Henry W. (Bill) Klein

March 9, 2009

By Contributor

Henry W. (Bill) Klein

Henry W. (Bill) Klein

Henry W. (Bill) Klein, of Issaquah, died Monday, March 2, 2009. He was 90. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. March 22 at First Congregational Church, 752 108th Ave. N.E., Bellevue.

Bill was born Sept. 23, 1918, in Seattle, the son of Henry and Helen Klein. He grew up in Seattle, attending Roosevelt High School and graduating from the University of Washington in 1945 with a degree in music education. 

Klein started his teaching career in 1943 at Garfield High School. He was hired in 1947 as director of music for the Issaquah School District and began teaching choral and instrumental music for the K-12 grades. 

As the district grew, he focused on secondary education, finally staying at Issaquah High School. Under his leadership the music program grew until he had to choose teaching either instrumental or choral music. 

“He was the music program, the marching band and music at Issaquah High School were because of him,” said Lorraine Morton, a former student and secretary for Issaquah Schools’ superintendent. “How lucky we were he settled in Issaquah.”

Morton said she was a student of Klein’s during the mid-1960s at Issaquah High. 

“He was the best,” Morton said. “He took music very seriously, but he was a wonderfully warm-hearted man. Even for students like me, who were not naturally gifted in music, he made it a very positive experience and I have a lifelong appreciation for music because of him.” 

“He was an outstanding educator,” said Velma Walker, an Issaquah graduate from the class of 1962. “He was very well-liked and respected by the students and faculty alike. He was a kind man who took time with students to help them through pieces they were having problems with.”

Something he taught her in the five years she was an accompanist for him, was how to be a good accompanist, Walker said. 

“To be good accompanist you have to be able sense the soloist or the group you’re accompanying and let them take the lead,” she said. “That is a skill he taught me really well.”

It is a lesson she still practices on the piano today, she said.

A fine singer himself, he selected the choral program, creating and conducting many different jazz and concert groups during his tenure. Bill received several awards during his music-teaching career. He retired in 1983 and continued to teach privately. He was a great inspiration to his many private music students. 

Bill became a member of the Kiwanis Club of Issaquah in 1947. He was a dedicated Kiwanian, serving as secretary for eight years, and was honored as Kiwanian of the Year in 1995.

Bill’s passion was music. He loved teaching music, spending incalculable hours creating new jazz, choral and instrumental arrangements. He was also a wonderful cook and found great joy planning and creating memorable meals for family and friends.

Bill was a devoted husband, father and friend whose loving nature touched countless lives. Survivors include his wife, Fern Klein, of Issaquah; son Bill Klein, of Decatur, Ala.; daughter Melinda Goodman, of Flowood, Miss.; daughters Susan Carpenter, of Seattle, and Colleen Dixon, of Renton; brothers Robert Klein, of Kent, and Don Klein of Santa Rosa, Calif.; eight grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

All are invited to share memories online at www.flintofts.com.

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