Obituary: Adeline Klima, 1926-2022 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Adeline Klima, 1926-2022

Beloved mother of five laughed "like a songbird" and left a legacy of kindness

Published November 25, 2022 at 6:00 a.m.
Updated November 25, 2022 at 4:00 p.m.

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Adeline Klima - COURTESY
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  • Adeline Klima
Our mother, Adeline Francis Klima, was born in 1926, in Oil City, Pa. This was a beloved place, and she returned summer after summer to be with her grandmother and aunts. We have many tales from her time spent there — stories about her favorite aunt, Tilly; steep, slippery hills; invisible yet visible ducks; invisible yet visible relatives; and the sweetest, tiniest grandmother in the whole wide world.

Our mother was born with flaming red hair. Her parents feared she would be full of the devil with hair like that, so they shaved her head and hoped it would grow back a bit less fiery. Superstitious? Absolutely, though we are certain it didn't help one bit, because our mother maintained her fabulous red mane and her feisty nature throughout her entire life.

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Our mother was deeply religious. So religious, in fact, that she considered becoming a nun in the Catholic church. Instead, she chose to marry and raise a family, saying she picked the more difficult road. That was most likely true, because she married my dad, Leonard Klima, who was no saint! She raised five children, and we all know that is not easy to do. She did an exceptional job teaching us the lessons of life, living and love.

Our mother was an artist. She was drawn to beautiful things. She especially loved listening to the Italian composer Mantovani in the evenings. On family drives when we were young, our mother taught us to see, calling us
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 to Look, look out. See the brilliant blue sky with those ice cream castle clouds, the bursting green leaves unfurling in the spring, the glowing red and orange hues of the autumn landscape. Look, see. This is beauty.

Our mother was a voracious learner. She took many evening classes, learning how to hand-color black-and-white photographs, arrange flowers, decorate cakes and, most importantly, paint. She would put us to bed and then set up her easel in the kitchen, mastering oil painting, acrylic painting and watercolors. She was motivated and tenacious.
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 She exhibited her work many times and glowed when she won awards. She was proud. She painted until her eyes failed and she could no longer see.

Our mother was fashionable and elegant. Her clothes needed to match, her lipstick needed to be on, and she always wore coordinated earrings. She used lotions and perfume daily and maintained her signature copper red hair. If you knew her, you knew this.

Our mother was delightful. Her sparkly green eyes and genuine laugh filled the room with joy. Humor and delight became her approach to life. Her laugh was like the song of a bird, full of a rich emotional intelligence and there for anyone ready to listen.

Our mother was loving and kind. In fact, this entire piece could be written about her kindness. This is her gift, and it gave her purpose. She was kind to her family, she was kind to her friends, but most importantly she was kind to strangers. This is something all of us know about her. This is what endeared her to so many. But this mission of hers, to offer compassion and solace in a sometimes painful world, this was her legacy. And, ironically, this links us right back to her beginning, when she was deciding between the convent or the conventional path. Did it really matter which direction she chose? In fact, it didn't, because wherever she went, there she was: kind, loving, gentle. Selfishly, though, we are so glad she chose this path, because here we are and we were loved by her.

Our mother left behind her five children: Paul Klima, Sandy Klima, Mark (Sharon) Klima, Judy Klima (Anna Thelemarck) and Tim Klima; her seven grandchildren: Jessica (Scott) Sattler, Jamie (AJ) Aponas, Kaitlyn (Dave) Mariano, Morgan and Mitchell Klima, and Anders and Jakob Thelemarck; and her three great-grandchildren: Adalyn and Brianna Sattler, and Zoe Aponas. Unfortunately, she left us before she could greet her newest great-grandson arriving in December, Manuel Leo Mariano. She is survived by her youngest sister, Gerry Ciurczak, as well as many nieces and nephews.

We extend our sincere thanks to Burlington Health and Rehab, who cared for her this past year, along with those at Griswold Home Care, especially Laurie Farnsworth. A shout-out to Hazel Wasmund, Lila Lehman and Lisa Scofield for befriending her and making her so happy.

In her honor, and as a balm to this often painful world, remember to keep an eye out for beauty, be loving and kind (especially to strangers), and laugh like a songbird, often and beautifully. 

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