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John Ries Kleespies

July 22, 1940 May 14, 2014
John Ries Kleespies
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Obituary for John Ries Kleespies
John Ries Kleespies of Harbor Oregon died unexpectedly on May 14, 2014 at the age of 73. He was born on July 22, 1940 in South Gate California to Clarence & Alice (Pauley) Kleespies. John attended Saint Rose of Lima primary school in Maywood California and graduated from Don Bosco Technical Institute in Rosemead, California in 1959. He attended Junior college for two years before joining the Air Force in 1960 and serving his country for four years during the Vietnam Era. He met the love of his life Gretna Braynard, at Mountain Home Air Force base in Idaho, where he was stationed, and after a brief courtship of two weeks asked her to marry him. They were married on November 20, 1965 in Brookings Oregon at the Star of the Sea Catholic Church. John and Gretna lived in Maywood, California for the first twelve years of their marriage. In 1977 they were able to realize their dream and moved to Harbor, Oregon to raise their growing family. John worked for South Coast Lumber for 23 years, until he retired in 2000 at the age of 59. John was the patriarch of a large family whom he loved to spend time with. He always had a kind word for anyone he encountered and was a tremendous example of a man who chose to live each day to the fullest, enjoying all of life’s simple pleasures. He was an active member of the Star of the Sea Catholic Church and was passionate about being a member of the Knights of Columbus. John was in charge of the monthly Knights breakfast for over 30 years and organized many other functions for the Knights. He enjoyed shopping and finding great bargains for all of the food and other needed supplies. Nothing made him happier than getting a great deal on clearance. He was also proud of helping the Knights to establish a local 4th degree assembly at the Star of the Sea Catholic Church. John was also passionate about hunting and fishing and loved showing his own kids and grandkids how to bait a hook or shoot a gun. He also enjoyed planting a garden and spent hours in the summer picking blackberries so that Gretna could make blackberry jam, which he loved to eat with everything. John was preceded in death by his father Clarence and mother Alice whom he always called “Mother Dear.” He is survived by his loving wife of 48 years Gretna Kleespies, son Perry and wife Kristy, daughter Lynette, son Eric, daughter Kara and husband Kevin Reed, daughter Shannon and husband Jesse Fowler, sister in law Donna Van Nest, Niece Brenda and husband Jeff Frost, and grandchildren Brad, Melissa, Ryan, Steve, Jon Ries, Kaylee Reed, Alice Fowler and great nephew and nieces Allison, Carson and Olivia Frost. A funeral mass will be held at 2:00pm on May 24, 2014 at the Star of the Sea Catholic Church, 820 Old County Road in Brookings. A rosary will precede the service at 1:30 pm, a luncheon reception will follow at the parish hall. A gravesite interment will be held at 1:00pm on May 27, 2014 at Eagle Point National Cemetery, 2763 Riley Rd. in Eagle Point, Ore. Redwood Memorial Chapel is assisting the family. Condolences may be expressed online at
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