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Robert J. Klein, engineer, Air Force vet, youth leader

March 8, 1946 – Dec. 3, 2015

Robert J. Klein, 69, of East Amherst, a building systems engineer, died last week while on a business trip in Chautauqua County.

Born in Buffalo, he was a 1963 graduate of Kenmore West High School and was captain of the swimming team. He earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering at the University at Buffalo and received his master’s degree in administration/management engineering from George Washington University.

A member of Air Force ROTC in college, he served in the Air Force from 1968 to 1977 and was with the Air Force Reserve for more than 20 years. A lieutenant colonel, he was stationed at Columbus, Ohio; San Antonio, Texas; and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., where he served in the office of an assistant secretary of the Air Force.

Returning to the Buffalo area, he joined his father-in-law, Edmond Babinsky, in his Amherst engineering firm, which became Babinsky-Klein Engineering in 1985. He served as president until 1997, when the company merged with Clark Patterson Associates, a Rochester architectural design and engineering firm. He continued as head of the Amherst office until 1999. In 2000, he became president of the New York Division of Invensys-Pritchett, a building system contractor. It was acquired in 2006 by the former Building Controls and Services, now SmartEdge, in the Town of Tonawanda, where he was serving as general manager for energy and commissioning.

Mr. Klein was a graduate of Leadership Buffalo and was former chairman of the board of directors of Gateway-Longview. He also was chairman of the Administrative Council and a youth leader at Williamsville United Methodist Church.

He traveled every year with this family to Hilton Head, S.C., and Walt Disney World in Florida. He enjoyed camping, golf and poolside reading.

Survivors include his wife of 37 years, the former Susan Babinsky; two sons, Christopher and Andrew; three sisters, Nancy Wright, Beverly Ryan and Deborah Flierl; and two grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. Friday in Lester H. Wedekindt Funeral Home, 3290 Delaware Ave., Town of Tonawanda.

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