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William "Willie" Kleine

December 17, 1925 September 30, 2013
William "Willie" Kleine
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Obituary for William "Willie" Kleine

WILLIAM 'WILLIE' HENRY KLEINE was born December 17, 1925 to Earnest and Myrtle (Lehmann) Kleine at their family home in Magnolia, MN. He spent his childhood in rural Magnolia, surrounded with the companionship of his sixteen siblings. He attended school in Magnolia. On June 15, 1943, at the age of 17 years old, Willie and his sister Nyla boarded the Greyhound bus in Magnolia headed to California. Nyla was home on vacation and informed him they were hiring at Lockheed, a company nearby her in California. When they arrived in California, he stayed with another sister for a few weeks and then went to a rooming house in Glendale, CA where his uncle was also staying. His uncle was working at Lockheed in Burbank, CA and Willie went with him to get a job. He was hired with the starting wage of $.60 an hour. He was called up by the draft board shortly thereafter but was turned down as he wasn't big enough. Willie was 4'11' and 98 pounds and you needed to be at least 5'2' and 105 pounds to join the military. He returned to his work at Lockheed, building B-17 bombers, until the middle of July 1945. He left Lockheed when the production of B-17's ended. He was then hired at United Rexall Drug Company. The company moved to Los Angeles a year before and was building on Beverly Hills Boulevard. Willie made the move to Hollywood to take the job. He loved the location of his home, with three to four movie theaters within walking distance, including the Grauman Chinese Theater. He let people know he was there when Jimmy Stewart put his footprints in the cement. He enjoyed going to movies, and with his height and young looks, he got by with purchasing a kids tickets for quite some time. He stated that those theaters finally caught up with him, so he had to pay the price of an adult and continued heading to the movies. He worked at Rexall just short of 22 years. In the summer of 1967, Willie left Rexall and started a new adventure. He knew people that were raising calves and decided he would try it out. He purchased a five acre place just outside of Ceres, CA. Willie enjoyed this job but according to him, it didn't work out well as too many calves got sick and died on him. He sold out in the spring of 1970 and took a job at Del Monte where he worked for the next 15 years. He retired from this position and moved back to Luverne, MN in April of 1987. On September 9, 2013 Willie entered the Sanford Luverne Hospice Cottage where he died peacefully on Monday, September 30, 2013 at the age of 87 years, 9 months, and 13 days.

Willie enjoyed Major League Baseball and loved to cheer on the LA Dodgers. He enjoyed attending horse races, playing Yahtzee with family and doing jigsaw puzzles.

Willie is survived by his nine siblings, Nyla Stearns of Adrian, MN, Donald (Martha) Kleine of Ann Arbor, MI, Joyce (Glenn) Hawes of Jasper, MN, Mildred (John) Steece of Luverne, Mary (Floyd) Kraetsch of Luverne, Patty (Loren) Krier of Sioux Falls, SD, Dallas Kleine of Luverne, Janis Glapa of Menomonie, WI, Thomas (Penny) Kleine of Summerville, SC; his sister-in-law, Lois Kleine of Luverne; and other family. He was preceded in death by his parents; five sisters, Marian, Margaret, Evelyn, Barbara and Helen; and two brothers, Rodney and Louis.

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Previous Events

Memorial Visitation




4:00 PM 10/4/2013 4:00:00 PM - 7:00 PM 10/4/2013 7:00:00 PM
Hartquist Funeral Home - Luverne Chapel

207 Elm St.
Luverne, MN 56156

Hartquist Funeral Home - Luverne Chapel
207 Elm St. Luverne 56156 MN
United States

Cemetery Details


Maplewood Cemetery - Luverne Final Resting Place

1242 W. Warren St.
Luverne, MN 56156

1242 W. Warren St. Luverne 56156 MN
United States

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