Jonas B. Klein


FALMOUTH – Jonas B. Klein, 84, passed away peacefully on Friday, Jan. 5.

He was born on Jan. 20, 1922, the son of Joseph B. and Rose Stone Klein of Boston, Mass.

He attended Brookline High School and Thayer Academy in Braintree, Mass., where he was an outstanding varsity football, basketball and baseball player. He later attended Syracuse University, where he excelled on the varsity football and swimming teams. He graduated from Syracuse in three years, so that he could enlist in the Army when World War II broke out. Shortly after landing on France’s Omaha Beach with the 23rd Infantry, he was wounded and subsequently awarded the Purple Heart.

When he returned home from the war, he joined Stride Rite Shoe Co. of Boston, and later worked for the Saxe Glassman Shoe Co. and Songo Shoe Co. before founding Eastland Shoe Corp. of Freeport, in 1955. Eastland grew to include Westland Shoe Corp., of Biddeford, Northland Shoe Corp. of Fryeburg and Eastland Shoe Corp. Lisbon Division of Lisbon, employing more than 800 people.

He knew the names and life stories of each and every employee at Eastland. A patriot, who was loyal to the families who depended on Eastland for their livelihoods, he fought valiantly to keep manufacturing jobs in the state of Maine. He was proud to participate in Eastland’s 50th birthday celebration in December 2005.

In recognition of his contributions to the state of Maine, Gov. Angus King proclaimed Jan. 20, 1997, Jonas B. Klein Day. In 1998, he received the 1st Circle of Excellence Award from the town of Freeport, an honor awarded to “an individual who has substantially contributed to the quality of the town in the areas of job creation, employment retention and growth; economic development and diversity; and who has contributed to the economic well-being of a significant number of Freeport citizens.”

He was first and foremost, a family man. He met his loving wife Phyllis at the age of 16, and they were happily married for 63 years. He was called “Pop” by family and friends. He was a lifelong athlete who loved golf, and he was a proud member of the Portland Country Club and The Fountains Country Club of Lake Worth, Fla.

He is survived by his beloved wife, Phyllis Slater Klein; a daughter, Jeanne Klein Kleinman, and her husband, Daniel E. Kleinman, of Hartford, Conn.; a son, James B. Klein, and his wife, Bonnie S. Klein, of Cumberland Foreside; five grandchildren, Jonathan Kleinman, and his wife, Kirsten, of Jackson Heights, N.Y., Rachel Adams, and her husband, James Adams, of Long Island City, N.Y., Joshua B. Klein of New York, N.Y., Jesse B. Klein of Chicago, Ill. and Jordan B. Klein of New York, N.Y.; and three great-grandchildren, Joseph Kleinman, Jack Adams and Eva Rose Adams.

He was predeceased by his parents; and sister, Ruth Klein Wolfson.