Elkhart lost a shining light in its rich history when Albert Ray Kline went home to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ on July 29, 2018. Al was born on September 3, 1920 to Jacob W. and Pearl E. Kline. He was the youngest of eight children which included two sets of twins. Al was preceded in death by his parents, his siblings; Edward Gross, Georgia Rumfeld, Catherine Warren, Robert Kline, twins Elmo Kline and Thelmo Anderson and his twin sister Alberta Donovan, his wife Eloise in 1998 and his second wife Marna Brown in 2017.
He is survived by his three children Nancy (Terry) Charbonneau, Janet (Rod) Fergison, Doug (Becky) Kline and Marna’s three daughters, Diane Brown, Carol (Tom) Love and Janet Brown. Al has 9 grandchildren; Brian (Grace) Fergison, Terry (Lisa) Charbonneu, Kathy (Brad) Harper, Julie (Robert) Dourron, Elizabeth (Zach) Smith, Emily (Chris) Battaglia, Adam (Christine) Kline, Abbey (Brad) Ream, Amy (Brock) Yoder. He has 16 great-grandchildren; Sophie, Evan, Anna, Lucas, Charlie, Jenna, Tristan, Evelyn, Kane, Luke, Eleanor, Grayson, Ella, Connor, Olivia, and Brynn.
Following the death of his first wife, Eloise, Al found love again. He was set up on a blind date by mutual friends. Al met and fell in love with Marna Brown. He and Marna were married June 19, 2004 until her death on August 5, 2017.
Al graduated from Elkhart High School in 1943. He went on to join the U.S. Coast Guard and served until the end of World War II. Al then attended Goshen College and graduated in 1950 from Ball State Teachers College. He went on to teach Industrial Education at Elkhart High School and was class sponsor for the class of 1955.
In 1959 Al, along with his partner Ray Duthie, started American Home Improvements. He continued working at American Home Improvements until his retirement in 1988, leaving the business to his son Doug. Al and Ray were known as the guys who drank catchup in their coffee.
Al had a servant’s heart and believed in active participation in one’s community. As such, he was a 60-year member of Elkhart Noon Optimist as well as a member of Trinity United Methodist Church for over 60 years. Al was a 32nd Degree Mason and a was a founding member of the Mr. and Mrs. Club. Al enjoyed meeting with friends and sharing stories.
Al Kline was a man who saw many changes through his 97 years. He was born in a time when most families did not own a car, grew up during the Great Depression, came of age during World War II, raised a family during the Baby Boom and even lived to see the Cubs win a World Series. Al lived a life full of joy and optimism. He had a gentle yet firm manner and was very loved by all who knew him. He was a loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He was famous for his special handshakes with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Al was the cream of the crop. Al Kline was one of Elkhart’s finest. His family will miss him greatly but cherish all the wonderful memories. Go Cubs!
Visitation for Al will be on Tuesday, August 7th from 9a.m. until the hour of the service at 11 a.m. at Hartzler-Gutermuth-Inman Funeral Home. The Rev. Bryan Wisdom of Trinity United Methodist Church will officiate and burial will be in Rice Cemetery where military honors will be rendered by representatives of the U. S. Coast Guard and the American Legion.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Trinity United Methodist Church, 2715 E. Jackson, Elkhart, IN 46516 or Center for Hospice Care, 22579 Old US 20, Elkhart, IN 46516.
Trinity United Methodist Church
2715 E. Jackson Blvd, Elkhart IN 46516
Center for Hospice
501 Comfort Place, Mishawaka IN 46545