Jeannette M. Klingler

Date of Birth

August 15, 1916

Date of Death

September 2, 2018

Jeannette M. Klingler, of Santa Barbara, CA, died on Sunday, September 2, 2018, at home with her daughters and grandson, George. She was 102. Born on August 15, 1916 in Tarentum, Pennsylvania to Nathan Wendell Leek and Emma Trimble Turner Leek, her brother Nathen Wendell Leek, Jr., “Buddy,” came along fifteen months later. In 1918, the family moved to Goshen, Indiana, where her parents set type at the Goshen newspaper, and the family joined the First United Methodist Church.

Jeannette received a fine musical education and was an outstanding pianist by the age of eleven, winning many solo competitions. A graduate of Goshen High School, she attended Oberlin College, where she met Albert Klingler, a clarinetist. She graduated with a degree in piano performance in 1939 and added an education credential from Goshen College in 1940. Jeannette and Al were married September 7, 1941 and moved to Chicago where they taught music. After Al’s service with the official Army-Air Corps Band in Washington D.C., the couple traveled throughout the country as Al obtained 1st chair clarinetist positions for winter symphony or summer festival seasons. Jeannette performed in recitals with many symphony musicians and taught piano.

Jeannette and Al settled in Los Angeles in 1948, Jeannette serving as the music director of the Christian Church in Reseda and Al playing for numerous television and movie studios and orchestras and bands. They joined St. James Presbyterian Church in Tarzana where they were avid participants in the music program. Jeannette maintained a large group of private students and anchored many chamber music evenings in their home. Jeannette began teaching 1st grade when Al’s death in 1966 was imminent. She taught primarily at Glenwood School in Thousand Oaks and retired in 1984.

Upon her retirement, Jeannette moved to Santa Barbara where she joined First Presbyterian Church and served as an elder, with the music program, and in creating crafts with her beloved craft group. She finally got to take up quilt-making—taking every stitch by hand—and became an avid counted cross-stitcher.

Throughout her life, the piano and the music she created with it were great sources of inspiration for her. When in sadness, joy, confusion, or loneliness, her life and faith were renewed by going to the piano and playing Beethoven, Bach, Chopin, Brahms, Debussy, and the great hymns and sacred music that she loved. She was always rejuvenated by this practice, her vision and heart being made whole again. She also loved to give her interpretations of the great composers to those who enjoyed her playing.

Jeannette is survived by her daughters Linda Coe (Frederick) and Helene Gardner, all of Santa Barbara, grandchildren George Coe of Santa Barbara, Sean Gardner (Helena) of West Chester, Pennsylvania, Molly Ferro (Mark) of East Lyme, Connecticut, and Jessie Gardner-Lewis (Cameron) of Queensbury, New York and great grandchildren Tobin and Jude Gardner and Miles Ferro. She was predeceased by her brother, her husband, and her granddaughter, Kimberly Coe.

A graveside burial service at Oakridge Cemetery in Goshen, Indiana is planned for Tuesday, September 11, 2018 at 11 a.m. A musical memorial is planned for First Presbyterian Church in Santa Barbara, California at 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 23, 2018.

Arrangements entrusted to McDermott Crockett Mortuary.


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