George L. Klaeren

George L. Klaeren

George passed away Wednesday, April 18, 2018, at Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo.

He was born January 26, 1933, in Elmhurst, Illinois the son of Michael and Edna (Overocker) Klaeren.

As an athlete for Mendon High School, he earned All-State Honors in football. George proudly served his country in the US Air Force during the Korean War. He earned his Master’s Degree in Education from Western Michigan University where he lettered in football.

His professional career in education began in 1959 as a teacher, coach, athletic director, and most notably principal of Otsego High School. For 64 years, his biggest role was as a loving husband to Bea and a devoted family man to his eight children and 17 grandchildren.

In his spare time he enjoyed playing softball, boating, camping, traveling and attending academic and athletic events for his children and grandchildren.

On May 29, 1954, at St. Edward’s Catholic Church in Mendon he married Beatrice Ann Klein who survives.

Also surviving are his children, Michael (Sue Kelly) Klaeren, Theresa Calvin, Stephen (Laura) Klaeren, Lisa (Don) Walley, Patrick Klaeren, Kevin (Carol) Klaeren, Laura (Joe Miller) Henckel and Beth (Daryl) Zartman and 17 grandchildren, Katie, Thomas, Elizabeth, Kristen, Melissa, Rachel, George, Daniel, Mary, Matthew, Stephanie, Logan, Maxwell, Ryan, Nathan, Hunter and Jacob.

He was preceded in death by his parents and 6 siblings.

Friends may visit with George’s family from 4:00 P.M.-8:00 P.M., Friday, April 20, 2018, at the Winkel Funeral Home, Otsego.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 12:00 P.M., Saturday, April 21, 2018, at St. Edward’s Catholic Church in Mendon, with Monsignor Thomas Martin officiating.

Burial will follow at St. Edward’s Catholic Cemetery in Mendon.

Contributions in memory of George may be made to the Otsego Public Schools Foundation or the Mendon High School Athletic Boosters.

Messages of condolence may be posted at

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Messages of Condolence

  1. Class of 1980 says:

    The class of 1980 would like to send their sincere condolences to the Klaeren family.

  2. Tammy Lutes - OHS Class of 80 says:

    Sending my sincere condolences to the Klaeren family. May you find peace and comfort in those surrounding you.

  3. Penny Pulver Baker says:

    To Mrs. Klaeren, and all my little chickens from so long ago,
    Wish to offer my heartfelt condolences to one of the coolest families in the universe. Mr. exuded honor, integrity, and fairness at every turn. From Penny, your old babysitter.

  4. Lori Burrows says:

    Words are not enough to convey my sadness for your family. God really blessed us when He sent George Klaeren to Otsego. I will miss his sense of humor in the stands watching the boys and will always feel honored to have known him as a mentor and friend. Praying for all of the family-

  5. Jeanne Merrill Lewis says:

    So very sorry to hear! Our thoughts and prayers are with the family!
    Kevin and Jeanne Lewis

  6. Conni Pierce says:

    My condolences to the Klaeren family he will be missed and remember as my principal at Otsego high school God Bless rest on on that mountain sir

  7. Joy Merrill Chase says:

    Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he Rest In Peace.
    He will be missed by all. He gave so much of himself to Otsego Schools.

  8. Janelle Turner Oberhill says:

    My sincere condolences to the entire family. George was my first Principal at my only teaching job. I loved him dearly as boss, mentor and friend. A straight shot to heaven for George. He was one of the good guys.

  9. John W. Hart says:

    My Principal from 1964–1968 at Otsego High School.

  10. Jason and Victoria Trepanier says:

    Our sincere condolences to the family of a very respected man. RIP Mr Klaeren..

  11. Katherine S Ransler says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. He was a very dear respected man, who I looked up to. We were all blessed to know him. Thinking of you.

    Kathy Ransler (Miller)

    My whole family sends our condolences to you all.

  12. Linda Perrin says:

    Theresa, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this very difficult time. ((hugs))

  13. Joy Kennedy Hendricks says:

    Class of 1979 -Sorry for your loss. May God give your family comfort at this time.

