Remembering Michael Klein.
Santa Barbara is mourning the tragic death of prominent businessman Michael Klein, 37, and his daughter Talia, 13 (pictured above). Michael, Talia, and her best friend, Francesca Lewis, were visiting Michael’s eco-resort at Islas Secas, a chain of islands 20 miles off of the west coast of Panama. Their chartered plane crashed into the Baru volcano, Panama’s tallest mountain, in heavy weather on December 23. The Panamanian pilot, Edwin Lasso, also died in the crash. Francesca Lewis was the lone survivor.
Michael’s keen intellect and prodigious talents were evident at an early age when he graduated college at 17 and subsequently simultaneously earned an MBA from Pepperdine University and a JD in law from Santa Barbara College of Law. By the time he was 30, Michael had sold several major businesses, one of which was, eGroups Inc. the world’s largest e-mail communications service . Michael was recognized as the California State Legislature’s Entrepreneur of the Year, the South Coast Business & Technology Entrepreneur of the Year, Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 500, Software Magazine’s Software 500, and Deloitte & Touche’s Fast 50. At the time of his death, Michael was CFO/CIO of the Pacificor hedge fund in Santa Barbara and sat on the board of directors of multiple corporations.
In addition to his tremendous success and business acumen, Michael was an avid pilot, passionate outdoorsman and conservationist, and adoring father to Talia. From the early years of being involved with Indian Princesses to Talia’s recent Statewide Competitions in equestrian events, he was always there enjoying Talia’s successes. He loved his ranch and enjoyed jogging on the trails with his dogs. He was especially proud of his large organic avocado orchard that allowed him to contribute healthy avocados to the public. He had a special love for the people of Panama and for the Islas Secas Islands where he spent many of his happiest days. His grieving family and friends will miss his wonderful sense of humor, warm smile, loving nature, and incredible charisma.
Michael was the grandson of Max Klein who pioneered the paint by numbers business in the 1950’s, and he is survived by his father, Dr. Robert Klein and his wife Lynne Cantlay, his mother, Anne Klein Cover and her husband Bill, his sister Linda Klein and her husband Jim Matlock and their daughter Catalina, his grandmother Amy Klein, his grandfather Abe Greenberg, his widow Robin Deshayes Klein and his ex-wife Kim Klein, who is the mother of Talia.
In lieu of flowers his family requests that donations be made to Doctors without Borders www.doctorswithoutborders.org/donate/, and to the Ocean Conservancy at 1300 19th Street, NW, 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20036, Attn: Amelia Montjoy .
There will be a celebration of his life for family and friends on Monday, January 14, 2008 at 11A.M. at Skofield Park.