Charles Junior Kleinhardt age 89 of Clare passed away peacefully at his home on Monday, May 1, 2012. He was surrounded by his loving family, as he lost his battle with pancreatic cancer.
Charles was born on April 6, 1923, the fourth son of the respected Rev. Charles Kleinhardt, Sr. and Nina (Speigelmire) Kleinhardt in Clare. He married Erma (Ott) Kleinhardt on May 12, 1945, the first marriage in the original Brown Corners Church. His father officiated the ceremony, igniting a happily married couple for 67 years.
A life-long resident of Clare County, Charles had a dedicated spirit for all those around him. As a child, he learned the value of work, as he toiled the land along side his father. “Born a Farmer,” he continued his life’s journey by expanding the O.K. Farms (Ott and Kleinhardt) north of Clare in Arthur Township. His passion for agriculture could be seen through his hard work tending the fields. The excitement of planting spring crops, watching them grow, and reaping the harvest in the fall, were pleasant memories for Charles. His passion for farm animals, especially the baby calves he nurtured, was such an important part of his daily chores. He operated the farm for the majority of his life with driven conviction, often being seen on his golf cart checking the fields and the animals nearby.
Charles was a Man of God, and served HIM throughout his entire life. His faith and dedication to the Lord, and serving others created many wonderful memories for those who knew him. When Charles had a chance to witness for Christ, he did it! He was a devoted Gideon for over twenty years, participating in the jail ministry program and would share the gospel by passing out bibles whenever the opportunity arose. He was an amazing song leader at the Brown Corners Church, sang in a men’s quartet, and often was a soloist throughout his lifetime. He made sure small children attended Bible School, called on those who needed spiritual guidance, and supported the MOPS program as a care giver. He thoroughly enjoyed mentoring children at the Clare Elementary School.
Charles was a humble man, from simple beginnings, and always felt blessed with what he had. He found pleasure collecting antique tractors and attending an occasional auction to find “something” to tinker with and repair to working order. He never left an auction without buying something. In the fall, Charles could be seen in his red, plaid hunting suit, sitting (or sleeping) in his blind across the field waiting for the big buck to appear. His presence will be missed at the Clare County Fair, where he supported the 4-H members with their projects.
Charles was actively involved in his community as a member of The Farmer’s Home Administration, Farm Bureau, an Inductee into The Farmer’s Hall of Fame, Farm Bureau Petroleum Board, A.S.C. Stabilization Committee, M.M.P.A., Arthur Township Board of Review, The Gideon International, and a member of the Clare Church of the Nazarene.
Left to mourn his loss are his devoted wife Erma (Ott) Kleinhardt; sons Dick (Connie) Kleinhardt of Clare and Tim Kleinhardt of Clare; daughter Charma (John) Brian of Traverse City; his grandchildren, Stephanie (Dave) Gomola of Midland, Scott (Heidi) Kleinhardt of Clare, Sarah (Josh) Bryant of Farwell, Hannah Kleinhardt of Nashville, TN, Aubrey Kleinhardt of Clare, Rachel Brian of East Lansing and Laura Brian of Traverse City. Other survivors include six great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Charles was preceded in death by his parents, Charles Sr. and Nina Kleinhardt, and his three brothers Royal, Robert and Roger, along with his son, Kevin Jon Kleinhardt.
A final thought from Charles on Sunday before his death, to his Granddaughter, “To be absent in body means we are present with the Lord.” May we all find comfort in knowing that Charles is singing with the Angel Choir, beside those who were waiting to welcome him HOME.
The family would like to thank the many visitors, cards, food and prayers by so many, Mid Michigan Medical Center of Midland, Hospice, and The Stephenson-Wyman Funeral Home.
In remembrance of Charles, memorials may be directed to The Gideon International or Mid Michigan Hospice of Clare County. Visitation for Charles will take place on Sunday, May 6, from 3:00-8:00, with Funeral Services held on Monday, May 7, at 11:00, all at The Clare Church of the Nazarene, with Pastor Jim Young officiating. On-line condolences may be made at www.stephenson-wyman.com