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Monsignor Stanley H. Klein, retired chaplain <br> April 30, 1919 -- March 25, 2006

Monsignor Stanley H. Klein, a retired U.S. Air Force chaplain, died Saturday in St. Francis Home, Williamsville, where he resided, after a brief illness. He was 86.

The Buffalo native graduated from East High School, Canisius College and Christ the King Seminary.

Monsignor Klein was ordained Sept. 21, 1944, in Buffalo by Bishop Joseph A. Burke.

From 1944 to 1951, he served as assistant pastor at several parishes in the Buffalo Diocese, including St. Lucy, St. Florian, Assumption and St. John Gualbert.

In 1951, Monsignor Klein went on active duty as a chaplain with the Air Force. His overseas assignments included postings in London and at Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Vietnam.

In a December 1970 letter to Bishop James A. McNulty of Buffalo, he talked about being "reasonably secure" at the air base, located near Saigon. Monsignor Klein often put himself in harm's way in his efforts to serve the men and women on the front lines of the war.

"He felt very privileged to be able to serve their religious needs and to boost their morale," said Virginia Smaczniak, one of his nieces. "He was military all the way. He always stuck up for the military."

At many of his Air Force assignments, wherever Monsignor Klein was stationed, he would take up collections and send the contributions to Christ the King Seminary or other educational institutions in the Buffalo Diocese.

For his service, he was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster.

Monsignor Klein was named a Prelate of Honor by Pope Paul VI in 1972. He retired from the Air Force in 1979, when he moved back to the Buffalo area.

Monsignor Klein was a member of Pvt. Leonard Post Jr. Post 6251, Veterans of Foreign Wars.

He had lived in St. Francis Home for the past five years, celebrating Mass for his fellow residents.

Survivors include a sister, Marie Belter of Cheektowaga.

Monsignor Klein's body will lie in state from 9 to 10 a.m. Tuesday in St. Josephat Church, William and Peoria streets, Cheektowaga, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 in the church. Bishop Edward M. Grosz will preside.

Burial will be in St. Stanislaus Cemetery, Cheektowaga.

[S/WATSON]

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