A Life of Service
The Reverend Doctor Robert John Klein, the youngest of ten children, was born to Austria- Hungarian immigrants, Jacob Klein and Elizabeth Siege Klein in Sharon, Pennsylvania. Working in the steel mills there after graduating from high school, he received a scholarship to become a United Methodist Minister. He graduated from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. He then attained his master’s in Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary in Westminster, Maryland, where he met his future wife, Mary Alice Lambert, a student at nearby Shepherd College on a blind date. His ministry took him to Silver Spring, Maryland then back to the Northwestern Pennsylvania of his youth. Here his three children were born: Jennifer Elizabeth, Amanda Sue, and Robert Zachary. He was sent to build a church and foster the growth of that congregation in Summit Township outside Erie, Pennsylvania. Later he was sent to downtown Erie to revitalize Simpson United Methodist Church. He developed a desire to become a counselor and began to take classes. He saw a need to help serve the many youth struggling with drug addiction at that time. He eventually started a private counseling business.
In the early seventies the family moved to Parsons, home county of Mary Alice and with her began teaching at St. George in the Old Academy Building. He completed his Master’s in Counseling Psychology and became Superintendent of The Forestry Camp for Boys near Blackwater Falls State Park. Changing the name to Davis Center and the emphasis from punishment to rehabilitation, he created an innovative peer group counseling model still in use. He then was employed as a counselor at Appalachian Mental Health Center in Elkins, and opened a branch in Parsons. He began pursuing a doctorate in Counseling Psychology, became licensed and went into private practice as a psychotherapist All during this time he served numerous churches in short supply of pastors. He was hired as a supply minister for the Mill Creek Presbyterian Church building its membership. He lost his beloved wife, Mary Alice in 2002. He retired four years ago after a life of service to each community in which he lived. After a recent illness he passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving children. He interests ranged from the love of nature, music, art, and architecture to cooking, making jam, and traveling and learning about other cultures.
He is survived by his three children: Jennifer Elizabeth Klein of Reston, Virginia; Amanda Klein Snyder (Tim) of Virginia Beach, Virginia; Robert Zachary Klein of Parsons, West Virginia. He is also by four grandchildren: Samantha Fleming; Kyle Fleming; Zoe Snyder and Mary Elizabeth Snyder and one great granddaughter Zoe’s daughter, Nia.
The family received friends at the Lohr & Barb Funeral Home of Parsons, WV on Sunday, March 27, 2020 from 12 Noon until 2 p.m. the funeral hour. Cremation will follow with burial at the Buena Chapel Cemetery at Canaan Valley at a later date. The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Dr. Mary Alice Klein Scholarship Fund, 100 Education Lane, Parsons, WV 26287 or Tucker Foundation.net. The Lohr & Barb Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements for the Reverend Doctor Robert John Klein. Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.lohrbarbfuneralhome.com