  14. Tammy, Chad and Wyatt (Henckel) Mitchell says:

    We are so sorry for your loss. Keeping you close in our thoughts and prayers.

  15. Pam (Bee) Bryant says:

    My deepest sympathies to the Klaeren family. May you be surrounded by the comfort offered by the many who your father/ husband made an impression.

  16. Cheryl Anderson and family says:

    So very sorry for your loss Klaeren family. George was a good man, and will be missed by many. You all have wonderful memories and stories to cherish forever. May you have peace and comfort during this difficult time.

  17. Kim Palmer says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you, Beth and your family. What a beautiful life and legacy to be celebrated. My deepest sympathies. Love and prayers. Kim Klumpp Palmer

  18. Bob and sandy mcparlan says:

    Dear bea kids and grandkids we are saddened by the loss of your soulmate dad and grandad. George was a good friend and all around fun person to have shared good times. Always keep him in your memories and share the good times and great stories that he has left to you and yours. We were privileged to have known him. May he rest in piece.

  19. Gary and Barb Rhoades says:

    So sorry to hear the sad news of George Klaeren’s passing. I had the honor and privilege of working with and for Mr. Klaeren for my entire coaching and teaching career at Otsego schools. He was so much more than a boss, he was a mentor and friend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his beautiful family as we share in your loss.

  20. Mike Foster says:

    George Klaeren paved the way to success for hundreds of young people in the Otsego community. As a teacher, coach, athletic director and principal, he provided a quality setting for students to learn and teachers to educate. As a principal, he ran a tight ship while always making choices that were in the best interest of his school, students and community. George had the strength to make tough decisions that were not always popular and stood tall during some of the most challenging times in public education. As he read the names of each senior on graduation day, it was clear that he had won the respect of all while holding a soft spot in his heart for each senior graduate.

    He was a great Dad, loving Husband, attentive Grandfather and a loyal Friend to many. This man will surely be missed.


  21. Carrie Curtiss says:

    Thinking of you and your family as this difficult time. Love you Beth!!

  22. Margaret (Hiatt) James says:

    So sorry for you and your family. I remember him from eons ago, when Christina and I were frequently at your home.

    God Bless You.

  23. Jeanette Coleman says:

    George was an amazing principal to work for. He was kind, thoughtful and funny. LOVED the brunches he brought to work for our staff. Sending love and prayers to his family especially Bea and Beth. ❤️

  24. Norberta Schmitt Renauld says:

    May he rest in peace in the hands of the Lord.

  25. Sandy and Bob McParlan says:

    Dear bea kids and grandkids we are saddened by the loss of your soulmate dad and grandad. George was a good friend and all around fun person to have shared good times. Always keep him in your memories and share the good times and great stories that he has left to you and yours. We were privileged to have known him. May he rest in piece.

  26. Bob Mcparlan says:

    Peace not piece!

  27. Bob Miles says:

    Sorry to hear of the passing of George Klaeren. I spent many years working with George at Otsego Public Schools. George was an excellent Principal and a good guy to work with. Socially George and Bea were great to be around and their family the same. George will be missed by many.

  28. Judy Buist Grams says:

    My deepest sympathy to the entire Klaeren family. I am proud to say that George hired me, and I had 21 wonderful years at OHS. George was an outstanding principal and I have the utmost respect for him. A really wonderful man.

  29. Cory and Aimee Hess says:

    Klaeren family,
    So sorry to hear of your loss. George was a great principal and well liked by many. He will be missed, but remembered always. Our prayers are with all of you during this time.

  30. Dave Nobel says:

    Condolences to the Family. George was a great husband, father, and grandfather. He was always at his kids and grand-kids events. He will be greatly missed on the sidelines.

  31. The Reitenour Family says:

    Beth, Daryl, Hunter and JZ,

    Our deepest sympathy goes out to your family. We all witnessed the love and devotion each one of you had toward your father, grandparent and father in law. (All the sporting events) Even though we know this is a big loss in your family, we sincerely hope that the memories and love you all have for each other help to ease the grief over time.

