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KLEIN, Ralph Phillip

November 1, 1942 – March 29, 2013

Ralph Klein, beloved husband of Colleen Klein of Calgary, passed away on Friday, March 29, 2013 at the age of 70 years.

Ralph was born in Calgary to Phillip Andrew Klein and Florence Harper. Ralph grew up in a working class part of Calgary. He joined the RCAF reserves, completing high school later in life, he attended Calgary Business College, and later served as president of that institution. Ralph later studied at Athabasca University. He was public relations official at Red Cross and United Way’s offices in Calgary from 1963 to 1969. From 1969 to 1980 he was a television reporter. Klein rose to public prominence in Calgary as a radio and television personality. He was the Senior Civic Affairs reporter with CFCN-TV and CFCN radio. Klein gained his first political experience when he was elected mayor of Calgary, Alberta, on October 15, 1980. While he was mayor, the city was enjoying an economic boom, attracting many unskilled labourers from all over the country. Calgary hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics during his tenure as mayor. Ralph Klein was elected leader of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party on December 5, 1992, and became the Premier of Alberta on December 14, 1992, and he was re-elected in 1997, this time with 51% of the popular vote and winning 63 of the 83 seats in the legislature. He got his highest amount of support ever in the 2001 election, winning 62% of the popular vote and 74 of the 83 seats.

Ralph holds the Order of La Pléiade from the Assembly of La Francophonie, and has received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002, the Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005, He was made an Officer of the Legion of Honour by France in 2008 and was appointed to the Alberta Order of Excellence in 2010, and an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from University of Calgary in 2011and most recently, The Order Of Canada and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

Besides his loving wife Colleen, Ralph will be lovingly remembered by his children Teresa, Bradley, Angela, Christine, and Lisa, ten grandchildren and five great grandchildren, his father Phil Klein, brother Lynn (Sharon) Klein.  Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com.

In living memory of Ralph Klein, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES Park Memorial Chapel, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Calgary, AB, T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Al Fraser and David Hook :

    The St John Council for Alberta expresses its sincere and deepest condolences to Colleen Klein and family on the passing of Premier Ralph Klein. Ralph was an Officer of the Order of St John and on behalf of the Order in Alberta and the 2500 members of St John Ambulance throughout the province we express our regret on his passing. We want to acknowledge Premier Klein’s lasting impression on the Order of St John in Alberta and will forever hold him special in our organization.
    Al Fraser, Chair-St John Council for Alberta
    David Hook, CEO- St John Council for Alberta

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  2. Douglas McKinnon :

    He was a great man and fantastic speaker.

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  3. I am from Ontario and never had the privilege of meeting Ralph but I always held him in high regard. He reminded me of an ordinary guy – a guy you could have a beer or two with and not feel out of place. His down to earth folksy personality made him very likeable. Yet when I watched him on TV he certainly spoke his mind and made sure Alberta was being given a fair deal by Ottawa. He was a great Canadian. To his family and the people of Alberta please accept my sincere condolences. My prayers and thoughts are with you.

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  4. You allowed me to trust in politicians again. G*D bless you, your family and your great province of Alberta. You will be missed.

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  5. Marney Burchill :

    Dear Colleen,

    Although Ralph has been out of public eye for many years now, he has never been out of our hearts. He leaves behind a legacy and a rich heritage for all Albertans. He was not a perfect man but he was honest in the way he lived and the way he conducted business. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Love you Ralph, rest in peace.

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  6. My deepest condolences to Colleen and family. I always had huge respect for Ralph . He was a great Mayor, Premier and a great Albertan. And only a few knew how warm he could be and how much he cared for people. Hi Ralphy, was the common call from common people on the street to a common guy.

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  7. chubb richards :

    Always loved Ralph’s railroad talk referring to c-train, and the opening of a new pool in calgary, where ralph would jump in ……..what a great man thanks for all greatness King Ralph we loved you………..with all respect to the family in their time of sorrow.

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  8. Shari Lynn Gelinas :

    My deepest sympathy goes out to you. He was the only politician that I truly respected & admired.

