Thomas Cragg Klute, age 99 1/2, died October 27, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri, following a short illness.
He was the only child of Forest E. Klute and Florence Cragg Klute.
He is survived by his oldest son Robert Klute (Carol Schoeffel), and his daughter Ann Brinker (Ron), and three wonderful grandchildren: Mike Brinker (Elizabeth Finger), Tim Brinker (Adrienne Novelly) and Amanda Brinker. He is great-grandfather to Margot Novelly Brinker and Luke James Brinker. He is also survived by his cousin Jacki McIntyre Williams (Rich) and their daughters Debbi Bushman and Sheri Isenberg.
He was predeceased by his wife of 39 years, Eleanor Lyans Klute in 1985 and his second wife of 21 years, Irene Thomas Klute, in 2015. His son Thomas Forest died in 2012.
Tom was born on March 9, 1920, in Fort Wayne IN, and his parents moved to Richmond in 1928. He graduated from Morton High School (Richmond High) in 1938 and Earlham College in 1942. He served in the Army Air Force from 1943 to 1946, as part of the 15th Air Force in Foggia, Italy. In 1946 he married his college sweetheart, Eleanor, who also served in the Army Nurse Corp stateside.
Tom studied oil painting in his youth and continued to paint until his son Bob started playing with his oil paints. He acted in the Richmond Civic Theater and loved playing tennis, which he continued until he was 90 years old. He won a lot of points with his backhand drop shot. An avid fisherman, he also loved family lake vacations. In his later years, his passions included poker, cribbage, playing his harmonica, and making people smile.
Immediately after the Army, he worked at the family Klute and Sons Funeral Home, then as a draftsman at Richmond’s National Automatic Tool Company until he retired in 1984. In retirement he took up oil and watercolor painting again and was active in the Richmond Kiwanis Club. In 2016, he moved to St. Louis to be close to his daughter and son. He made many new friends at Westview Assisted Living Community. His ever-present smile and kindness will be missed by family and friends.
Services for Thomas will be held at 12:00 P.M. on Thursday, November 7 at Riggle-Waltermann Mortuary, 32 South Eleventh St., Richmond, Indiana. Pastor Ed McFarland will officiate. Burial will immediately follow at Lutherania Cemetery, 2000 Liberty Ave., Richmond, Indiana. Family and friends may call from 11:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. on Thursday, November 7th at the funeral home.