John Thomas Klei of Cincinnati, Ohio, passed away at the age of 74 on December 18, 2018 after a courageous battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and frontotemporal dementia. He was surrounded in love by his family until his passing. John was born on July 16, 1944, in Cincinnati, the youngest of Jeanne (Enzweiler) and Irvin Klei’s six children. He graduated from Purcell High School in 1962, then served in the U.S. Navy on board the U.S.S. Forestall from 1962-1965. After being honorably discharged, he returned to Cincinnati to sell insurance with his brothers and friends. He married Suzanne Leicht and together, they had three daughters. He and a friend started and grew a construction and maintenance company, A-OK Maintenance, in Springdale, until his retirement. His love for his family was both known and shown, and he leaves behind many people who love him dearly, including his three daughters, Kristyn Klei (Noah Borrero), Karen Klei Schlosser (Joe), and Kathryn Klei (Michael Ftacnik), his grandchildren Evan Schlosser, John Schlosser and Caroline Klei Ftacnik and his sister, Judy Klei, RSM. He also leaves behind his significant other, Lois (Simon) Hertzman, and her children and grandchildren Brian & Beth Hertzman (Elyse & Ben), Craig & Emily Hertzman (Jake & Zach). He is preceded in death by his parents, Irvin and Jeanne (Enzweiler) Klei, as well as his sisters, Joanne Knight and Jackie Moulliet, and his brothers, Irvin Klei and Joe Klei.
He loved spending time with his family, including his many nieces, nephews, and godchildren. While many affected by this horrible disease find that friends will distance themselves, John’s many close friends and family members supported him through his entire ALS journey. For this, we are very thankful to his friend and ex-wife Sue (Leicht) Baumann and her husband, Ralph Baumann, all of his Leicht family sisters- and brothers-in-law, his aide and our friend, Sharon Woods, his lifelong friends Jeff & Elizabeth Hermann, Dominic Augustine, Tony & Nancy Frangiosa, and many friends he made through the years at A-OK Maintenance and TriHealth Fitness Pavilion.
John was known to be seemingly tough on the outside but very giving and generous to everyone he knew with time, talent and treasure. He was a devout Catholic, attending mass weekly until his passing. Before the onset of his dementia, he spent many hours reading about and investing in the stock market— often providing advice to friends. His grandchildren brought him the most joy during his later years, even in the end making him smile and forcing out the few words he could muster every few days to tell them he loved them. His passing leaves a huge hole in our family, but only after he filled our hearts with so much love.
Given the nature of his illnesses, he chose to donate his brain to the Harvard Brain Tissue Bank in order to advance research and cure for both ALS and dementia. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to either the “PARTNERS FOR POPS” team with the Greater Cincinnati Alzheimer’s Association http://act.alz.org/goto/partners or the ALS Association of Central and Southern Ohio http://web.alsa.org/goto/KarenSchlosser.
A brief visitation will be held on Friday, December 21, 2018 at 9:00am prior to a 10am Catholic mass at Good Shepherd Catholic Church, 8815 East Kemper Road, Montgomery, OH 45249. Burial to immediately follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, 11000 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, OH 45249.
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Greater Cincinnati Alzheimer's Association
ALS Association of Central and Southern Ohio