Cover photo for John "Louie" Kleeman's Obituary
John "Louie" Kleeman Profile Photo
1938 John "Louie" Kleeman 2024

John "Louie" Kleeman

May 28, 1938 — June 26, 2024

Born May 29, 1938 as John "Louie" Kleeman, known to many as Louie. He went on to his eternal rest on Wednesday, June 26th, 2024. He was raised and lived his entire life in various locations throughout Lancaster City, Pennsylvania. 

At a young age, he started skating on the sidewalks of Lancaster with clamp-on skates. At 7, he began skating at Rocky Springs Roller Rink with his favorite girlfriend. (If you're reading this...remember 'Chances Are' And 'When is the twelfth of Never???) Having some employment, even at that early age, he had his own spending money and often took his girlfriends on the many rides at Rocky Springs Park.

At the early age of 11, Louie started working at the Lancaster Southern Market located at S. Queen and Vine Streets. At Southern Market he hauled market baskets and assisted market stand-holders with their produce, baked goods and other market items.

From 1955 through 1958 Louie was in the military and was stationed in Germany. He crossed the pond in a Gothels; a US Navy ship, one stacker navel cargo ship. The trip took 11 ½ days, which gave him and his comrades all day to play blackjack! When he arrived in Bremmerhaven, Germany; on his 18th birthday he had close to $800 from his blackjack earnings! From Bremmerhaven, it took until June 1st to reach their destination of Oberammergau, Germany. There, in Oberammergau, he purchased a 1938 BMW convertible with his blackjack proceeds. There were seven men in his particular company at Oberammergau. As a result of a smaller company, he had his own room, which included a large officers bed, rugs, drapes and a desk. He initially received the job of mail clerk which took up his afternoons. The rest of the day he was free to come and go as he pleased.

Following discharge from Germany and arriving back in the States, things didn't go well at all. His girlfriend didn't wait for him and his dog Corky wasn't there to greet him either. The minimum wage in the US was $1.00 and hour! The German money he exchanged was worth much more and he garnered $4.25 for each German 'dollar' he'd exchanged. He made his way selling cigarettes and booze on the black market, along with things he couldn't mention. Soon after, he went on to the National Guard for a year to keep his rank active so that he could return to active status if he chose. Shortly after he met someone and those plans changed as he eventually got married. Needless to say, his marriage went south as he found it difficult to settle down in to married life.

Following the National Guard service, he was employed by Reese Padlock and over the years work also at Cal-Dak, GG Schmidt and lastly, Hoyt Wire cloth. In 1996 Louie retired in full medical disability.

Louie was a 30 year life companion of Patricia 'Pat' Coffroad. The two lived together with their beloved dogs in the West End of Lancaster City. When the pair first met, their days were spent enjoying yard sales, flea markets at Adamstown and later the Saturday Market in Middletown. Pat passed away May 15, 2016, leaving Louie with their beloved dog Scruffy. 

While he was going to yard sales, he acquired a large toy collection of cars, trucks and buses. Many in his collections were rare which he sold at auctions, including the Pottstown. Others, he simply sold from his apartment. He often would also purchase Christmas collectibles which he sold at Shupps Grove.

Over the years, he had and loved many pets. Primarily, he had dogs of the Fox Terrier variety. Following his military service his first was Fluffy, then Troy which was a Dachshund, followed by Taffy and Gizmo a Shih Tzu. His most recent and last dog, Scruffy was a mix of Shih Tzu and Llahsa Apso. 

Throughout his life, Louie enjoy free time at a few Lancaster Social Clubs, such as the Hubley Club located on Ice Avenue. He was an avid collector and held a strong interest in cars. One could often see him driving around in his beautifully maintained Mercury. He was always interested in history and especially as it related to Lancaster City. Louie loved fishing and spent hours doing so in his youth and again following his military service. He fished regularly until the mid 1980s.

Who could possibly forget his Tiki bar, where he entertained his friends on weekends, holidays and other special occasions. He gives a special thanks to all the girls who shared his life. 

He traveled as much as he could; while still working. He once made a long trip up the Coast to Maine, then on to Nova Scotia and on up to Quebec. His favorite places were in upstate New York around the 1000 Islands and along the Hudson River. Much closer to home was Baltimore's Inner Harbor which he also loved. He enjoyed the water taxi in the Harbor and Tremont Plaza hotel. He often took the water taxi to Fells Point, where he enjoyed craft beer, fresh seafood and trout sandwiches among other things. This was in the late 1980s through 2001.

Louie had a love, passion and enthusiasm for automobiles. After the military service he first had a 1950 Packard. Later he had 3 different Thunderbirds, a Buick. He had many Mercury Cougars, including a 1951, 1953, 1957, 1978, and a 1979. He spoke often of a favorite which was a 1955 Ford Customline. Last of his beloved cars were a new 1979 Thunderbird and a rust free California 79, Mercury Cougar. He cared for the 79 Cougar so much that he took the effort to complete a full restoration on the vehicle.

In his passing, Louie leaves a daughter, grand daughter, nephew, grand nephew and grand niece. He was preceded in death by his sister, Pat.

Louie held a zest for life and often proclaimed “I do not welcome death; nor do I fear it. He planned to leave this last thought with all who take the time to read this: Waste not, want not, and please recycle! So Long!

In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift in John Kleeman's honor to the Pennsylvania SPCA.


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