Services will be held Tuesday, Nov. 4, for Case Western Reserve Assistant Dean Kenneth L. Klika, a stalwart supporter of the College of Arts and Sciences, undergraduate and graduate students, and the university’s rowing club.
Klika, who led space planning and facilities management for the college, died Friday after a brave battle against a particularly aggressive cancer. A Cleveland native, Klika served in the First Aircraft Wing of the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. He was a professor emeritus of the University of Akron and adjunct faculty of Case Western Reserve’s Department of Civil Engineering.
“Ken felt profound commitment to Case Western Reserve and the college. He loved being on a campus, being with students, and doing everything he could to improve our facilities and assist our young people,” College of Arts and Sciences Dean Cyrus Taylor said, noting among other activities his support for student veterans. “Whenever you asked him how he was doing, the answer was invariably the same: ‘Fantastic!’”
Klika’s position at the college involved addressing ongoing needs and providing the college’s perspective on major projects. A decade ago, for example, he played a primary role in the renovation of the first floor of Crawford Hall to host the SAGES Café and SAGES offices. Of late, he also represented the college in planning efforts related to The Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center at The Temple Tifereth – Israel. At the same time, was on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to facilities emergencies.
Taylor said he was a remarkable family man and friend, always willing to listen, encourage and support. “In my own case, he was an invaluable colleague and also a close friend and a great supporter of my ultra-running—spending many hours, day and night, often in terrible weather, making sure that I had what I needed to keep on moving. It was a great thrill for both of us when he advanced to competing in last April’s Outrun 24 hour trail race.”
The third and fourth titles Klika added to his Case Western Reserve portfolio were rower and faculty adviser to the university’s crew club. A latecomer to the sport, he embraced it with extraordinary enthusiasm and energy, taking to the water with students decades his junior and cheering them with vigor during regattas.
“His charisma, his energy, his enthusiasm for every aspect in life was infectious and inspiring,” Head Coach Aaron Marcovy said. “It was a joy and an honor to be able to work with him.”
Klika is survived by his wife, Patricia; sons Kenneth J. (Jennifer) and Kristopher; daughter, Kelly; and granddaughters Kate and Jill. The family will receive visitors from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3, at the Hilliard Rospert Funeral Home (174 N. Lyman Road, Wadsworth). Funeral services will take place at noon Tuesday, Nov. 4, at the funeral home, with Pastor Kevin Seager officiating.
In lieu of flowers, send donations to the Esther Ryan Shoe Fund at the Magic City Kiwanis or the Kenneth Klika Scholarship Fund at the Love and Hope Children’s Home (loveandhopechildrenshome.com).