Gary C. Klein, 86, St. Cloud
June 13, 1936 - November 27, 2022
On November 27, 2022, Gary C. Klein passed away peacefully with his family by his side. Born in 1936 to William and Hazel (Israelson) Klein, Gary lived his entire life in St. Cloud. He graduated from St. Cloud Cathedral in 1954, and in 1958 he received his BS from St. John’s University.
It was in high school that Gary found–and dated–his lifelong best friend, Darnell Zachman. In July of 1958, they married at Sacred Heart Church in Sauk Rapids. From that day forward, Gary and Nellie shared a lifetime of abiding love and unwavering support for one another. They raised four children, two boys and two girls, and always modeled faithfulness and devotion.
Gary spent his career at Klein Motor Company, Oldsmobile Cadillac. Working alongside his father and brother for over 40 years, Gary developed a solid car dealership reputation. It was here that he cultivated lasting relationships with folks throughout central Minnesota. Known for his honesty and integrity, Gary was appreciated as a dealer people could trust. He maintained this reputation with his many friends throughout his life.
In retirement, Gary enjoyed a new hobby: he built a woodworking shop, and became a self taught custom carpenter! He spent countless hours working in his shop, tailor-making personal orders for almost anyone who asked. Numerous fishing rod racks, toys, and handmade signs will be treasured by his happy clients for many years to come. When not in his shop, Gary could be found reading virtually any western novel he could get his hands on. During retirement, Gary and Nellie traveled each year to enjoy the sun and water offered on the Florida Gulf Coast. They loved to host spring break vacations and create lifetime memories for the whole family.
Gary’s favorite place was the family cabin on Grand Lake. Since 1965, people who stopped by would find him entertaining on the patio. Here, he enjoyed lively conversations and watching the water activities. In the evenings, he enthusiastically grilled “the finest meal you could ever eat!” Summer family events will be forever remembered and cherished.
Of all his pastimes, Gary preferred hunting and fishing. In fact, he traveled throughout the U.S. and Canada in pursuit of these hobbies. He spent a lifetime sharing outdoor adventures with family and friends, and the family’s annual New Year’s Eve ice fishing excursions are legendary! Gary also relished following all Minnesota sports. In the fall, he could be found at SJU, sitting in his 50-yard-line seat with Nellie, cheering on their beloved “Johnnies.” In the summer, his frustration with the Twins pitching rotation was as predictable as the sunrise.
Most of all, Gary loved his family. With his best friend Nellie, he gave his children and grandchildren the lasting legacy of immeasurable love and support. The saying goes, “When I’m gone, you talk and I will listen.” Dad, we will NEVER stop talking to you.
Gary is survived by his wife of 64 years, Nellie; his son Dave (Holly) of Florence, MT; his son Bob (Sandy) of Farmington; his daughter Wendy (Carl) VanRavenswaay of Rockville; and his daughter Jenny (Steve) Genereau of Gilman. He is also survived by his sister Linda (Merle) Schindele of St. Cloud. Grandchildren include Nikki, Jesse, Patrick, Daniel, Christopher, David, Anna, John, Abby, Matthew, Jack, and Henry.
He was preceded in death by his father and mother; his sister, Patricia; and his brother, Bill, Jr.
The family would like to thank Fr. Tom Knobloch for his kind words, and the staff at Quiet Oaks Hospice Home. They were a bright light at a dark time.
Per Gary’s wishes, there will be a private family funeral service at a later date. Interment will be at Assumption Cemetery, St. Cloud, MN. Memorials can be made to:
Quiet Oaks Hospice House 5537 Galaxy Road, St. Cloud, MN 56301