Mary Ellen Briggs Klein, 80, died at home on August 14, 2020 after a long illness. She was the wife of Frederick H. “Fritz” Klein, Jr. with whom she celebrated almost 59 years of marriage.
Her entire life was a love story. She was born in Jacksonville, FL and was the beloved only child of C. Hendry “Harry”and Georgeanna H. Briggs whom she adored.
The different seasons of her life - in Wyomissing, Oley, Southern Shores, NC, Bonita Beach, FL, and on trips all around the world were filled with friends and love.
She delighted in her roles as wife, mother, and grandmother, at which she excelled. Her children had an exceptional childhood because of her encouragement and sense of fun, and her devotion to her grandchildren was special for each one of them.
She graduated from Exeter High School in 1958 where she was the May Queen and voted “Best Dressed”, a source of amusement for years to come. She cherished her high school friends and looked forward to their get-togethers.
She attended Kutztown Teacher’s College, the beginning of her lifelong role as the diction and grammar police. Shortly thereafter she met and married Fritz Klein, and they built a life full of family, friends, and sunshine, and they traveled the world together. Their love story is a wonderful model of devotion and happiness. Her support in the building of C.H. Briggs Company created connections with employees, customers, and vendors that are warmly remembered.
Mary Ellen could make a lifelong friend during an elevator ride, and loved to be with friends old and new. She was committed to helping others and did so throughout her life in ways large and small. Her wonderful memories include time with her bridge group, the “Jr. Rotary” and Junior League, and she was committed to Safe Berks and Planned Parenthood. She worked for racial justice and friendship in Reading in the 1970s and was a longtime member and Deacon of First Presbyterian Church.
Mary Ellen loved the beach and loved to drive (fast), and although she never cooked, she was a spectacular hostess, throwing parties for all kinds of celebrations. She always found four leaf clovers and sand dollars, and went out of her way to share her good fortune with others.
Her sense of humor was infectious and intact until the end of her life. She loved bright colors, always voted blue, had a smile that could stop traffic, and a famous whistle that often did. Johnny Mathis music and wonderful conversations were constant pleasures in her life. She was engaging, vivacious, limitlessly kind and generous. Her highest compliment was to call someone “jazzy” and among her many “Maryellen-isms” is the entreaty to keep “movin’ and groovin’” and “onward and upward.”
Her family thanks the many care givers, nurses, therapists, and doctors who provided extraordinary care for the past 5 years.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by her children Julia H. Klein (Eric Jenkins) and F. Hunter Klein (Melissa), and grandchildren Ethan Klein Jenkins, Cecilia Muzika Klein (Forrest Minteer), Veronica Witte (James), Carlie Capanna, Madeline Klein, Jack Klein, and great granddaughter Lorelei Ellen Witte.
A Memorial service will be scheduled when it is safe to gather. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, please remember Maryellen at Safe Berks, Opportunity House, or Planned Parenthood.
Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home, Inc. is handling arrangements. Condolences may be expressed at www.kuhnfuneralhomes.com.