John James Klein

October 10, 1951–November 11, 2023

John J. Klein “Coach Klein”, 72, of Laramie passed away November 11, 2023 in his Cheyenne home surrounded by family. He was a beloved coach, teacher, mentor, friend, hunting buddy, husband, animal whisperer, dad and grandpa.

John was born October 10, 1951, in Wheatland, WY to Viggo Klein and JoAnne Atkinson.

John was an exceptional athlete in his former years with a true passion for ski racing.  After graduating Laramie High School in 1970 he competed collegiately on a national stage.  Following his heart (and true passion) he married the love of his life, Katherine Waggoner on June 6, 1972.

An exceptional, self-taught carpenter for many years, John built houses, decks, and beautiful furniture. He fashioned many cherished projects from loose materials lying around. Leaving his wood craft in 1993, John went back to school at the University of Wyoming studying Secondary Education and becoming a P.E. teacher at Laramie High in 1999.

On weekends you could find him in the mountains hunting, fishing, camping, and exploring the Snowy Mountains on his four-wheeler, followed by a Sunday spent at home surrounded by pets, family and friends cheering for the Broncos. His kids came first in his life, and he loved traveling the western states watching them compete in their various athletics.

Preceded in death by his parents and brother Leslie, John is survived by his wife Kathy, daughter Marti, son Kipp (Gelsey), eight beloved grandchildren; Tannon, Riley, Kaelin, Peyton, Bode, Cruze, Flynn and Brecken, his sister KathyJo Burns and many loving nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, raise a toast to this great man. Celebration of life will be Sunday, November 19 at the Hilton Garden Inn, Laramie, 3pm – close.

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Condolences (25)

  • Larry and Marian

    Kathy and family we were so very sorry to hear about John’s passing. May he rest in peace knowing he was well loved. God bless.

  • Kelly Collini and Jim Covell

    John was the best man at our wedding. He was the best man, because he was the best man! When we shared the sad news of his passing, the first words we heard from everybody we spoke with were, "he was a good man!" Kind, unassuming, humble, always ready to lend a helping hand and funny too. John had a great sense of humor. While watching our wedding video, John kept saying, "what is that shining off my head?" "What is that shiny spot on my head?" And we finally had to break the news to him that the sun was reflecting off his bald spot- we laughed so hard we cried. John was Jim's good friend for many years, having met when Jim tried to move into their side of the duplex. They spent many seasons together at hunting camp and John never let Jim forget about his Texas heart shot. Apparently, this is an arrow up the behind of, in this particular case, a big deer! So many shananigans ...neighbors and friends, Jim has always said that John was a stellar individual and simply just the best friend, dad and later, teacher. Both of our grandchildren spoke about how John supported them, especially our grandson, Luke who said, John was a port in the storm as he was a young person trying to find his way in life. We feel fortunate to have known such an incredible man and will keep fond memories of him in our hearts forever. We send our love and deepest condolences to Kathy, Marty, Kipp, and the grandchildren who will miss John so much in the coming days. Stay strong, love, one another and know that there are so many who loved your dad, your hubby, and your grandpa.💔

  • Victoria A Brown

    I am so sorry to hear about John. Prayers for him and all of his family.

  • "bear"

    Aw, John....I so recall you from earlier times in high school....see you now lifting that inner ski on a sharp slalom turn, on those super stiff Kniessel red stars.....and those really beautiful cowboy boots that your dad Viggo carried in his store.....which made me collect MY 16 pairs of exotic boots years later. I miss your slow drawl of an answer and warm smile when there were funny moments. Rest well, ski hard and catch big trout and huge antlered game.... ralph jhonson jr.

  • Tom and Linda Martin

    John, May you be in meadows filled with Royal bulls and ski slopes with no end. Rest well my friend.

  • Lou Millán

    Kathy, Marti and Kipp, I am so sorry to hear about John's passing. He was a great guy! He will surely be missed by his family and close friends. May he rest in peace.

  • Mike Comly

    Kathy and family. I am sorry to hear about John. I have known the both of you since the 1960's . John was such a good kind person with a golden personality. My thoughts and prayers are with you more than you will know.

  • Trish and Nora

    Uncle John was a great uncle who was kind, supportive, and fun. I loved spending time at his Elk Camp as a teenager and listening to his bow hunting stories. My daughter still has the Momento box that he made and gave her when she was a little girl and after all these years it is still beautiful. He had a positive influence on everyone he 's met and that is a rare talent. We are sorry for your loss.

