Leroy Willie Klinger was born on April 29, 1920 to Ernst Klinger and Frieda Koch Klinger near Albert, TX, just 7 miles west of Blanco. Leroy grew up on the farm and attended the McKinney School near Albert through the eighth grade. He worked on the family farm as well as on neighboring farms. To better himself, Leroy enrolled in aircraft maintenance classes, which proved to be very valuable when called to duty in 1942 to serve in the US Army during WWII. Leroy was inducted at Ft Sam Houston and underwent training at several posts in different states. Leroy was assigned to an Armored Division as a tank mechanic, as the tanks at that time had the same aircraft engine in them he had attended classes on prior to being inducted.
His Army tour of duty took him to posts scattered from Pennsylvania to the deserts of California. Eventually he was shipped to England for the staging of the D-Day invasion. Leroy’s outfit moved ashore in France at Omaha beach on D+19 days. His unit was involved in many notable battles including Normandy, northern France, Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge), Rhineland and Central Europe.
Leroy was assigned to the G32 Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Division and would tell you very quickly to not confuse his outfit with General Patton’s 3rd Army. At one time, Leroy had been retained at a field medical facility for treatment for Shingles and his unit moved on. Ten days later, Leroy had the “opportunity” to join Patton’s 3rd Army, which had moved into the area but thought better of it and lit out to catch up and rejoin the 3rd Armored Division. Leroy finished his Army requirements with a rank of Tech Sergeant and was discharged in 1945.
Shortly after returning from the war, Leroy married Grace Harlow on June 4, 1946. Leroy and Grace lived in a small house beside the bowling alley for three years. During that time, Leroy began working for a building contractor and participated in the building of the Blanco High School. With the skills learned working for a contractor, Leroy built his own home in Cibolo, TX in 1949, where he continued to work in the construction field.
In 1953 an opportunity to work at the Pearl Brewery in San Antonio became available and Leroy started on a new career. This career continued until his retirement in 1983 after 30 years of service with Pearl.
During his time at Pearl, some life-changing experiences occurred. In early 1963, his wife Grace passed away due to cancer. Later in the year, Leroy remarried and instantly had a family. His new wife, Helen Louise Moellenberg Mueller (husband deceased), had two daughters, with the older one just entering her teens. The two girls, Jeannette Marie Mueller and Esther Louise Mueller, certainly made life interesting for Leroy. It became even more interesting when, on July 11, 1972, a baby boy, William Leroy Klinger, was born to Helen and Leroy.
The family grew and eventually the girls married. Then the world for Leroy changed further when his son William Leroy Klinger passed away in January, 1993. Life was very different then and Leroy spent even more time than before maintaining his yard and tending his pecan trees, some of which he had grafted to produce some excellent pecans which he shelled, cleaned and supplied to friends and neighbors. Leroy was a very meticulous person with all things in the proper place and things done in specific orders. His methods may have seemed extreme to some at times but the results were always spot on.
Helen and Leroy enjoyed many things together including old time Polka dances, with the Bay City Dutchmen being their favorite band. They also had a keen interest in Genealogy and the preservation of family cemeteries and burial sites scattered about Blanco and bordering counties. Leroy had a special talent of documenting these sites by “witching” to detect the site of a grave; he could even determine the sex of the deceased with uncanny accuracy. He also very much enjoyed sharing his stories and the events of his life with most anyone interested in the Blanco County area history. Leroy once told a grandson “I realize that, while I can no longer serve my country in uniform, I can still serve those who are looking for someone to listen to.”
In 2004, another tragic event occurred when Helen passed away from a form of bone cancer. Leroy continued on his own with his yard and pecan crops until his declining mobility made it difficult to get around and perform these activities. However, Leroy was still able to live on his own and be relatively independent until just short of his 92nd birthday when a medical event required hospitalization and subsequent stay in a care facility until his death on 5/13/2012.
Leroy Willie Klinger was preceded in death by his parents Ernst Klinger and Frieda Koch Klinger, his brother Gilbert Klinger and wife Wanice Klinger, wife Grace Harlow Klinger, his son William Leroy Klinger, granddaughter Veronica Lynn Mayer, and wife Helen Louise Moellenberg Mueller Klinger.
He is survived by his two girls Jeanette Marie Mueller Mayer and husband Alan (Dan) Mayer, Esther Louise Mueller Cartwright and husband Phil Cartwright, six grandchildren, Michael Cartwright, Greg Mayer and wife Katy Mayer, Steven Mayer and Christi, John Cartwright and wife Lauren, Timothy Cartwright, Heather Cartwright and Adam, and two great-grandchildren, Austin (son of Michael Cartwright) and Tyler (Son of Heather Cartwright).
Serving as Pallbearers, as they did for their grandmother Helen, are Michael, Greg, Steven, John, Tim and Heather, with Austin and Tyler serving as Honorary Pallbearers for Leroy.
Visitation was held Wednesday evening from 5:00 to 8:00 PM at Crofts Funeral Home, Blanco. The funeral service will be 11:00 AM Thursday, May 17 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Blanco. Burial will follow in the Blanco Cemetery.
Memorials may be given to Trinity Lutheran Church.