Winifred Ruth “Winnie” Klear, 96, died Sunday, May 3 at Menno Haven in Chambersburg. She had suffered from Alzheimer’s for several years.
Winnie was born December 22, 1923 in West Carrollton, OH to Charles W. and Catharine (nee Prether) Oberer. Her mother died when Winnie was four; she and her older brother Jim were raised by her father and his extended family. Winnie graduated from West Carrollton High School in 1941. While there, she played tuba in the marching band and cello in the orchestra.
Winnie joined the Women’s Army Corps in April 1945, serving at posts in Iowa, Texas, and Japan. While in Tokyo on the staff of Far East HQ, she met the man who would become her husband of 69 years, Robert M. “Bob” Klear. They both left the Army in the summer of 1948 and were married on September 23 in her hometown. They settled in the Dayton suburbs and began to raise a family.
Bob was called back to duty during the Korean War and decided to make the Army a career. Winnie became an Army wife, herding the kids to various posts in Kentucky, New Jersey, Germany, and Virginia. She held down the fort during Bob’s two tours in Korea and one in Vietnam, and watched her two oldest sons go to Vietnam as well. She kept the family stable in northern Virginia while Bob went off to his final post in central Alaska before retiring at the end of 1971.
After another 18 years in the Washington, DC area, while Bob served as a US Capitol Police officer, Winnie and Bob moved to Woodstock, VA for a long, well deserved retirement. They entertained children, grandchildren, and eventually great-grandchildren. As Bob’s eyesight faded, Winnie worked his favorite crossword puzzles with him, reading him the clues and writing down the answers.
By 2016, age and infirmity had caught up to them both, and they moved to a senior home in Chambersburg, where some family was near at hand. Bob died in 2017, but Winnie continued to receive regular visits.
Winnie was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, and her brother. She is survived by her four children, Robert S. (Vickie) of La Mesa, CA, Douglas (Teresa) of Shippensburg, Randy (Barbara) of Norfolk, VA, and John (Terri) of Knoxville, TN; a brother-in-law, Lee Steffler (Lorraine) of Fombell, PA; six grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren (with one on the way), and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
After cremation, Winnie’s ashes will join Bob’s in a single urn. Funeral services are on hold due to current medical conditions. Interment will take place on a future date at Sunset View Memorial Gardens, Woodstock, VA.
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