Christian Francis Kleine, one of three children of Christian Henry and Dorothy Irene (Edwards) Kleine, was born September 9, 1932 in Omaha, Nebraska. He attended public school in Omaha through the sixth grade, when his family moved to Stella, Nebraska. Jim, as he was known to family and friends, graduated from Stella High School.
After a year at Doane College in Crete, Nebraska, Jim entered the U.S. Army in May of 1953. After his honorable discharge in 1955, he returned to school at Doane for another year before finishing his teaching degree at Peru State Teachers College in Peru, Nebraska.
On June 8, 1954 Jim was united in marriage to Patricia Ruhl at St. Stephens Catholic Church in Exeter, Nebraska. Two children, Jim and Jennifer, were born to this union.
Jim taught for a year at Odell, Nebraska before taking a position at Auburn, Nebraska. He taught in Auburn for 36 years and also coached football, basketball, and track. For many years Jim spent his summers as the manager at the Auburn pool, and served on the Pool Board as well.
As a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Auburn, Jim served as an acolyte for Father Halligan for many years. He belonged to the Knights of Columbus, as well as Auburn Rotary Club and American Legion Post #23.
Jim’s health worsened in 2013, and he eventually entered Tabitha Rehabilitation Center in Lincoln, Nebraska in 2014. It was there he passed away on Friday, April 11, 2014 at the age of 81 years, 7 months, and 2 days. His parents and sister Phyllis preceded him in death.
Jim is survived by his wife Pat of Auburn; children and spouses Jim and Carole Kleine of Elwood, NE; Jennifer and Robert Perales of Lincoln; grandchildren Katie Kleine, Xavier, Mateo, and Gabriel Perales; sister Karen Rush of Las Vegas, NV; other relatives and many friends.
A memorial mass was held Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Auburn, celebrated by Father Greg Pawloski. Barb Billesbach was accompanist for congregational singing. Honorary bearers were Gail Searcey, Tod Bieke, Tom Gulizia, Ed Bredemeier, Tom Clark, and Bob Engles. Jim’s ashes will be buried at a later date.