January 7, 1941—January 6, 2023

Kelly Klein passed away unexpectedly at home in Colorado Springs on the eve of his 82nd birthday, with his wife by his side.

Kelly was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, and graduated from Greenville High School. He earned an undergraduate degree from Delta State University and a Masters Degree in Meteorology from Texas A&M University. As an Air Force officer, Kelly was stationed around the world, including Japan, Vietnam, the Pentagon, and Colorado Springs. He had the distinction of commanding two USAF Weather Wings. First was the 1st Weather Wing at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, providing weather services to the Army and Air Forces for the entire Pacific region. His last Air Force assignment was the 5th Weather Wing at Langley
AFB, VA. His many successes in over 28 years of service demonstrated his love of our country and the USAF. After his retirement from active duty, Kelly continued working with the Air Force in several capacities, the last of which was Director, SAIC Operations, AF Weather Agency. He retired in 2011.

Kelly had the good fortune of finding “two good Texas women” to marry and share his life. Carol Albert was his first wife and they had four children during their 47 year marriage: Karen Elizabeth Heinzle, Katherine Klein Snook, Kristina Noel Klein, and Thomas Kelly Klein, Jr. Their children produced five grandchildren: Ryan Klein Brady, Logan Klein Brady, Noelle Mia Kim, Thomas Kelly Klein III, and Charley Ann Klein. Kelly is also survived by his brother, Robert Hunter Klein and sister, Margaret Klein Batesole.

Carol’s death from cancer in 2014 was devastating for Kelly. However, through their USAFA football tailgate group, Kelly met Judy Pilonetti who had been widowed for several years and who helped him through the grieving process. Their many friends were delighted with the relationship which healed both and they married on September 15, 2021 in a small private ceremony. Kelly will always be remembered as a great husband, father, and friend, with a wonderful sense of humor who could enliven any discussion. He loved people and they loved him.

His funeral will be at Shrine of Remembrance on Tuesday, January 17, 2023, at 9:30 am, with a visitation beginning at 8:30 am. His interment will be in the Pikes Peak National Veterans Cemetery at 12PM.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Red Cross or to the charity of your choice.

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This Obituary Has 18 Condolences

  1. Judy & family, Our hearts are prayers are with you all! Kelly will be missed by everyone whose lives he touched! May God comfort you & hold you close!

  2. I fondly remember “Uncle” Kelly from my early childhood when my father was in Vietnam. I was 9 at the time. He would often take me to the cafeteria at Offutt and a movie. He successfully filled the void. He was a gentle giant of a man, and I will forever remember his huge smile and laugh. You are God’s SWO now. Rest easy.

  3. I’m so sorry to hear about Kelly’s passing. We pray everyday for his soul to be restored and he be accepted into God’s almighty kingdom. I miss my brother every day. With love, Bob and Lynn Klein

  4. Dear Judy and Family,
    We were so sorry to learn of Kelly’s passing. We have many fond and fun memories of him over the years. Our sincere condolences on your loss. He will be greatly missed…he was one of the good guys. With sympathy and love,
    Bob and Janice Wright

  5. Judy, Margaret, Bob, Kristie, Karen, Kathy, and Kelly & others,

    I am thinking of your family while uniting to honor the life Kelly enjoyed living.

    Kelly was proud of his family and served his country proudly. It was a pleasure to call him and Carol my friends (as introduced by my former next door neighbor, Margaret).

    As Kelly departs, he leaves an incredible legacy. His wife, four children, and grand children will no doubt follow his lead as they continue to positively impact their communities like Kelly did.

    Kelly will be missed, yet his smile and kindness will be remembered forever.

    Always

    Norma

  6. Dear Judy and family,
    Words can not adequately express our sorrow at Kelly’s passing. Kelly was a dear friend, mentor, role model, and cherished member of our “chosen family.” You and your family are in our prayers for comfort and strength during your time of loss. Lets cherish the many wonderful memories we have of Kelly and keep him in our hearts forever.

  7. Thoughts and prayers to the entire family. 🙏🏼

  8. The Buckley SFB military Retiree Activities Office (RAO) would like to offer our sincere condolences and our gratitude for Col Klein’s 28 years of distinguished service to our country in the Air Force. If you would like help with any matters related to casualty assistance, Defense Finance & Accounting Service, Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), Veterans Affairs (VA), etc. you can contact our office on Buckley SFB at 720-847-6693 or raobuckley@gmail.com. The RAO is staffed by volunteers, all military retirees themselves, and our sole purpose is to provide assistance to any military retirees and surviving spouses/family members with anything related to their military service and/or benefits, in particular during difficult times such as this. We are deeply sorry for your loss.

