Dr. Walter Marvin Klein “Doc” passed away peacefully on November 5th, 2016, at his home in Eau Claire, WI.
He was born in Pontiac, Michigan, on March 3rd, 1922, but soon after moved with his parents, Louis and Ethel (Goodman) Klein, to Brooklyn, NY.
Walter graduated from Cornell University in 1945 with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. While in college he joined a bridge club, where he met Jean O’Bryan his future wife and mother of their five children. Bridge soon became more than just a pastime for Walter and Jean. They both became avid players, competing throughout the United States and Canada, and even played once against Omar Sharif.
After graduation in 1945, he married Jean and they moved to Albany, NY, where he had his first veterinary practice. It was in Albany that he took care of Governor Thomas E. Dewey’s dog, a large brown standard poodle that happily shared the Governor’s mansion.
A year later, Walter and his wife drove to Spring Valley, WI, where he had his veterinary practice for nine years. His family then moved to Elmwood, WI for another nine years.
The years he and his family lived in Elmwood, Walter’s veterinary practice was in the basement of their home, where his children loved watching him perform surgery and affectionately care for family pets. Often times neighborhood children would bring wounded birds, rabbits and other small animals to his house so that he could “fix” them, although most of his practice was focused on large animals. His children would anxiously take turns going out on farm calls with him, where many times the families would pay Walter with eggs, chickens or vegetables from their farms.
His family moved to Eau Claire in 1962, where Walter practiced veterinary medicine until retirement in 1984. He was co-owner of the Eau Claire Animal Hospital until opening his own practice, The Ark. During those years there were many young adults and students who would bring their sick or wounded animals to Walter knowing that, even if they could not pay the bill, their animals would be taken care of.
Walter was active in and served on the boards of many organizations. He was the President of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and an active member for many years. He served on the YMCA board, the Human Social Services board, the Luther Hospital Arts Committee board, the Girl Scout board, and was one of the main fundraisers for the establishment and building of the Eau Claire County Humane Association.
After his wife’s death, Walter married Susan Terman in 1991, who also shared an interest in bridge. Together they continued playing and teaching duplicate bridge. Walter became a Silver Life Master, a title given to those who have won a certain number of local and national competitions.
Walter enjoyed animals and nature, collecting art and watching the Green Bay Packers and Brewers. He also had a wonderful sense of humor, as his “breakfast buddies” would attest to.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Jean; children, Leslie and Bruce; granddaughter, Amy; and sisters, Evelyn and Dorothy.
He is survived by his wife, Susan; son and daughter-in-law, Douglas and Sandy Klein of Kailua, HI; daughter and son-in-law, Shelby Klein and Javier González of Madrid, Spain; daughter, Marcia Claus of Colorado Springs, CO; daughter-in-law, Jeanne Jacowski (Todd) of Stevens Point, WI; three grandchildren: Benjamin Klein, Xana González-Klein (Alejandro Fernández) and Michael Claus (Deanna Griesan); two great-grandsons: Elijah and Xanis; his sister, Jerry Rosoff of Boca Raton, FL; step-daughters, Laurie (John) Blunt and LeAnn Hillman; step-son, Doug Hillman; brother-in-law, Dennis (LeAnn) McMahon and sister-in-law, Sally (Bob) Heintz.
Walter’s family would like to give special thanks for the many years of care and friendship of Dr. Sal Obaid and to the team from St. Joseph’s hospice program.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Eau Claire County Humane Association, the UW-Eau Claire Foundation’s Jean Klein Scholarship or to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Walter will be buried at St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery in Spring Valley, WI. Service and burial will be private.
The family will be receiving friends at the Chapel at Trinity Lutheran Church in Eau Claire from 5:00p.m. – 6:00p.m. on Thursday, November 10th, 2016.