No Slowing Down for Bob Klein ’42

5/18/2012

When you speak with Bob Klein ’42 from his home in Naples, Fla., it’s obvious — the man keeps moving. And that, he says, may be the reason he’s reached a spectacular milestone of 70 years since his graduation from Stevens.

So after his recent morning tennis game, he was on his way to a “Going Green” committee meeting to make sure his fellow retirement community residents do their part, from recycling to using LED lights, to protect the planet.

“I think it’s from playing tennis every day,” he says (singles and doubles, plus tournaments). The reason for his longevity may also be the variety of activities—from music to meaningful volunteer work and friendships—that fill his days.

Klein, 90, is one of 14 surviving classmates of the Class of ’42 who will mark their 70th reunion during Alumni Weekend 2012 on June 1, 2 and 3. Remarkably, seven of the 14 plan to attend, says Klein, whom his classmates have called “the glue” that keeps their class together.

Klein is the longtime class secretary of the Class of ’42 whose engaging class logs help keep classmates in touch. He’s helped to organize the class’ “mini reunions” in Florida over the years as well as reunions at Stevens that have strengthened their bonds of friendship over the decades.

For Alumni Weekend 2012, Klein expects to return to Stevens along with the following classmates: Joe Ayton, Steve Crandall, Walt Mahnken, Pat Rochford, Herman Sachs and Warren Wells.

They’re an incredible bunch – from Rochford, who still works as a school crossing guard in Dumont, N.J.; to Wells, who is active with his family and in his retirement community; to Crandall, an emeritus professor of mechanical engineering at M.I.T. who still goes to the office occasionally.

Klein, a manufacturing executive who retired as director and secretary of Morris Cablevision, finds 70 years since graduation somewhat hard to fathom.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been that long, all the years that have gone by,” he says.

But this father of two and great-grandfather is thinking ahead. He plans to again compete in national tennis tournaments in North Carolina and Massachusetts for players 90 or older this September. Last year, he beat the nationally ranked No. 3 player in North Carolina.

At his retirement community, where he lives with his wife, Barbara, he created a committee, Residents in Caring, that makes sure residents watch out for each other, that no one is left to eat alone.

Klein sings in his church choir. And he just finished his 22nd season as a bass clarinetist with the Naples Concert Band and has been been playing bass clarinet for 40 years.

Besides his active schedule, Klein also says that eating healthy – fish three times a week, lots of salads – plus good genes have helped him. So has some good luck.

He sees his time at Stevens so many years ago as good fortune.

“I really feel that what Stevens sets out to do is teach you to think, to handle any situation that crosses your desk,” he says. “I feel that’s what has happened to me, from investing to fixing my wife’s broken shoe.”