Klova Gene Beck, 84, of Walla Walla, passed away on Feb. 16, 2013, at his home. A celebration of life will be held on March 9, 2013, at 1 p.m. at Assumption Church Parish Hall, 2098 E. Alder, Walla Walla. Memorial contributions may be made to the Walla Walla Sweet A’s Model A Club, Walla Walla Historical Auto Club, The Honour Project in care of Amvets, or a charity of one’s choice through the Munselle-Rhodes Funeral Home, 902 S. Main Street, Milton-Freewater, OR 97862.
Klova was born on Jan. 28, 1929, in Lewiston to Ehrman B. Beck and Alma Clark Beck. He attended schools in Lewiston and Sandpoint, Idaho; Flora and Joseph, Ore.; Anatone and Walla Walla. Klova graduated from Walla Walla High School in 1947 and briefly attended the University of Idaho. He then worked for Convoy Trucking Company for two years and eventually joined the Navy in 1950.
While in the Navy, he attended Airman Preparatory School, Aviation Electronics School, and Trademan School in Memphis, Tenn., where he graduated third in his class. He was transferred to Whidbey Island Navy Base and taught instrument flight using flight simulators. He was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1954 and returned to Walla Walla. In 1955, he re-enrolled at the University of Idaho utilizing the G.I. Bill.
Klova met Charmaine Rivers in 1955, and they were married in 1956 in Walla Walla. After their marriage, Charmaine transferred from Whitman College to the University of Idaho, and they both graduated in 1960 with degrees in education. Klova was a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. Both he and Charmaine were active with the U of I Rodeo Club with Klova serving as president during the time the college rodeos were held in Pomeroy.
In the summer of 1960, Klova accepted a position at Pleasant View School District in Milton-Freewater. He was the seventh-eighth-grade teacher, principal-superintendent, and coach. This career choice became the love of his life and he totally devoted himself to his students’ successes and achievements. He spent his entire career at Pleasant View School, regretfully retiring from education in 1988.
In 1964 Klova joined the Elks Club and became a life member of the Milton-Freewater Post #2146. He and his family were active in the Pioneer Posse, and he served as president and vice president during these years.
With retirement came the chance to again pursue his love of flying, which started when he obtained his first pilot’s license at Martin Field while in high school. He bought a Piper Cherokee and hangared it at the Walla Walla Airport. Many happy, cherished hours were spent flying his plane. Often these flights included Charmaine, children, grandchildren and friends. Unfortunately, after many health issues, he could no longer fly his plane and it was sold. This sad event became a happy one with membership in the Walla Walla Sweet A’s and the Walla Walla Historical Club. He spent many wonderful hours touring with his 1930 Model A Roadster and 1951 Lincoln Cosmopolitan Convertible, participating in parades and going to car shows.
Klova was dedicated to his family, spending the early years on the road with Charmaine and his daughters traveling to 4H shows, barrel races, and winter trips snowmobiling in the Blue Mountains and Yellowstone Park. Later, Klova and Charmaine enjoyed wonderful trips with their grandchildren on “grandparent” field trips to museums, historical sites, ball games and amusement parks throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Klova is survived by his wife, Charmaine; daughters, Marne Jorgenson, Jaclyn and husband Carl Culham, Andrea Beck; grandchildren, Michael and Jacob Hales, Taylor Hof, Casey Jorgenson and Casey Culham and his wife Danielle; first cousin, Gary McFetridge; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; and sister, Norma Snow.
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