Thomas J. Kleis

[ Age 68 ] The printing executive headed Hopkins' publications office for 14 years.

October 28, 2006|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN REPORTER

Thomas J. Kleis, a retired printing executive and former Kent Island resident, died of pneumonia Oct. 18 at a hospital in Morgantown, W.Va. He was 68.

Mr. Kleis was born and raised in Annapolis, and he graduated from Annapolis High School in 1956.

He attended the Naval Academy and earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1963, and a master's degree in liberal arts from the Johns Hopkins University in 1980.

From 1963 to 1964, Mr. Kleis edited technical manuals for Vitro Laboratories in Silver Spring. In 1964, he joined Johns Hopkins, where he was assistant director of public relations for four years; from 1966 to 1968, he was editor of The Johns Hopkins Journal.

Mr. Kleis was director of the office of university publications at Hopkins from 1968 to 1982, and was editor of The Johns Hopkins Magazine from 1971 to 1973.

In 1982, Mr. Kleis left Hopkins and went to work as staff director of the U.S. Congress Joint Committee on Printing.

Mr. Kleis moved to Morgantown in 1987 and went to work for Creative Label Co. in Fairmont, W.Va., where he was vice president and general manager until leaving the company in 1990. The next year, he enrolled in West Virginia University's doctoral program in higher education, and also taught a course at the university.

In 1995, he returned to his love of printing and publishing when he took a job in the university's printing services division, where he worked until retiring in 2000.

Mr. Kleis was also a publications consultant to the Maryland Historical Society, the National Cancer Institute, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, American Land Trust of the Nature Conservancy, and several universities including Gallaudet College and Bucknell University.

Mr. Kleis was an avid reader and gardener.

"He spent countless hours on the home computer constantly dealing with the fun of desk-top publishing. His interest in publishing and printing never diminished," said the former Teri Gamble, his wife of 18 years.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. today at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, 200 W. Maple St., Linthicum.

Also surviving are a son, Kurt Kleis of Riderwood; two daughters, Karen Williams of Linthicum and Gretchen Holtman of Myrtle Beach, S.C.; two stepdaughters, Taressa Kilbourn of Pittsburgh, and Tarelle Amodio of Morgantown; and eight grandchildren. An earlier marriage to the former Neta Jan Hall ended in divorce.

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