GAMBIER — S. Joyce Klein, 84, longtime resident of Gambier, died in her sleep on Monday, Feb. 4, 2019. She had been living in Maine, where the Klein family spent many summers, while being treated for cancer.

Joyce was a member of the Gambier and Knox County communities since 1968. She was a cookbook author, a talented chef and gardener, and a community leader. Joyce was born in Chicago on Nov. 15, 1934, to Sharon and Herbert Stanton. Growing up in Downers Grove with her dear sister “Beebs” and brother Herbie, Joyce was close to her grandparents, “Babi and Gedo” Horacek, who emigrated from Czechoslovakia in the early 1900s, and later would use her grandfather’s recipe for pork sausage, which the Klein family traditionally shared with friends at Christmas.

From her mother Sharon, who became a doctor in the 1930s, Joyce inherited a great sense of loyalty and fairness, as well as a lifelong fandom for the Chicago Cubs. From her father Herbert, who served in World War II in the Pacific as the doctor on a destroyer, she inherited panache and a deep patriotism.

Joyce attended the Avery Coonley School and then Downers Grove High, where she enjoyed English and Mr. Taylor’s Plane Geometry, but disliked Latin with Miss Chessman. She was a great organizer of bus trips to away games and musicals with her friends, and was the president of the Pep Club.

Her family had summer vacations near Jackson, Wyoming at the Broken Arrow Ranch, exploring, square dancing and mooning over the University of Michigan geology camp boys. As a high school student, she traveled with her mother to Hawaii on the Matsonia, when she met Edgar Bergen, a famous radio comedian, whose act involved a puppet, Charlie McCarthy. Edgar was not traveling with Charlie, but with a blonde 30 years younger.

She attended Rockford College, where she made many enduring friends, and graduated in 1956 with a BA in Political Science. After graduation, she traveled through Europe for 9 months, living in youth hostels for less than a dollar a day. A lifelong Democrat, she worked for the 1956 Adlai Stevenson campaign, and was delighted to have been sent to pick up Eleanor Roosevelt at O’Hare in 1960.

She met her future husband William Klein in Hyde Park, and they married in August 1962. While he pursued graduate study at the University of Chicago, Joyce was active in civil rights and the Project for Displaced Workers for former gang members.

The couple moved to Gambier with their son Thomas in 1968, when Bill took a job as an English professor at Kenyon College, and Joyce became a keystone member of the community. Their daughter Anna was born in 1971, and son Michael was born in 1977.

During the 1970s, 80s, and early 90s, Joyce served as caterer and coordinator of special events at Kenyon College, and was the manager of the former Alumni House, where she was particularly close to her student employees.

She was perhaps best known in Gambier as the founder, with Peggy Turgeon, of the Friday Luncheon Café at the Harcourt Parish House, and as a founder of the annual Gambier Craft Sale. Her many other volunteer leadership roles encompassed such organizations as the Knox County Hunger Committee, Habitat for Humanity, and the Knox Democratic Party.

Throughout her life, Joyce loved hiking, most recently with the Knox Sub Alpine Club but also in the West, as well as horseback riding, fishing, and gardening, and in her late 70s she took up skiing. She was a copious reader, and traveled widely, going as far as Bolivia, Peru, Egypt, Turkey, Israel, Hong Kong, and Vietnam. At the time of her passing, she spoke of visiting Easter Island (but was willing to settle for London).

She is predeceased by her parents, Dr. Herbert Melville Stanton in 1976 and Dr. Sharon Horacek Stanton in 1990; and brother, Captain Herbert Joseph Stanton in 2004.

She is survived by her husband, William Francis Klein and sister Cynthia Joan Ruhaak; children, Thomas Peter Klein, Anna Marie Klein-Christie, and Michael Josef Aidan Klein; and her granddaughter, Eleanor Grace Christie.

A celebration of her life is planned for early May. The family would love to hear remembrances of Joyce; please share them with Michael (

Submitted by Tom Klein


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