Joseph "Joe" Paul Klotnia, with a twinkle in his eye, was born August 14, 1934 in Chicago Illinois and passed peacefully from this world and onto the next on Friday evening, July 16, 2021 with children Diane and Douglas, and son-in-law Kevin by his bedside. Joe joins his wife of 61 years, Audrey Helen Klotnia (nee Lee) in heaven along with his parents, brothers Andrew, Albert, brothers- and sisters-in-law, and lifelong friend Richard Giltner. Joe and Audrey were married at St. Michael’s Chapel in Toronto, Ontario in August 1959. Joe is survived by his six loving children and their spouses: Paul and Alison, Diane and Kevin, Jean and Ray, John and Laura, Maureen and Chris, and Douglas and Lisa along with his twelve loving grandchildren: Katie, Ryan, Hannah, Erin, Frances, Aaron, William, Milena, Paul, Georgia, Audrey and Eleanor. He is also survived by his beloved big sister, Helen and sisters-in-law Jean Catton and Sue Klotnia, along with his dear friend Dianne Giltner, and nieces and nephews throughout the US and Canada.
Joe, born in Chicago, Illinois, was the third of four children to Andrew and Mary Klotnia and brother to Andrew, Helen, and Albert. He graduated from Tilden Technical High School in 1952. Shortly thereafter he joined his father’s employer, Crane Co., as a clerk in their engineering office, where his intelligence and keen wit garnered encouragement from management to seek higher education. Bolstered by that encouragement, Joe volunteered for the US Army, and then, with GI Bill in hand, earned his BA from the University of Illinois / Chicago’s Navy Pier and Urbana-Champaign campuses in 1959. On August 15 of that same year, he married his best friend and life-long partner Audrey. Over the next decade they welcomed the arrival of their six children.
In 1961, Joe joined the purchasing department of International Harvester (IH) where he spent the majority of his working career until 1987. During that time he earned an MBA from the University of Chicago Business School. At IH, following a particularly successful cost efficiency study, Joe and his business associates, Larry Mortel and Bob Collier, were asked to deploy that same efficiency program throughout IH’s European subsidiaries. In 1987, Joe and Audrey moved to Dayton OH, where he worked for Mead Paper Company, Hobart Brothers and finally Fidelity Investments until his retirement in 1999.
Away from work, Joe enjoyed a full life with a great love for family, friends, the Catholic Church and God, and above all else, his wife, Audrey. Other passions included evenings spent in his woodshop, jaunty 3 mile neighborhood jogs with Audrey, organizing the next coupon bonanza or 9 holes of golf at Cherry Hills Country Club with life-long friends Rich and Dianne. Many of these events often ended with a cold Czech Pilsner and hot Aurelio’s pizza (no mushrooms!) Family camping trips to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and on the shores of Lake Michigan in Manistee were another pleasure of Joe’s along with countless tours of the Air and Space Museum in Dayton, OH.
Retirement was anything but for Joe (and Audrey.) Taking up musical instruments, the clarinet and flute, respectively, brought them into the public eye with community band concerts via the University of Dayton New Horizons Music Program. Joe became fully engaged attending and then organizing bi-annual reunions for veterans of the 928th Engineer Aviation Group. Through that endeavor, he even co-authored a book with John Barton memorializing his military friends entitled, Colliers End Camp: . . . a SCARWAF Shangri-La for the 928th Engineer Aviation Group.
Throughout life’s pleasures and pains, Joe’s great wit and wry sense of humor propelled him forward with enormous dignity and grace. We miss him terribly, but knowing that our mother has been reunited with her love is a wonderful condolence to all of us who knew and loved them both.
Visitation will be held on Tuesday, July 20, from 3:00pm to 7:00pm at Davenport Family Funeral Home and Crematory, 149 W. Main St. (Lake-Cook Rd.), Barrington, IL. A Mass will be held at St. Anne Catholic Community, 120 N. Ela St. (Corner of Franklin and Ela Sts.), Barrington, IL at 2:00pm on Wednesday, July 21. Interment will be held at Evergreen Cemetery, Barrington, IL. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to: Catholic Charities USA, www.catholiccharitiesusa.org or the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance, www.daytonperformingarts.org/donate.
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