    With many thoughts of you~

    The Reitenour Family

  32. Debbie (Howe) Williams says:

    “There is no more noble person than one who helps others succeed.” George Klaeren – a noble man, leaving a legacy of faith, goodness, laughter and truth. My high school principal (Class of 1981) and my first principal in my first teaching job at Allegan Street Elementary. He taught me about the “pal” at the end of principal. Good man, good family, good memories. I pray peace over the entire family. And I agree – BEST BULLDOG EVER!

  33. Betsy Huntley Sproat says:

    I was so sorry to hear about Uncle George’s passing. I have such good memories of him at Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Elmhurst. Your family is in our thoughts and prayers.

  34. Kathi Fuss says:

    Sending hugs and prayers to you all at this hard time in your lives. I always enjoyed talking to George. He was a great person!

  35. SHERRI MACEACHRON(Edwards) says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss, this comes from class of !974, Mr. Klaeren was the best principle anyone could ask for, your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

  36. Rose Mary Gazella says:

    My sincere sympathy to Bea and all the Klaeren family at the passing of George, His was a life well-lived and generously shared. I was blessed to have known him. Peace and prayers for all of you.

  37. Walt and Nancy Boettcher says:

    Extending our deepest sympathy to the Klaeren family. So many good memories over the years. He will be missed.

  38. Karen McNees says:

    Klaeren Family, our thoughts and prayers are with you all! Our Otsego High School Family will forever be special to me, and I so respected Mr. Klaeren! I was honored when he hired me to teach third grade at Allegan Street Elementary early in my career. I’ll never forget his belief in me, his kindness and the great way he lead staff and students with strength and confidence. He made a difference.

  39. Sydne (Hess) Suzuki. says:

    So sorry for your loss. Rest In Peace Mr. Klaeren.

  40. Bruce Bendix says:

    Mr. Klaeren was the best principal I ever worked for.

    More than that, he was a fine, fine man.

    My sincerest condolences to his family.

    I hope they are comforted by knowing his was a life well-lived in the service of them and community.

  41. Wendy Hendricks Moyer says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with the Klaeren family. I have fond memories od Mr Klaeren. Rest in peace.

  42. Dawn Van Dyke says:

    My thoughts ad prayers are with the family.

  43. Gerry,Dorothy and Julie Galbraith says:

    Bea and Family
    So sorry for your loss.
    Love and Prayers from Phoenix

  44. Chip Gott says:

    So much respect for Mr. Klaeren. My prayers to the rest of the Klaeren family.

  45. Phyllis (Rector) Gary says:

    Klaeren family, you are in our thoughts and prayers. Wishing you strength and peace. Mr. Klaeren will be greatly missed. He was a gentle man and caring. A great principal and coach. He will be remembered by many. With our love, the Rector family

  46. Craig and Lorna Sisson says:

    Dear Klaren family:
    We are holding you in our hearts, thoughts and prayers in your great loss. Mr. Klaren was Craig’s football coach and he knew him to be inspiring and enthusiastic. I had him for a teacher in junior high and then principal. He was always encouraging, supportive and fair and truly cared about his students. We will miss seeing him at sporting events and about town. May your wonderful memories bring you peace at this difficult time. God bless your family,
    Craig and Lorna Sisson

  47. Sondra Dalton formerly Magierka says:

    So sorry for your loss I am from the class of 1987

  48. Sondra Dalton formerly Magierka says:

    sorry for your loss I am from the class of 1987

  49. Dale A. Eickhoff says:

    Thoughts and prayers go out to the Klaeren family on behalf of Mendon High alumni and the members of St. Edward Catholic Church.

  50. Joy (Russell) Nicholas says:

    Deepest condolences to the Klaeren family and the OHS community. He was always so nice and supportive to me and our family. May he Rest In Peace.

  51. Laura DenHarder says:

    Thinking of all the Klaeren family, i remember your dad always having a smile for us students. You all are in my prayers.

