, Bob attended Midland Lutheran College where he participated in football and track.  He was a member of Blue Key.  Bob graduated from Midland in the Spring of 1953 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Physics and Math, with a minor in German.

In August of 1953, Bob was drafted into the United States Army.  As he was fluent in German, Bob was assigned to a border patrol unit in Southern Germany.  Shortly after being stationed in Germany, he was reassigned as Divisional Clerk for his division and stationed in Augsburg, Germany.  Just prior being discharged from the Army, he was reassigned to the 1st Infantry Division to be deployed back in the United States, and Bob was discharged from the “Big Red 1” in August 1955.  

After being discharged from the Army, Bob started his teaching career at Shelby (Iowa) High School in September 1955.  Bob taught Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Math and was an assistant coach in football and track.  He met the love of his life while teaching in Shelby and Bob and Kay were married in Beattie, Kansas on June 2, 1958.  Bob taught in Shelby until May 1961.  He taught at Wall Lake, Iowa from the Fall of 1961 to Spring 1962.

In the Summer of 1962, Bob was awarded a scholarship through the National Science Foundation to complete his Masters of Science in Teaching at the University of North Dakota.  Bob completed his Master of Science in Teaching in August 1964 with Masters Degrees in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Math.

Bob started teaching and coaching at Omaha Westside High School in August 1963.  He taught Physics at Westside with Dr. Charles Lange.  While teaching Physics at Westside, Bob was recognized as a Tandy Scholar, a Milken Educator Award Winner, and a Distinguished Educator by the University of Nebraska at Omaha.   He was awarded the Westside/District 66 School Bell Award in 1997.  The Physics program at Westside won recognition as a Top 3 High School Physics Program in the Nation by the National Association of Physics Teachers and a Top 10 High School Science Program by the National Science Teachers Association.  Bob was an assistant track coach at Westside from 1963 to 1973 and was the Head Track Coach from 1974 to 1985.  His track teams at Westside were State Champions in 1967 and 1975.  Bob was the Faculty Sponsor for the Westside Chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Westside Chapter of Interact (Junior Rotary Club),

After retirement from Westside, he continued his career in teaching as an Associate Professor of Physics at the University of Nebraska Omaha from 1998 to 2004.

In Summer 2004, Bob unofficially moved into his role as full time grandfather.  He spent every school day transporting Michael and Joseph to and from school, assisting with homework, being full time quarterback, full time catch partner, and volunteering at Mary Our Queen School.

Bob was a big advocate for volunteering and making a difference in your community.  He always volunteered at track meets or road races.  Bob organized all-comer track meets at Westside in the Summer.  He was Clerk of the Start at almost every Cornhusker Flyers track meet, including two National Junior Olympic Track Meets.  Bob was the meet director for the National Maccabean Games.  He and Kay and Frank and Trudy Perone were race directors for the initial Corporate Cup Run in Omaha and the Lady Runner 5 K Run.  Bob and Kay were founding members of the Autism Society of Nebraska. He was the Faculty Sponsor for the Westside Chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Westside Chapter of Interact (Junior Rotary Club).  Bob was very involved for his home parish of Mary Our Queen Catholic Church for almost 50 years.  He served as a reader at mass, served on the strategic planning committee, and served on the Parish Counsel, serving two terms as Parish Council President.

Bob is survived by wife, Mary “Kay” Klein; children: Lee Ann Klein, Tim Klein, Tom Klein (Sally); grandsons, Michael and Joseph; brother, Garry Klein (Deb); sister-in-law, Judy Hughes.

Family will receive friends on Thursday, May 13th from 5 pm to 7 pm at Heafey, Hoffman, Dworak and Cutler – West Center Chapel, 7805 West Center Road, Omaha Nebraska.

Private Family Mass will be held at Mary Our Queen Catholic Church at 11 am on Friday, May 14th.  Funeral services can be viewed on-line through the following link: www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button.  

In Bob’s memory, the family would ask you all to consider committing to benefiting your local community.  Whether that means volunteering at your local church, joining a local service organization, coaching a local youth sports team, volunteering at local youth sports events, or any other local service opportunity that you can help improve your local community.

In lieu of flowers or plants, the family would ask to consider a charitable contribution in memory of Bob Klein to the Westside Foundation, the Autism Society of Nebraska, Mary Our Queen School, or another charity of your choice.

 

 

 

10 Comments

  • Donna Holmquist Posted May 10, 2021 9:35 pm

    Dear Kay—All three of our kids said “he was a good teacher.” That is a great tribute! He and Bruce enjoyed teaching together along with the other great teachers in the Science Department. Bruce died January 23 of this year. We were blessed to have 67 years together in marriage. Perhaps the two of them are talking about “old times” as they visit in heaven. May our Lord and Savior, bless you and comfort you as only He can do.

  • Joe Luby Posted May 11, 2021 4:54 am

    Rest in peace Mr. Klein, and THANK YOU from the many Lubys you taught over the years.

  • Eileen Kroeger Posted May 11, 2021 9:53 am

    I will always remember Mr. Klein as one of my favorite teachers, and one of the reasons I loved Westside! Rest in Peace. My condolences to his family.

  • Jessica Wilden Posted May 11, 2021 2:34 pm

    I was just a physics-loving nerd back in high school with only a few friends unsure of my future. I used to hang back and talk to Mr. Klein after class. He told me one day not to be afraid of physics and to “run with the big dogs in life” because it would only make me stronger. I am a brain surgeon now despite all the odds and am running with the big dogs. Thanks for everything Mr. K. You made a huge difference for me.

  • Joe Putjenter Posted May 12, 2021 11:18 am

    Thank you Mr Klein for making a difficult subject both easy and fun. I still brag about how great the teachers were at Westside, and you were one of the best.

  • Tasha Kelly Posted May 12, 2021 1:55 pm

    Tim Klein and I work together. I have heard so many funny and inspirational stories about Bob. Bob Klein used to coach track and field in the district against my father, Harry Meeker. They are both up there now with their stopwatches and looking down on their great friends and family. RIP Bob.

  • Steve Soper Posted May 12, 2021 4:45 pm

    Kay; I was saddened to hear about the passing of Bob. He was my hero and someone I aspired to be like. That is why I went into teaching. I really enjoyed Bob’s lectures in physics! I am now at KU in Lawrence and still working hard to reach levels that Bob meet in terms of teaching young people. He will be missed. Steve

  • Heidi Jeanne Hess Posted May 14, 2021 6:46 pm

    Mr. Klein was an amazing teacher. Many condolences.

  • Jacqueline Hegarty Posted May 15, 2021 8:15 am

    We are sorry to hear about Bob, our sympathy to all of you.

  • Scott Davis Posted September 8, 2021 1:49 pm

    Ah, I was just thinking of the Klein’s this spring and looked up Mr. Klein’s name today. Bob was a great person and now I’ve read about him I didn’t know the half of how great he was. Bob and Kay use to walk around the neighborhood and we saw them everyday. The Davis family sends our condolences.

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