Braille Monitor                                                April 2013

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Obituary of Russell Kletzing

Portrait of Russell Kletzing taken in 1968From the Editor: The newspaper obituary for Russell Kletzing does not mention his blindness directly. He became totally blind at about eighteen months of age, which means that, like Dr. tenBroek, Dr. Jernigan, and President Maurer, his impressive list of life accomplishments was completed as a totally blind man. Here is the obituary for Russell Kletzing as published in the Sacramento Bee for March 3 and 4, 2013:

KLETZING, Russell
1925 - 2013

On the morning of February 15, Russell Kletzing passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home at the age of eighty-seven. He will be greatly missed by his wife Ruth of 59 years of marriage and close friendship, and his son Craig and daughter-in-law Jeanette, and son James. He will also be missed by Quang Huynh, who has been like a third son, and his family, as well as Julie Mandarino, who spent much of her growing-up years with the family, and his nephew Roger Peterson and nieces, Janis Lord and Nancy Barr and grand-nieces, Amanda and Emily Barr. He was preceded in death by his brother, Gene and two sisters, Elizabeth and Marion.

Russ graduated with a degree in chemistry from U.C. Berkeley, in 1945, followed by a year at the University of Chicago for his first year of law school. He completed his law degree at Boalt Hall, U.C. Berkeley in 1948. He worked for the State of California, Department of Water Resources for thirty years, retiring as assistant chief counsel in 1988. During those years of working, he was very active in the organized blind movement, serving as president of the local and state chapters, and then was president of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) from 1962 to 1966. Many blind leaders in other countries had attended an NFB convention in Arizona during those years, so, following his presidency, the NFB sent Russell and his wife, Ruth, on a round-the-world trip for six weeks to those countries to be of service and education to them.

After retirement Russ was a volunteer with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). He was also very active in the Renaissance Society of Sacramento at CSUS [California State University, Sacramento], serving on its board for several years. Many thanks go to Russ' former caregiver, Deanna, who returned to be of much help. A Celebration of Life will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Sacramento on Saturday, March 9, at 2:00. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to CASA at CASA Program, Inc., P. O. Box 278383, Sacramento, CA, 95827 or any charity of one's choice.

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