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John Chris Kleiber
Feb. 12, 1930 Nov. 8, 2016
John Kleiber
John Chris Kleiber, 1930-2016 - photo by Contributed to the Courier

John Chris Kleiber

Feb. 12, 1930 - Nov. 8, 2016

A graveside service will be held at 12:30 p.m. today (Nov. 16) at Lakewood Memorial Park, with a Celebration of Life to follow at 2 p.m. at Allen Mortuary in Turlock.

John was born in Shawnee, Okla., to Chris and Ethel Kleiber and passed away at the age of 86 in Turlock. The family moved to California in 1936 settling in the Modesto/Ceres area. John grew up in dairy farming, settling on Roberts Road in Ceres where he lived from age 15 to 81. He met his wife, Helen Ellen Gist, in grammar school and they married on July 15, 1947. Together they had four children.

John worked alongside his father on the dairy for many years. Eventually they scaled down the business and he took a job in construction. He was proud to have helped build the Sundial Lodge on McHenry Avenue in Modesto. Later he worked for Haig Berberian Walnut & Almond Processing Plant as a fork lift driver and became a supervisor and Teamsters Union Steward. After leaving Haig Berberian, John realized his dream of being a truck driver when he purchased his beloved White Freightliner and for 16 years he hauled tomatoes, cotton and various fruits and nuts from fields to canneries throughout the Central Valley until his retirement.

He loved nature and he loved to travel. There were many family weekends spent camping and hiking in Yosemite.
After retirement, John and Helen purchased a travel trailer and enjoyed many trips throughout California, Oregon, Washington and Arizona. Anywhere there were mountains or redwoods were favorite destinations. They visited his sister and her family in Louisiana as often as they could; and they also enjoyed researching and visiting significant locations in family history.

He leaves behind his children, Joan Wallen of Turlock, John (Linda) Kleiber of Virginia, Chuck (Elise) Kleiber of Turlock and Margo (Dan) Ely of Hughson; his brother-in-law, Wayne Mattox; his grandchildren, Ellen (David) O'Brien , Greg (Melissa) Wallen, Jennifer (Tripp) Torchia, Brian (Jennifer) Kleiber, Alison (Mike) Allen, Jamie (Tylo) Holveck, Chris (Rebekah) Kleiber, Heather (Eren) Fisher, Josh (Tasha) Ely and Andrew Ely; and 17 great-grandchildren.

John is preceded in death by wife Helen; parents Chris J. Kleiber and Ethel Van Zant Kleiber; sisters Pearl Kleiber LeSage and Evalena Kleiber Mattox, infant brother Gomer Lee Kleiber; brothers-in-law Jack Rathbun and Harold LeSage; and son-in-law Billy Wallen.

Memorial contributions may be sent to Community Hospice, 4368 Spyres Way, Modesto, CA 95356.

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-Ceres (Calif.) Courier
Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016