ROBERT EDWARD KLEINFELDT

By: 
NLJ Staff

April 5, 1932–Oct. 25, 2022

Robert Edward Kleinfeldt, 90, was a loving husband to Bernadine for 63 years, a caring father to Gary, Susan, Stephen, and Eric. He was proud to have nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Mr. Kleinfeldt was born on April 5, 1932, in Bronx, New York, to Otto and Florence as an only child. He attended primary school in Bronx and Upstate New York. He graduated from high school in Rawlins, Wyo., in 1949.

His first job was at the Union Pacific in Rawlins, and worked as a fireman on a steam locomotive. He served in the U.S. Air Force in Kansas from 1952–1956. He served during the Korean War Conflict and the Cold War. He had an honorable discharge.

He met his beloved wife Bernie in the late 1950s, and they married in 1957 in Tucson, Ariz. Shortly after they moved to Los Angeles, Calif.

Mr. Kleinfeldt started his career as a fireman towards the end of the 1950s. He was in the fire department for many years in the city of Gardena and was promoted to engineer. He was encouraged to get a degree in order to be promoted to battalion chief. He received his degree at Long Beach College in 1970 in Fire Science and was promoted to battalion chief. He retired at 56 years old as chief battalion from Compton Fire Department.

A favorite memory was the yearly tradition of the family together on Christmas Eve at Bob and Bernie’s house. They would have a wonderful meal that Bernie prepared and then exchange gifts. One year for the white elephant gift exchange Bernie baked her special apple pie. There were a lot of other gifts, but they all fought over who would get the apple pie.

Mr. Kleinfeldt’s daughter, Susan, shared that while living in Tucson, Bob worked briefly as a motorcycle police officer. Sue remembers that when she was in elementary school he pulled over her teacher one morning and he was going to give her a ticket, but realized she was Sue’s teacher. He only gave her a warning and not a ticket.

When Bernie was at the end stages of her life, Bob quickly stepped up and cared for his wife 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He learned to make some simple meals and stayed by her side if she needed anything. He followed the teachings of the Bible as in Ephesians 5:25: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for her.

His children shared that Bob and Bernie made a huge impact on the Christian faith for raising their children. They attended church and Sunday school regularly. This verse comes to mind describing the love and guidance that was provided by Bob and Bernie, Proverbs 22:6: Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Mr. Kleinfeldt is survived by four children, Gary Hartmeister, Riverside, Calif., Susan Hawk, Ramona, Calif., Stephen Kleinfeldt, Winter Park, Fla., and Ric Kleinfeldt, Cheyenne, Wyo.; nine grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.

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