  52. Sherlene (Schmmitt) Belden says:

    Bee, Theresa and all the Klaren family members. I am so sorry for your loss. May all of the wonderful memories you have of your beloved husband, father and grandfather help you through this most difficult time. Sending prayers and hugs your way.

  53. Sherlene (Schmmitt) Belden says:

    Bee, Theresa and all of the Klaren family members. I hope that all the wonderful memories you have of your husband, father and grandfather help you through this most difficult time. sending prayers and hugs to the Klaren family.

  54. Tim and Marcia Quigley says:

    Dear Family of Mr. Klaeren,
    I graduated in 1968. I was always a little intimidated by Mr. Klaeren – he was the man in charge – I remember one time one of my friends was having a birthday and a bunch of us bought a cake for her – it was at lunch-time (in what is now the Middle School cafeteria). I lit some candles and of course I got called into the office by Mr. Klaeren – he explained to me that you could NOT light candles – it was most certainly a fire hazard! I was scared AND relieved he did not expel me from school that day! Please know that he is now an Angel in Heaven watching over you! Prayers to you all!

  55. Lani Hendricks Poynter says:

    So sorry to hear of Mr. Klaeren’s passing. He was always one of my favorite people, and had one of the all-time greatest families in the history of Otsego. I’m sure my classmates (’67) join me in extending our thoughts and prayers to the family. He will surely be missed by all.

  56. Stacy Smith says:

    Thoughts & prayers to the Klaeren family. He was such a great man, the best principal, someone I looked up and a wonderful role model!

  57. Hunter and Jacob Zartman says:

    Thanks for being our #1 supporter throughout the years and having such a positive impact on our lives. You have left us with a lifetime of memories and you will be dearly missed. We love you grandpa!

  58. Mark and Mary Nixon says:

    Our condolences go out to Laura Henckel and Joe Miller and the entire KLaeren family on the loss of your father. We will keep you all in our thoughts and prayers.

  59. Michael Kuiper says:

    To everyone, my thoughts and prayers are with you. May the wonderful memories help support you and ease your loss.

  60. Jackie kingsnorth says:

    Please accept my condolences in the passing of your husband, father and grandfather. Sincerely, Jackie Elder Kingsnorth

  61. Bob Grill says:

    It was my privilege to work with George as a fellow principal at Otsego Schools for many years. If I was seeking advice, George’s was honest, straight forward, and valuable. My sympathies to Bea and the family for a most difficult loss.

  62. barbara layden says:

    To Aunt Bea and all my fellow Klaerens

    Uncle George was a wonderful man. He will be sorely missed by all of us.

    Barbara K. Layden

  63. Robert K. Jackson says:

    My ties go back to 1964, and his personal contact in finishing my college degree. Great guy !

  64. Carol J. Mattson says:

    This fine man was promoted to Heaven…I can imagine him in wonderment and delight as the Wonders of Heaven. He is NOW in your future. He made such a large deposit in thousands of us over the decades. My heart-felt prayers and condolences go out to all the family and friends. I was from the Class of 1974. He put up with many things when I was at OHS. He earned a great deal of respect many of us. I pray that His Peace that surpasses ALL UNDERSTANDING will comfort and embrace you.

  65. Greg Chamberlin says:

    My condolences

  66. Nick VanAtter says:

    Mr. Klaeren was such an awesome man who set the example of what it means to be a high school principal, a dad to his children and husband to his wife! Many fond memories of your gentle, yet strong leadership while I attended OHS!

  67. Joan Walters says:

    Bea, Lisa and Klaeren family. I was so saddened to learn of George’s passing. My first encounter was when he was my 7th grade math teacher. Then as years went on he followed us to high school as our principal and then as my boss during my teaching years. What a wonderful, fair and kind man, who had a great sense of humor and adventure. He is now watching over his loved ones and probably keeping everyone in line in the heavens. RIP George.

  68. Tonia Leonard (Forney) says:

    I am so sorry for your loss…my heart is with the family during this time.

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