Obituary for Ralph Kleinspehn, Jr.



FILLMORE -- Dr. Ralph Kleinspehn, 81, of Fillmore, and Burdett, NY. passed away unexpectedly Thursday (April 17, 2003) at the Wyoming County Community Hospital in Warsaw, NY.

He was born in Reading, PA. on March 28, 1922 a son of the late Ralph Kleinspehn Sr., and Elsie Printz. He married Rose Marie Luppino in 1951 and recently celebrated their 50th anniversary.

He graduated from Cortland State Teachers College, the University of North Carolina and Cornell University. His World War II experiences included U.S. Navy V-12 Officer Training at Fort Schuyler, NY. and at the University of North Carolina. He survived the sinking of the USS Liscombe Bay off Tarawa, in the Gilbert Islands in the Southwest Pacific and went on to serve on the USS Nassau and USS Mehenta Bay for the remainder of WWII. Lt. Cmdr. Kleinspehn remained an active member of the Rochester Naval Reserve Officer Mess since 1948 with 27 years in the U.S. Navy Reserve. He regularly attended national reunions of USS Nassau shipmates.

Ralph was best known as Elementary and Vice Principal of Fillmore Central School from 1958-1980 after having taught Social Studies, English and Physical Education as well as coached all sports 1948-1954.

As an avid naturalist, trapper and hunter, he instilled youngsters with respect and enjoyment of the outdoors. He founded the Allegany County Conservation Field Day that is held annually for all sixth grade students and also served the community as a Hunter Safety Instructor for several years.

Ralph was instrumental in building the Hank Miller Memorial Little League Field with his friend Hank. He served as president of the Fillmore Little League.

He was a member of American Legion Post 1155, was a past Rotarian and served on the council of St. Patrick's Catholic Church for several years. In recent years, Ralph was a mainstay of the crew at R.G. Masons Auctions.

His family, friends, colleagues and community will sorely miss his annual flow of garden vegetables, jokes, fairness and wisdom.

Ralph is survived by his wife, Rose Marie Kleinspehn of Fillmore/Burdett, a sister Ruth Rogers of Signal Mountain, TN., daughters Kim (Stephen) Dennis of Cary, NC. and Karen (Eric Mohring) Kleinspehn of Minneapolis, MN. as well as grandchildren Caitlin Dennis and Andre Mohring, and several nieces and nephews.

Family and friends may gather from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. today or from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Kopler-Williams Funeral Home, 21 N. Genesee Street, Fillmore. A mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday in St. Patrick's Church, Fillmore with Fr., Michael Juran, Pastor as Celebrant. Family and friends may gather from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at St. Mary's Church Link in Watkins Glen, NY. followed by burial in Holy Cross Cemetery in Watkins Glen.

Memorials may be made to the Fillmore Rescue Squad or to the nature Conservancy.

Reprinted with permission from the Wellsville Daily Reporter, Wellsville, NY.