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  9. Honourable Nick Taylor :

    As a political brother in the early seventies then on opposite sides from the eighties on I never lost respect for you and your uncanny ability to read the public’s mind.
    Rest in Peace and my condolences to the family

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  10. He will be missed as he was definately a man for the people

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  11. Laurina & Garry Milne :

    We will miss RPK. His spirit lives on in us. The families can be mighty proud. R.I.P. Ralph.

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  12. Hank and Vicki Vandenberg :

    Our deepest sympathy goes out to Colleen and her children. Ralph was a great mayor and a wonderful premier. We will never forget him. Rest in Peace Ralph

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  13. A true man of stature that will be missed. Least we forget but he will be in our hearts for generations to come.

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  14. Lena Running Rabbit :

    Ralph Klein was certainly one of a kind. An individual one can relate to as a friend. He was given his name “Blue Bird” by my late Grandfather Joe Cat Face and was an adopted son to Joe and Annie Cat Face. My condolences to Colleen and his children from one of your Siksika Nation adopted family members…..Lena and Arnold Running Rabbit and family. Go Rest High on the Mountain Ralph.

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  15. Gordon Turtle :

    My deepest condolences to Colleen and all the Klein family. Ralph’s passing is a tremendous loss. I had the honour of working in his office when he was Premier. I have so many warm and treasured memories of the man. He was so humble, so kind, so friendly, so down-to-earth. All of his staff loved him as a boss and a friend. And his legacy is unmatched. Rest in Peace, Ralph Klein.

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  16. Debra Harris :

    Thanks for making our province the best in the country. You will be greatly missed!!

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  17. Neil A. MacDonald :

    Thank you Ralph. RIP. My sincerest condolences to the Klein family.

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  18. myrna O'Connor :

    DEAR COLLEEN & ALL FAMILIES
    Our deepest Condolences to you. Ralph was a wise, honest politician. His true intelligence diplayed when he admitted & or apoligzed for his mannerism..Quite frankly he was Right. Also the only Mayor, Premier Or Politician that we trust.
    Our Prayers & thoughts are with his family
    Sincerely Murray Johnstone & Myrna O’Connor

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  19. Renee Hamilton :

    Sending prayers and love from Ontario to my Aunt Colleen and my cousins we love u xoxo… RIP Uncle Ralph

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  20. Dear Mrs. Klein and family:
    My sincere condolences and deepest sympathy in the loss of a dear husband, father and grandfather; The world was a better place because of Mr. Klein and it is the world’s loss that he has now been called Home. And now, may the God of all Comfort uphold you and strengthen you in the days ahead and may you know that Peace that passes all human understanding.

    Thank you Mr. Klein for all your years of selfless public service.

    Very sincerely,
    Sharleine M. Haycock
    Belleville, Ontario

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  21. Cheryl and Blake Weatherhead :

    I remember my dad always telling me what a “stand-up guy” Ralph Klein was. He produced the button for Ralph’s political campaigns (Diz’s Button Factory). Ralph Klein had a place of honor in our family. He will be greatly missed. Deepest condolences to all family and friends who will be missing this wonderful man.
    With respect and admiration from Cheryl & Blake Weatherhead, Kamloops, B.C.

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  22. George McCoy :

    I am sorry to hear of Ralph’s passing. A lost Albertan now rests in peace. Life will never be the same without Mr. Klein. He will now be with the angels.

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  23. Jack Van Norman :

    I had the honor to meet Ralph at a testimonial dinner in Slave Lake several years ago. When I was introduced to him he spoke to ME – not over, through or around me but to ME – I will never forget that personal touch. He made me proud to be an Albertan and a Canadian. He will be forever remembered and sadly missed.

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  24. I am honored to have Ralph Klein serve as my Mayor and the Premier of Alberta. I pray for his journey to be safe and that he rejoice in Heaven with his family that has passed on. My prayers to Colleen and her family.

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  25. Dear Klein Family:
    I remember a time when I had got the chance to meet Mr. Klein and he talked to me like I was person not just somebody. I will always remember Mr. Klein from his humble days as a reporter and on to be our mayor and the our premire of Alberta. Not to many wonderful men like Mr. Klein could do what he has done and he will sorely be missed. May God be with Mrs. Klein and family as you go through this time of sadness. God Bless You all. Mr. R. Klein Rest In Peace. From a true Albertan who beleived in Mr. Klien. Thanks for all did for our city and province.

