Services for Bob Klose, a veteran newspaper reporter and editor who firmly believed in journalism’s ability to connect local communities to the broader world, will be Saturday afternoon in Santa Rosa.
He was 75 when he died last Nov. 21 after a year-long battle with cancer.
For the last 25 years, he and his spouse, former Press Democrat columnist Susan Swartz, lived in Sebastopol where both spent their retirement years remaining active in local organizations. Klose was an early supporter of newspaper publisher Rollie Atkinson’s efforts to reinforce local journalism through community support for the Sonoma West Times & News.
“Bob was one of the very first people I contacted to get feedback on our 2018 campaign for community investors in our local newspapers. I knew he'd give me an honest answer but also knew he would try be as encouraging as possible,” Atkinson said. “Come to think of it, that’s a perfect definition for the kind of journalist I think Bob was — a very passionate observer.”
Klose spent much of his newspaper career at the Press Democrat where he worked as a reporter, news editor and editorial writer. He devoted his free time to his family, writing short stories and volunteering for causes needing his media expertise.
“Along with everyone else, I share my sadness at Bob's passing,” said Robin Pressman, former KRCB radio manager for whom Klose often volunteered at the public radio station. “What a lovely man. A man of letters, of service, of friendship, of and for his community.”
During retirement, Klose was a public relations consultant for several nonprofits, including the Volunteer Center, Roseland University Prep, Redwood Empire Food Bank, the Community Foundation of Sonoma County and Becoming Independent.
“For the past 20 years, Bob has been my go-to-encyclopedia of Sonoma County history and its human story line,” said Belinda Fernandez, owner of Studio B Creative, who worked with him on nonprofit agency projects. “Bob personified the old school reporter who didn’t want any of the limelight — or to add his layer of opinion — he just wanted to dig deep and tell the truth to the best of his ability.”
He also found time to drive for the Ceres Community Project, the Sebastopol nonprofit that delivers meals to home-bound seniors and disabled people.
During a two-year leave of absence in the early 1990s, he worked as a reporter for Stars and Stripes, the newspaper based in Darmstadt, Germany, which covers the U.S. armed forces, and later for Radio Free Europe in Munich.
“As a journalist he was unusual, a skeptic with a streak of optimism, a combination revealed in his writing,” said George Manes, a longtime friend who worked with Klose at both the Press Democrat and Stars and Stripes. “His skills as a reporter were remarkable, his research and sourcing impeccable.”
He was born in Albany, Calif., attended the University of Kansas for a time, started as a reporter at the Oakland Tribune and later as an union organizer for the Newspaper Guild that represented employees at East Bay newspapers. He began working for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat in 1970.
In addition to his spouse, he is survived by daughters Gretta Klosevitz and Jenni Klose, both of Santa Rosa, and Samantha Swartz of Petaluma; brother Donald Klose of Point Richmond and sister Stephanie Klose of Woodland. He also leaves three grandchildren.
The public is invited to a celebration of his life on Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Glaser Center, 547 Mendocino Ave. in Santa Rosa.
His family suggests memorial contributions to the Sonoma County Medical Association Alliance Foundation Health Careers Scholarship Program, P.O. Box 1388, Santa Rosa, Ca., 95402.