Sarah Elizabeth Partenheimer Klein, 102, passed away on Tuesday, October 18, 2022, in Daytona Beach, Florida.
She was born in Huntingburg, Indiana in 1920 and grew up on Main Street surrounded by her family including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who all participated in the Partenheimer Lumber Company as they built homes, businesses, and churches in Southern Indiana for almost 100 years. Well-known among their projects is the baseball field in City Park that was featured in “A League of Their Own” She enjoyed the outdoors and sports among the more traditional activities of a young girl of the times including music and art and friends.
As the Depression was ending, she enrolled at Purdue University, joined the Alpha Chi Omega sorority, and earned a Bachelor’s Degree enabling her to teach Home Economics and Science. While at Purdue she met and married Robert Klein. It was WWII and he entered the Marines and she went to work in a war production plant and then teach.
After the war, their family grew to include five children. They lived near St Louis and then moved to Norwalk Connecticut. Sarah, also well known as Beth, resumed her teaching career at Nipher Junior High in Kirkwood, Missouri, and then Roton Middle School for 20 years in Connecticut. She earned a Master’s in Education at Fairfield University and joined the state Science Teachers Association. That would lead to her presidency of the National Science Teachers Association which included Congressional testimony, Space Shuttle launches, and much encouragement and advocacy for other educators. When she was elected to the 25,000-member organization, she was the first middle school teacher and the first woman to hold the position.
After Bob’s death in 1981 and upon retirement, she launched a new career. First was a house mother in a sorority and then a fraternity at DePauw University. Finally, permanently moving to Florida she became the president of owners’ associations at Ormond Ocean Club and then at the new Ormond Heritage. In 2005, Sarah moved to The Cloisters in Deland, FL, a senior living facility where she walked, enjoyed the pool, played cards, sang in the Kitchen Band, and enjoyed her friends. Becoming bedridden recently she moved to Bishop’s Glen in Daytona Beach this past summer.
Her children remember their mother as a terrific homemaker for the family of seven. She sewed curtains and clothes, helped with hair curlers and saddle shoes, directed the cleaning and the kitchen chores, baked great pecan rolls and holiday meals, managed the grocery budget, bandaged scrapes, checked on homework, and attended sports events. She enjoyed bridge, musicals, singing hymns, travel, shopping, and “visiting”. A woman of abiding faith, she often spoke of God’s eternal presence and His active role in our lives.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Samuel and Sarah Lucile Partenheimer; her husband Robert (Bob) Klein, her brother John Partenheimer, son-in-law Richard Schmidt, and son-in-law Clifford Smith. She is survived by her sister Barbara Sue Frick (Gene), West Lafayette, IN, her sister-in-law Dessie Partenheimer, Indianapolis, IN; her brother-in-law Frederick (Gisela) Klein, Mt Pleasant, SC; her children: Sarah A. Smith, Durham, NC; Susan E. Schmidt, Hilliard OH; Barbara J. Craig (Alan), Palm Coast FL; John F. Klein (Michelle), Athens, AL; and William (Bill) R. Klein (Joy), Ormond Beach, FL. She has 10 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements by Nass & Son Funeral Home, include a service at Salem United Church of Christ, followed by burial in Fairmount Cemetery in Huntingburg, Indiana on Saturday, November 5, 2022. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a gift to either the American Heart Association or the Museum of Arts and Science, Daytona Beach FL.