Our beloved brother, uncle and friend, John Richard Kleffner, died on April 3, 2021, at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center, as a result of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome T.E.N.S. We have lost a great man.
John was born Dec. 9, 1947, in Portland, Oregon, the second of 12 children, to Leo and Betty Kleffner.
John attended Sacred Heart Grade School and Benson Polytechnic High School, where he majored in building construction and was involved in other shops, including automotive, machine, electric, plumbing, sheet metal and mechanical architectural drawing. He also attended Portland Community College where he earned a certificate in welding.
He was drafted into the Army in August 1967, and served in Vietnam on a barge in the Mekong Delta. He was honorably discharged July 31, 1970.
His work history included working for his uncle Harry Rivelli as a helper on Harry’s produce farm, truck driver at Columbia Empire Meat Company, welder at Dillingham Ship Repair, and welder at Island Construction.
He moved to Vernonia, Oregon, where he had a purebred Limousin cattle ranch. He moved to Riverton, Wyoming, in 1997. He had a farm there and worked for other farmers in the area. He moved to Powell in 2006 where he farmed and worked maintenance at the Super 8 Motel. He retired from there and continued to develop property in the hopes of someday building his dream energy efficient home. Unfortunately, he died before that happened.
John was a very talented welder, builder and mechanic, and he could fix or repair anything. He was always willing to do so for anyone who asked his help. He enjoyed gardening and especially liked it when he could share his produce with others.
Family was the most important thing in John’s life. He was a devout Catholic and a member of St. Barbara’s Church in Powell.
He was living with his sister Mary in Powell when her daughter died, and at age 60, he became co-guardian and a father figure to her three grandchildren: Jasmine, Hunter and Logan James. He had never married or had children, so this was quite a challenge. He stepped up to the plate willingly.
John is survived by nine of his siblings: Mary Vail of Powell, Paul Kleffner (Marvin Gray) of Beaverton, Oregon; Lois Calamia (Michael) of Brighton, Colorado; Kathleen Kleffner, Mark Kleffner and Anne Schmidt (Tony), all of Aurora, Colorado; James Kleffner (Tamara) of Tucson, Arizona; Ellen Kleffner of Siletz, Oregon; and Jerome Kleffner (John) of Portland, Oregon; and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, an infant sister, Janet, and a brother, Robert.
A rosary will be said for him at St. Barbara’s Church in Powell on Friday, April 30, at 6 p.m. A funeral Mass will be held at St. Barbara’s Church, on Saturday, May 1, 2021, at 1 p.m. There will be light refreshments served afterward so that we may all share “John” stories. Arrangements are being handled by Thompson Funeral Home in Powell. He will be interred at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Oregon, on Friday, June 11, 2021.
Any remembrance in his name may be made to St. Barbara’s Church, P.O. Box 818, Powell, WY, 82435, or DAV (who offer free transportation services to veterans) 777 Ave H, Powell, WY, 82435, or Youth Clubs of Park County, 815 E. Fifth St., Powell, WY 82435.