This Fodder is a tribute to Ivan Kline, the husband of Cindy’s youngest sister, Rita, who died a week ago yesterday. His death was unexpected and sudden. Though no autopsy was performed, he apparently had a heart attack and quite literally was gone in a heartbeat. He was at home and it was about bedtime when he collapsed suddenly and was in the presence of Jesus.
Little did we realize what this 3-week holiday would hold. However, we could also see God’s timing in it that we Came home specifically for Christmas for the first Christmas in 41 years! Of course in those 41 years, we’ve been here for several Christmases, but only when we were already here for home assignment. Normally for our holidays, when we’ve come home it has been in the summer. The only reason it was different this year was because of the uncertainty of when my heart surgery would take place.
Ivan is survived by his wife, Rita, their three grown children, Matthew, David and Megan and their respective spouses, Jen, Laura and Kyle. They also have 3 grandchildren and another one on the way.
Ivan grew up in an Amish family, but in his teen years he decided not to follow the Amish traditions. They attended a Mennonite church at first, when they were married in 1977, but eventually changed to a non-denominational evangelical church, which they were still attending.
Ivan was a plumber by trade, a good one, evidenced in the number of people who attended his calling hours and memorial service. I’d guess Ivan knew more people in Holmes County (where many Amish still live.) than most, because of his plumbing business.
Monday was the calling hours, and they had it in two sections, one from 1-3pm, the other from 5-8pm. More came in the afternoon than the evening, perhaps because of the Amish who attended. The line was long and some people waited for more than an hour to pass the casket and greet the family members. There was supposed to be a break from 3-5, but the line did not go down until after 4:00. So after a short break and some snacks and pizza. (thanks to Cindy’s cousins) we started again. The line snaked at least 100 yards most of the afternoon. While there were not the long lines in the evening, there was still a steady stream of people to come and pay their respects..
Ivan was not a man of many words, but when he spoke, you wanted to be listening. He was one of the most generous and kind-hearted men that I knew. Ivan was always giving of his time and effort, even on holidays, if someone had a plumbing problem. Some problems could not wait as they involved farm animals, etc. He also helped my daughter and son-in-law a few times when they had issues with their plumbing, or needed something moved from one place to another with his truck. If the plumbing issue could not be resolved over the phone, he would come to fix or correct whatever the problem was… and of course, he would not accept any money, except if they had to buy parts. (He would sometimes accept food, though.)
I always enjoyed the family get-togethers and reunions, and talking to Ivan about his experiences on the job, about his background, and such things. He was unpretentious and humble, and you could talk to him about anything. Even iff he didn’t say much, at least you knew he cared and listened.
He loved his family and grandkids. They would gravitate to him. He’d always try to attend their sporting events or performances when he could.
He was not vocal about his faith, but you knew where he stood, and even by his actions one could see Jesus shining through him.
In essence he was a good man and loved by his family and community. Our world would be a better place with more Ivans, and he was taken home much earlier than anyone would have liked, only being 61 years-old.
Please remember Rita and the family, especially Rita, with the road ahead. In the proper time, there will be many issues to deal with in terms of the plumbing business, house, and many other things. None of the children lived very close… Mathew and family about 45 minutes away, and Megan and Kyle recently moved to Colorado.
Our son Josh came to be with us last Tuesday, just before Ivan passed away. We got the call after we were already sleeping. Cindy and Becki packed up and went up to Holmes County at 2:30am. They helped out with some of the initial planning, and then came back home the next day.
As we had planed earlier, their side of the family came to our place on Sunday afternoon, Christmas day. Ivan would have wanted it that way. Though some tears were shed, there was also plenty of laughter, as we talked and sometimes recounted some of the things we remembered about Ivan.
The calling hours were on Monday, and on Tuesday, the short graveside service (it was very brisk, maybe 1-2 degrees C. 33, F. ) Then, finally, the memorial service was held at the church they attended. It was all a fitting memorial, and we were glad we were here at this time. We wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else. We are left with Ivan’s good legacy and many precious memories.
I will try to tell you more about our Christmas, or at least post some photos, later this week. Tomorrow we’ll be going to my niece’s place in Cuyahoga Falls for our Aufrance Christmas celebration. Make it a great week, and Have a Happy and blessed 2017.