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  26. Wendy Ivanchuk :

    I am saddened to hear of Ralph’s passing. He was a great man and a much loved Albertan and will be greatly missed. RIP Ralph.

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  27. Les and Alpha Harper :

    Ralph was a great man. Inspite of his personal challenges he accomplished great things and made our province and Canada a better place to live. Thank you Mr Klein You have lived a great life.

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  28. Alanna White :

    Prayers & thoughts to the Klein family. God be with you now and have everlasting life in the Garden of Eden.

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  29. Laurae Topott :

    Sorry to hear of his passing I remember Global news coming in to the hospital abd wanting to know why I didn’t call my daughter King Ralph 18 years ago. He was what made Calgary God Bless.

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  30. Condolences to the Kleins, you have so much to be proud of and we hope that eases the pain of your loss. Mr. Klein shaped our city and his legacy will live on long beyond any of us. I only wish he could have taken his leadership to a national level our country would have been all the better for it.

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  31. Linda macKeigan :

    As a native Calgarian, he made our city, then he made our province. He was a special person in all our hearts.

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  32. Mrs A de Klerk sr :

    May the Lord give you strength to go on from here. Your husband was a great man.

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  33. If it weren’t for Premier Klein, I would not have found my birth family. He opened the adoption laws which were closed. Rest in peace kind sir. You did your best.

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  34. Barb and Ken Fischer :

    Condolences to Colleen and family. Mr. Klein will be missed by so many. He was a great man, a great politian and a great people person. We are proud to live in ‘his’ province! May he rest in peace.

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  35. Madeleine King :

    I want to offer my warmest condolences to Colleen. You have been a 100% champion and there couldn’t be a more warm and caring person than you. I remember with fondness our connection through your interest in the Children’s Cottage and then our meeting with the aboriginal youth involved in Youth for the Future. Many wonderful things have been said about Ralph, and there is still a lot more that could be said. Although I represented a different vision of Alberta’s future I was grateful for Ralph’s continuing personal warmth. I admired and respected him most for his belief in people. Like many right-wing politicians he reduced the scope of government; what made him so successful and beloved was that he trusted people’s ability to fix their own issues effectively, so it was natural to him to hand them the power. One of my favourite memories was when a Lethbridge professor was very critical of some policy of Ralph’s, and very vocal with quite a following; Ralph invited him to a meeting, and then persuaded him to head a committee, choose the members and report back to Ralph on the best way forward. A marvellous example of turning enemies into friends! His other great contribution to Alberta was to bridge the divide between right and centre, and urban versus rural – his was a big tent.

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  36. Danielle Spencer :

    To Mrs. Klein and family, I offer my thoughts and love as you journey through this difficult time. May your memories give you joy and help to heal your hearts. Calgary, Alberta and Canada has lost a true and honest soul. He is forever in our hearts.
    Sincerely, The Spencer-Thul Family

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  37. Janis & Gary :

    Our sincere condolences to Mrs. Klein & family. Our political system could use more individuals such as Ralph Klein. His perserverance & dedication to the City of Calgary & the Province of Alberta was admirable. For all of those naysayers, no one comes close to accomplishing what Ralph did. God bless you Ralph & your family.

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  38. Margaret Graham :

    I am sorry for your loss. He will be lovinging remembered by so many and never be forgotton. My thoughts and prayers
    are with you and your family

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  39. Andrew leicht :

    Sorry about Ralph Klein passing.

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  40. I grew up In Calgary in the 80’s. My family moved back to Denmark In 1989, and although I was a child In the 80’s I remember Ralph Klein. He was a person who left his impression on people and now as an adult I am still fascinated by his way of being a politician. I wish the world had more of his type.

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  41. Dalia Majumdar :

    A Great Leader of Alberta,
    You will be missed forever! And You will always remain in our hearts. Deepest condolences to Your family, Sir !

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  42. To Mrs. Klein and family, Alberta lost a great leader and go forward man. My sincere condolences.

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