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In Memoriam: Bert Warren Kleiner (Oct. 4, 1928 – May 30, 2022)

Bert Warren Kleiner, 93, passed away peacefully on May 30, 2022 surrounded by family members in Mount Angel, Oregon. He was born on Oct. 4, 1928 in Portland, Oregon, to parents who had immigrated from Europe – a German father and a Finnish mother. They relocated to Klamath Falls, Oregon, when Bert was a young boy, later returning to Portland.

Bert attended Roosevelt High School (1946) in Portland, then Western Oregon College in Monmouth, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. It was at Western Oregon that he met Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Sheehan, who was also studying to become a teacher, and to whom he was married for 43 years.

Bert served for two years in U.S. Army Medical Corps during the Korean War. He was director of instruction and principal of Dillard Elementary School near Roseburg, Oregonl for eight years. Eventually, Bert became superintendent of the elementary schools in Silverton in 1970, where he served for 17 years, including as president of the Oregon Association of School Executives. 

In 1995, Betty was killed in an automobile accident caused by a drunk driver. Bert met Sonia Cook on a blind date, and they married on July 1, 1997, Bert and Sonia shared almost 25 years of marriage, with Sonia taking good care of Bert right up until his final day.

Bert always taught his children and grandchildren to follow their dreams in this life, and a love for the outdoors.

Bert was preceded in death by his brother, Harold Kleiner; his sister, Clara Pullin; his first wife, Betty Kleiner; and his son-in-law, Jeff Schmidt. He is survived by his wife, Sonia; five children, Jeff Kleiner (Theresa), Gregg Kleiner (Lori Salus), Lori Schmidt, Julie Johnson (Chris), and Brad; along with 13 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and Sonia’s three daughters.

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