McPherson – Amy Klein, 44, passed away May 4, 2019 at Salem Home in Hillsboro. She was born June 6, 1974 to Clayton and Danelda (Goertzen) Klein at Devils Lake, North Dakota. Survivors include: brothers, Tim (Linda) Klein of Dinuba, CA, Terry (Jody) Klein of Wichita, Tom (Kim) Klein of Valley Center, Todd (Kim) Klein of Hillsboro, Tracy (Shawna) Klein of Wichita; sisters, Rhoda (Bryan) Toews of Avondale, AZ, DeVona (Craig) Roble of Hillsboro, Connie (David) Suderman of Wichita. Celebration of Life Service 10:00 a.m. Friday, May 10, 2019 at Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church in Hillsboro. Family will receive friends from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Thursday at Jost Funeral Home in Hillsboro. Memorials to Disability Supports of the Great Plains of McPherson in care of Jost Funeral Home P.O. Box 266 Hillsboro, KS 67063. Online condolences at www.jostfuneralhome.com
Life Sketch Taken From the Funeral Bulletin
Amy Elizabeth Klein was born on June 6, 1974 to Clayton and Danelda (Goertzen) Klein in Devils Lake, North Dakota. She was the youngest of nine siblings, including three older sisters and five older brothers. Through her youth, Amy was a part of children’s programming at Rosehill Mennonite Brethren Church. After singing with the other kids, she enjoyed the 1-on-1 teaching and time spent during Sunday School with aunt Arvelda Wiens, who was her father’s sister. It was at age 9 that Amy chose to follow Jesus as her Savior. Arvelda shared a message of God’s power through Moses and the burning bush, Jesus calming the storm and healing the blind and deaf among other stories. Arvelda eagerly called Danelda to share the news, which was a part a lifelong track record of memorizing nearly everything that came before her. She was later baptized by pastor Bruce Porter at Hillsboro MB Church.
Amy was the beneficiary of key education legislation in the state of North Dakota. A family friend and neighbor was insistent that her own child and other developmentally-disabled children receive education from the state. That proposal was met with approval and Amy was able to begin home speech therapy at age 2. She then attended classes in Starkweather, Cando, Langdon before joining a board and care home at age 13. Amy spent time there during the week and then lived at home with her parents and brother Tracy on the weekends. Amy would often attend Tracy’s athletic events, showcasing her endless and boisterous passion for all of his sports at Munich High School. Sending Amy to what is now Lake Region Human Service Center in Devils Lake was an emotional decision for Clayton and Danelda, but it was a part of their desire to give Amy the very best care and education they could find.
At the age of 21, Amy received her certificate of attendance from the Devils Lake school district. She donned a cap and gown with fellow students, making it a very proud moment for Amy and the entire Klein family.
Wherever hamburgers, french fries and orange soda were sold, there was a very good chance Amy was nearby. Whether it was the Alsen Curling Club and Cafe or a trip to the Crossroads Inn in Langdon, the youngest sister in the Klein family enjoyed her share of some of her favorite comfort food.
Upon her graduation in North Dakota, Amy and her parents came south in 1995 to join many members of their family that had made homes in Kansas. She quickly joined Multi Community Diversified Services in McPherson, helping once again demonstrate the family’s desire to give Amy the best community she could have. After one year with MCDS, she found what would become a lifelong bond with the McPherson branch of Disability Supports of the Great Plains.
Where activities occurred, Amy was almost always nearby. She spent time playing games, participating in Spring Flings, plays, Special Olympics and piano. One of those activities was bowling and she even had her own ball and shoes to take to the alley. You also found red throughout her closet thanks to a love of the McPherson Bullpups. Amy also helped write the program newsletter and would later attend camps and retreats at Rock Springs 4-H Center in Junction City. Many of her friends and family also received homemade gifts from Amy due to her countless hours spent at Clayworks in McPherson.
She also worked at a local bookstore as well as time at The Cedars, which was a local nursing home. One of her proudest moments was working at McDonald’s, which included a chance to walk with Ronald McDonald in the May Day Parade in McPherson in the spring of 1998.
Celebrating Amy’s birthday was always a date where the Klein family came together. From visiting the Red Coach Inn, parties at family’s homes, or the burgers, fries and onion rings of Red Robin, June 6 was never forgotten. When it came time to open gifts, there was never any doubt to how Amy felt about your choices. She either loved them and certainly wasn’t afraid to tell us if she didn’t. Middle ground was not a part of Amy’s life in any shape or form.
On top of her summer birthday was seeing her relatives come together to celebrate Christmas. A year never went by without Amy asking if she could pick or start the first song and if she could read the story of Jesus’ birth. No matter the verse or song, Amy loved every word. Her family enjoyed the chance to shower her with gifts, reminding her how special she was to each and every niece, nephew, brother, sister and in-law. As much as she loved receiving them, Amy blessed her family as a generous giver. Shopping with her sisters DeVona and Connie for Christmas gifts was one of her favorite days of the year. Each year of shopping began with writing her own list that had every name accounted for. There was no room for mistakes on that sheet.
During the Christmas season and throughout the rest of the year, Amy also blessed her family with her passion for the piano. With every crossword puzzle packed into her favorite bag or suitcase was a guaranteed songbook. Family members recalled hearing her count keys to make sure she hits the right note.
Amy also developed an early love for all things princess. No matter if it was Frozen in recent years, the Little Mermaid, Cinderella or even a trip to Never Never Land with Peter Pan as a child, her friends and family loved following her vast and imaginative spirit. There was no letting go of those pieces to her life.
In the latter half of Amy’s years, a rabid fascination of The Wizard of Oz became a mainstay in her life. You only had to spend one minute with Amy and you’d more than likely hear an Oz reference. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” became a song that few others could touch in Amy’s life, often telling her friends and family that she sounds just like Judy Garland. Needless to say, you were in for a surprise if you couldn’t find a piece of clothing that didn’t pertain to a Disney princess or The Wizard of Oz.
To say Amy loved her family may even be an understatement. She had a remarkably strong memory, making sure she knew of birthdays and anniversaries for those closest to her. A phone call from her to mark that occasion was something her family always found special.
Amy was preceded in death by her parents, father Clayton in 1997 and mother Danelda in 2005. She is survived by her eight siblings, brothers, Tim (Linda) Klein of Dinuba, CA, Terry (Jody) Klein of Wichita, Tom (Kim) Klein of Valley Center, Todd (Kim) Klein of Hillsboro, Tracy (Shawna) Klein of Wichita; sisters, Rhoda (Bryan) Toews of Avondale, AZ, DeVona (Craig) Roble of Hillsboro, Connie (David) Suderman of Wichita. She will be missed by 38 nieces and nephews as well as 22 great nieces and nephews.
Laying with her in her casket is a bouquet of pink roses and yellow daises. One of Amy’s favorite events was a family wedding and often dreamed of someday being a bride. To represent the wedding Earth could not give her, these flowers reflect her uniting with our Lord. It’s a marriage that now finds her perfect and blameless in the eyes of our Savior.
Due to her diagnosis of Down Syndrome, the word down was stated regularly in Amy’s life. However, it was only a label. Her ‘upward’ personality was impossible to ignore. Simply put, she brought joy to the lives of hundreds of people that spanned the 812 miles between Devils Lake, North Dakota and McPherson, Kansas. Her happiness, positivity and love for Jesus helped define the relationships that called her aunt, sibling, in-law or friend. She now stands with her mother and father and we dream of the day we can join them in paradise.
There is no place like home and our dear Amy now knows the truest context of those words.