Richard Juergen Klauss, 78, of Belleville, Illinois, born Juergen Schaall on March 31, 1939 in Unterturkheim, Germany where he was orphaned as a young boy during World War II, adopted by Emil and Pauline Klauss, and brought to the United States with the hopes of the possibility of a better life than in war torn Germany, passed away on December 9, 2017.
He grew up with two other orphaned siblings, a younger brother, Al and a sister, Heidi. He studied engineering and German education at Ohio Northern University and held a master’s degree in German. During his studies, he returned to Germany to the University of Heidelberg and met his wife, Martina Hampel, where she wondered who “that crazy American guy” was. He brought her back to the States where they married, and he taught German at Belleville East High School until he retired. Because he promised Martina she would never have to work if she came to the States, he spent all his free summers and breaks with his Klauss Landscaping business, outworking every high school football player he had ever hired. Always being the best provider he could be, his evenings were spent teaching German at the Southwest Illinois College or selling tickets at the high school basketball and football games. He became everyone’s favorite German teacher because of his knack at relating to kids since he was always a big kid himself. He raised two children, Dr. Kirsten Klauss Reynolds (married to Dr. Brian H. Reynolds) and Dr. Sven Klauss (married to Dana Baker) who were always his pride and joy until the grandkids came along and more than took over those spots! According to his grandkids, he was the best and the coolest Opa ever and indulged in letting them break all the rules and fulfilled all their dreams and wishes. That’s probably because he was never a rule follower himself, and he was always happiest to do things for others especially his grandkids Lars 19, Monika 17, (Brian and Kirsten), Niklas 17, Noah 15, and Annika 13 (Dana and Sven). His heart was huge and his generosity even bigger. His goal in life was to take care of everyone around him. His health deteriorated over the past years, and his wife was his guardian angel and took care of him the way he had taken care of his entire family his whole life. During his last hospital stay, he knew his heart and lungs were finally giving out and asked to be brought back to his home he had built with his own two hands which was his sanctuary. He died there peacefully with his family at his side under Hospice care.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Emil and Pauline Klauss.
He is survived by his wife, Martina Klauss, nee Hampel; children, Dr. Kirsten (Dr. Brian H. Reynolds) Klauss Reynolds, Dr. Sven (Dana Baker) Klauss, and grandchildren, Lars Reynolds, Monika Reynolds, Niklas Klauss, Noah Klauss, Annika Klauss.
He would want any donations to go to Heartland Hospice (heartlandhospicefund.org/) for allowing him to die peacefully and on his terms because with Klauss (as everyone knew him), everything had to be on his terms and his peaceful death was no exception. Condolences may be extended to the family online at www.schildknechtfh.com.
His wishes were for no services to be held because he always found those way too depressing and way too hard on family members since he knows we are all criers. See, he’s still taking care of everybody else, even in death.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Schildknecht Funeral Home, O’Fallon, IL.