  • Raymond Candelaria

    Kathy, saddened by John's death. He's one of the persons in my life that I really respected and called a friend. Had a lot of good times with you two in the past, when I was a young man. May he rest in peace. Raymond

  • Anonymous

    Dear Kathy and Family, John was such a soft-spoken, gentle man. He always gave the warmest smile when you'd see him. A very dear friend to many. It was always a good day when I saw him. I especially enjoyed our younger days, growing up together, skiing, laughing. One of my favorite memories was when Kathy and I lived together after high school and you and John were dating. You always kept me laughing! Love and Prayers to you and your family. Joean Lankford

  • Tom and Linda Martin

    John, May you be in meadows filled with Royal bulls and ski slopes with no end. Rest well my friend.

  • Kay Kohler

    Dear Kathy & family, I am so sorry to hear of John's passing -- many fond memories from when you worked for Pav. You are in the prayers of many. Fondly, Kay

  • Ann Benson Palomba

    So sorry for your loss. My memories of John on skis spans two generations. He was a positive influence on my family. He will be missed.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Kathy, Marti, Kipp and families, I’m sorry to hear about John…he will long be remembered by so many. His quick smile and laughing eyes brought joy to so many. He was so supportive of our kids’ sports whether it was volleyball with Marti and Robynn, soccer with Kipp and Brian, or skiing for Jay. I’m thankful for his role in their lives. My heart goes out to each of you.

  • Anonymous

    Kathy, I am sorry for your loss. John was such a great man. Gloria Stoddard

  • Karen Throp

    Dear Kathy, Marti, Kipp and families, John was one of the gentlest, sweetest men I have ever met. He graced this world with a smile on his face, a twinkle in his eye, a beer in his hand, and an abundance of love in his heart. Rest easy. You will be missed. Karen Rachou Throp

  • Casy Murdock

    John was the kindest soul with a heart of gold. I have so many great memories with John, Kathy, Marti, and Kipp. Growing up, the Kleins would let me tag along to go camping, fishing, and shooting the cross bow (and bow and arrows). I loved staying in their camper and going up to their property in the mountains. It was always a pleasure to get to hang with the family! One fun story in particular, has a lot to do with Marti but John and Kathy's reaction was priceless.... Marti had just gotten her driver's license and John and Kathy asked her to go get gas in one of the vehicles. Kathy handed Marti a $20 and told her to put 20 in the tank. When Marti returned, she had a funny look on her face, so Kathy asked what was up also while asking for any change. Marti explained that she put the entire 20 in the tank. What she mentioned thereafter will have you laughing.... Marti explained that the gas spilled out until she finally stopped it when it hit $20. Marti explained that she was told to put 20 in the tank, so by gosh, all 20 was going in! John and Kathy had the best belly laugh when Marti pleaded her story. They didn't appear to get angry, they simply laughed. Great memory and even better remembering how John and Kathy reacted. John and Kathy are epitome of love and kindness! Rest well dear John, your memory and legacy will live on! Casy

    • Anonymous

      Oh my dearest, most cherished friend, we have been together since kindergarten and you know everything about me! How this made me LAUGH and cry! How could I have forgotten this?! I remember it plain as day now! Thanks for sharing my blonde moment with everyone here! It’s hilarious! You might as well know, I still do stuff like this all the time! Some things you NEVER grow out of. Love you dearly! Thanks for writing in!

    • Anonymous

      A true blonde! Thank You Casey!



  • Terrialee Lankford

    We will miss our good friend’s slow talk, twinkling eyes, and warm hugs. We will remember the great hunts in the Snowy Range, setting the camp on Gold Run Creek, and later the camper on Middle Fork and Cinnabar Park. We will remember the Great Sheep Mountain hunts that were always successful!! We will remember the football games and Budweiser!! We will hold John’s true friendship in our hearts forever. Love for Kathy, Marti, Kip, and all the wonderful grandchildren! Karl and T-Lee Lankford

  • Brad and Terri Jones

    Kathy, KathyJo and families, John was indeed truly milti-talented, a loving family man, true friend and a man's man. We will all miss John and his sweet ornery smile. He is free, riding on the wings of the wind, skiing the clouds and hunting in the cosmos. My God bless John, his family and many many friends.

  • Randy & Pam Moulton

    Randy and I are so sorry to hear of John's passing. He was indeed a truly great man. Sending our sincere condolences to you Kathy and your entire family.

  • Kimberly D Viner kim

    Kathy and Klein family. Very sad to hear about John's passing. I certainly know how hard this had been and will be going forward.

  • David Johnson

    So sorry to hear about John’s death. I remember him fondly from our days at Harmony School. RIP, John. David Johnson, Poughkeepsie, NY


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