Shaler farm girl didn't believe in handicaps
By Jerry Vondas
Published: Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011,
For Ellen Klemz, serving as a leader for Cub Scout packs that reached out to boys with special needs and minorities came naturally.
"Throughout her life, it was my wife's Methodist faith that guided her in everything that she did," said her husband, Charles Klemz. "And Ellen applied that faith to our marriage."
Ellen Kramer Klemz of Shaler, formerly of Garfield, died on Monday, Sept. 26, 2011, in her home. She was 71.
"We both began working with the boys of Pack No. 29 at the Fort Pitt School in Garfield in 1972 and later with Pack No. 88 at the Albright United Methodist Church in Shadyside.
"She taught several of the boys, who could manage it, the use of power tools," Klemz added. "For others, who found it hard to use pots and pans, she taught them to cook on tin foil.
"What was most important, she'd often say to them, was the importance of looking after each other and to work as a team," he added.
He recalled meeting his wife while they rode a bus to their jobs Downtown. "We had a lot in common. I had also been raised on a farm. But I also let her know that I had been wounded in Vietnam and had been paralyzed for nearly two years.
"She let me know that there was no such thing as being handicapped and that you are as handicapped as you make it," said Klemz, who worked as a short-order cook for 43 years at Ritter's Diner in Bloomfield. "We were married in 1964."
Born and raised on a farm in Federal, Allegheny County, Ellen Kramer was one of four children in the family of Louis and Dorothy Kramer.
"Ellen was active with the 4-H and had through the years won many awards," said her husband. "But it was her participation in the Federal Methodist Church that gave her the most satisfaction.
"Ellen taught Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, both at Federal United Methodist and later in Albright United Methodist Church in Shadyside, where we became members in 1968.
"We were considered a team," Klemz added. "At St. Augustine Church in Lawrenceville, I cooked and Ellen was in charge of the volunteers making the deliveries.
"Even though Ellen attended the former Duff's Iron-City College (Downtown), where she studied accounting, she was a pro at helping setting up the Thanksgiving dinners at Albright, where we served hundreds of people who had no place to go for a holiday meal," he said.
Abass Kamara of Highland Park recalled what it was like for young people like himself to help serve the Thanksgiving dinner.
"She encouraged us to stop and serve," said Kamara. "And to be ever mindful of how much we have."
In addition to her husband, Charles, Mrs. Klemz is survived by a son, Mark Klemz of the South Hills; siblings, John Kramer of Federal, Betty Holmes of Canonsburg and Russell Kramer of the South Hills; five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
She was preceded in death by a daughter, Michele Klemz-Bucklad.
Friends will be received from 1 to 8 p.m. Thursday at McCabe Bros. Inc. Funeral Home, 5300 Penn Ave., Bloomfield, where services will be held at 9:30 a.m. Friday.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Police say they arrested a fellow cop for driving drunk after he shows up to work intoxicated
- That’s a Jeep Cherokee? No retro in 2014 model
- Steelers notebook: Woodley expects to start Sunday vs. Dolphins
- Pitt slows down Loyola Marymount, 85-68
- Latrobe couple accused of using car trunk to end son’s fear of the dark
- Penguins notebook: Malkin to miss 2nd straight game Saturday
- Photo gallery: Community Thanksgiving dinner in Penn Hills
- South Greensburg bugler still playing ‘Taps,’ but few others continue tradition
- Lowdown on some tools for gardening
- Jokinen takes center stage as fill-in for Pens’ Malkin
- Czech premier not happy to attend Mandela funeral