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Edward J. Klein

January 5, 1923 ~ February 2, 2019 (age 96)

PEORIA-Edward “Ed” Joseph Klein, 96, of Peoria passed away at 4:45pm Saturday February 2, 2019 at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria, IL surrounded by his family. He was a resident at Courtyard Estates in Peoria IL since 2012.

Ed was born on January 5, 1923, in Peoria, the son of Erwin and Louise Klein. He married Dolores Gibson on May 23, 1952. She preceded him in death. His parents, one son Christopher Klein, one grandson William Klein, two brothers Dick Klein and Jerry Klein also preceded him in death.

He is survived by two daughters, Christina (Pat) Puntoni Heyworth IL, Paula Klein Tucson AZ, three sons, Tim (Debbie) Klein of Moline IL, Evan Klein of Laura IL, Marty (Barbara) Klein of Washington IL., One sister Sue Klein of South Pasadena FL along with 10 grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren.

Ed was a graduate of Spalding Institute in Peoria. He attended Bradley University where he graduated in 1948 with his BS degree in English. He spent most of his career working as an advertising copywriter working many years at the Hall Haerr Peterson & Harney Inc. Agency in Peoria.

Ed was a quiet but sociable man who was well liked by the people he touched in his life. He was an avid reader who was well versed in about any subject imaginable that qualified him to participate in conversations no matter the topic. Coupled with his sense of humor, clever wit, and his insatiable desire to learn he was a person who people would naturally gravitate to because he was so interesting to talk and listen to. He was always eager to share his life experiences revolving around his youth and any mischievous behavior as he was growing up.  Ed will be remembered as a gentleman with a sweet spirit.

He loved to travel the back roads of the Midwest with his wife Dolores, discovering out-of-the-way parks and waterways and small town cafes.  He was fascinated by anything mechanical and always made it a point to keep up with new products and emerging technology. Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, and Mechanix Illustrated were some of his favorite magazines.  Ed was always an eager participant to try any gadget or product that would perform some miraculous performance enhancements or cheap repair on his automobiles none of which actually worked.  He was quick to share any experiences regarding his favorite automobiles he owed over the years. One of his favorites was his 1933 Auburn Speedster.   Ed was also a tinkerer and a handyman who was not afraid to take on household projects even if it was beyond his skillset.

Ed was also a tireless worker for the cause of civil rights and was instrumental in founding the Truth Corps, which later became the Peoria chapter of the NAACP. He also proudly supported feminism, and at one point even stepped in to serve as the interim president of Peoria's NOW chapter when needed. He continued writing many letters to the Editor in local Newsletters and Newspapers whenever he felt a voice needed to be heard.

Ed’s family would like to extend our appreciation to the staff at OSF St. Francis Medical Center who cared for him during his various stays at the hospital and to the staff at Courtyard Estates. We appreciate the kind and compassionate service he received while under their care.

Cremation has been accorded.  A Celebration of Life Gathering will be held at Avanti’s Restaurant, 2320 East Washington Road in East Peoria on Saturday February 16, 2019 from noon until 3:00pm. Memorial Contributions can be made to Peoria Rescue Ministries in lieu of flowers. To express condolences please visit


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