    Steve Young
    Lt Col, USAF, Ret
    Director, Buckley SFB RAO

  9. I had the privilege of working for Kelly when he led the SAIC contingent at AFWA. He was a great boss and mentor. Kelly will truly be missed. To Kelly’s family, you have our sincerest condolences.
    Terry and Susan Laing

  10. Worked under him at GWC for a short time until he moved on to the 1WW/CC slot. Later, while on TDY in Hawaii, stopped in to say hello. Acted like I was a long lost friend or family member returned. One of the really good ones in AWS. Hand Salute. Rest in Peace Sir!!

  11. Dear Judy and Family,
    Sharon and I felt great when we heard of Kelly’s passing. We became very good friends with the Kleins in the mid-1990s when Kelly was retired and we were at Offutt AFB. Kelly would stop by my office to visit — often raising my morale when the daily grind seemed insurmountable — and we frequently got together with Kelly and Carol for an enjoyable afternoon or evening. A memory that will always be with us is the Y2K New Year’s Eve trip a group of us took to Hawaii – Kelly and Carol were key to planning and energetic spark plugs for the week long adventure — keeping us partying at the Hale Koa New Year’s Eve until nearly 3:00 am. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Sharon and Jack

  12. Dear Judy and Family,
    We too have been shocked to learn this sad news. Please accept our deepest condolences. As I have read all the glowing reflections about Colonel Kelly Klein, I can only wish I had known him longer than I did. On active duty, I met him very briefly at Hickam AFB, HI, when he was Commander of the First Weather Wing. He noticed I was not yet wearing the newly-approved Weather Badge. He reached into his desk drawer and offered me one. Air Force “True Blue” indeed! We met later at Offutt AFB as I was transferred from the Sterling Software support contract for AFWA’s Satellite Data Handling System (SDHS) to the Cloud Depiction and Forecast System (CDFS II) development contract, where Kelly became my boss. I was proud to know him as a fellow officer, a true patriot, a leader by example, a willing mentor, and a good friend. I miss him already. Please know you are in our prayers. Godspeed, Kelly Klein.
    Don and Rhonda Nicklin

  13. To the family of Colonel Kelly Klein,
    Please accept our deepest condolences. We too have been shocked and saddened by your loss. As we have read all the glowing tributes to Kelly, I can only wish we had known him longer than we did. I was proud to have known him as a fellow officer, a leader by example, a willing mentor, and a good friend. I miss him already. Godspeed, Kelly Klein.
    Don and Rhonda Nicklin

  14. Judy and Family, we mourn with you the loss of Kelly in our lives. He was a dear friend and bright star in our family’s history for more than 50 years. We have so many great memories, they are hard to count. Who didn’t love Kelly Klein for his kindness, generosity, humor, warmth, and sparkle in his eye? We will miss him deeply. No doubt that Heaven is a better place with his presence there.

  15. We are heartbroken about Kelly’s passing. When he and Judy visited us the day after Christmas, they were so uplifting. Kelly and I were in Vietnam together and I have been close to him ever since. We have celebrated our Jan 7th birthdays together over the years together, or with cards, e-mails and/or tele calls. I know I will continue to cherish our friendship and celebrate my remaining Jan 7th’s with Kelly. He was really a wonderful guy. Our love and God’s Blessings.

  16. We are heartbroken about Kelly’s passing. When he and Judy visited us the day after Christmas, they were so uplifting. Kelly and I were in Vietnam together and I have been close to him ever since. We have celebrated our Jan 7th birthdays together over the years together, or with cards, e-mails and/or tele calls. I know I will continue to cherish our friendship and celebrate my remaining Jan 7th’s with Kelly. He was really a wonderful guy and a superb officer. Our love and God’s Blessings.

  17. Raymond and Liubov Bussard

    Dear Judy and Family,
    We were saddened to hear the news about Kelly. Liubov and I are honored to have had the opportunity to have met him. I remember we first met Kelly and Judy in 2021 at Therese’s house. Then we all drove to the Coors Field baseball park to watch the Colorado Rockies play. Since it was a hot day, we all went down to a covered part of the stadium. There we had a chance to visit. Kelly was so enthusiastic about life and could talk on any subject, as could Judy. Later we walked to a cafe for drinks. The entire day was so pleasant. Then we were in Denver again in 2022 and had a wonderful visit with Kelly and Judy at a cool Mexican restaurant. Kelly was there with his boyish enthusiasm, charm and that great smile. What a cool guy! He will be missed and always loved by all those who had the good fortune to have met him!

  18. I am so very sorry to read of Kelly’s passing away. He was a wonderful person and a special friend in high school. My memories are the best. My deepest sympathy to Margaret, Bob and all the family. Please know I have each of you in my prayers and extend my love to you,Kitty

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