Dean Thomas Klein passed away after a six-month battle with cancer in his sleep in the home he shared with his devoted wife, Claire, of 47 years in Leander, Texas on May 30th, 2017. He was surrounded by family, friends and fellow church goers the months leading up to his passing.
Dean was born on March 20, 1947 to Oscar and Dorothy (Ozzie and Dottie) Klein in Washington, DC. He had two siblings Dennis (deceased) and Diane (living). Ozzie was a federal employee of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) which later became the CIA. The family lived all over the world including, Japan, Taiwan, Turkey and Mexico City before returning to Maryland where the children graduated high school.
Dean attended the University of Maryland in College Park and received a Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering. Halfway through his studies when the Vietnam Draft was underway he enlisted in the Air National Guard proactively (in order to avoid the draft) and while being stationed in Biloxi MS (during Hurricane Camille) he met his wife Claire.
He describes their meeting for the first time as “just knowing he had to spend his life with her and knowing she was the one he was going to marry.” Six months after meeting he proposed and they were married in New Orleans, Louisiana (near to Claire’s hometown of Venice, Louisiana) on October 10th, 1970.
Dean and Claire moved to DC Metro area (much to the chagrin of Claire who was always more comfortable in the South) and Dean began his 41 year career supporting the federal government culminating with implementing a Performance Management System within the offices of the CIO and CFO at the General Services Administration (GSA). This system enabled real time measurement of financial performance agency-wide including all federally owned vehicles and buildings. Soon other agencies with the Department of Defense (DoD) requested Dean to speak at events regarding his success at GSA and he was approached by large commercial companies like Walmart who wanted to understand his work.
As young newlyweds who were not in a rush to have children, Dean and Claire got a poodle and spent the first nine years of marriage utilizing Dean’s pilot license and newly purchased twin engine Cessna. They visited family and friends in North Carolina, New Orleans, Texas, Disneyworld, Ocean City, MD and had great adventures in their plane with their little black dog.
In 1979, they had their daughter Kristen Ann who was brought home on Father’s Day and in 1985 their son Seth Thomas. The family lived in Vienna, VA on three acres while the children attended school. They lived in that house together for 15 years and had great memories. Kristen is a Marketing Consultant for Federal Government Information Technology (IT) and Architecture and Engineering Contractors and Seth is a Financial IT Systems Consultant for Federal Government Contractors.
After retirement Dean and Claire settled in Leander, TX (30 miles north of Austin) to live life at a slower pace (Claire really liked this idea) and to be closer to Dean’s mother Dottie (who recently passed away). They immediately cultivated deep and meaningful friendships with a variety of neighbors and people in the community. Dean took over duties to lead the “Over The Hill Gang” a weekly gathering of seniors in the community who would meet for a buffet style lunch. They had T-shirts made that said, “What hill? I don’t remember a hill.”
Dean’s favorite quote was, “It’s great to learn things because then you know stuff.” He loved the Beatles, any chance to take Claire on the dance floor, going to the movies with his children and indulging in popcorn, compelling conversation and a variety of cuisines from around the globe and after retirement he used his newly acquired free time to create dishes on his own while building a massive binder of recipes. Dean was an Elder and Treasurer of Whole Word Fellowship in Vienna, VA and Dean and Claire were active members of Grace Alive Church in Liberty Hill, TX.