Kenneth Klein | Timber Lake Subject

October 16, 1939 – October 10, 2022

Kenneth Dwayne “Ken” Klein, 82, formerly of Firesteel, died suddenly on October 10, 2022 in Billings, MT, after a brief illness. Despite chronic heart problems, he lived a long and full life until the end.

Ken was born on October 16, 1939 in Mobridge, to Ted and Tillie Klein. After graduating from Timber Lake High School in 1957, he joined the Marines. After his military service, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master of Science in Education from Black Hills State University at Spearfish.

He served his country for two years in the United States Marine Corps in the late 1950s. After returning to base in Okinawa as an AWOL, Ken had to appear before the new colonel. When the Colonel realized that he and Ken were from South Dakota, Ken’s “punishment” was to be the Colonel’s driver and on guard duty driving the Colonel’s jeep. This “punishment” became Ken’s full-time job and created a special bond between the two.

Ken married his wife Barbara in Deadwood. In September 2022, they celebrated 60 years of marriage.

Ken has called many places home. He grew up in the small farming community of Firesteel, where he loved to roam the shortgrass prairie. As a child, he had several pets, both wild and domestic, including a horse which he broke up with his father. He began his teaching career in Whitewood and started his family in Spearfish. In 1970 Ken and his family moved to Southeast Alaska where he taught in rural schools. Over the years, he has taught grades 4-12, been an elementary school principal, taught in a two-room schoolhouse, taught his two children, and served as an officer in the teachers’ association. After retiring from teaching, he built Hemlock House with his son Perry on land in Thorne Bay, AK. For several years, Ken captained a charter fishing boat aboard Ketchikan, AK, with Perry as deckhand and Barbara as cook. Ken loved boating and had the joy of piloting several boats from Seattle, WA to Southeast Alaska. After leaving Alaska, Ken spent time in Arizona and Nevada before moving to Billings to spend more time hunting upland birds with his brother-in-law, Dave Johnson. This move brought many new adventures and many dear friends.

Ken was an avid fisherman, hunter, boater, trapper, camper, rafter, ATV rider, gardener, and a lover of any other experience that took him outdoors. His friends will remember him through these adventures, as he generously hosted many on his boats, the Bigenuff and the Bigenuff II, and in his homes.

Ken is survived by his wife Barbara; mother Tillie; daughter Kris (Lance) and son Perry (partner Alisha); granddaughter Chasina (mother Gail); four “little dogs”; several nieces, nephews and cousins; and many friends who will be greatly missed. He is predeceased by his father Ted and his sister Sandy.

(The family’s address is 1215 Parkview Dr., Billings, MT 59102)

Jessica C. Bell