Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lynn Geyer remembers Bernie Klein

Bernie Klein passed away on March 15, 2009, having been in recovery from a massive heart attack. Lynn Geyer, president of the Catholic Association of Music, fondly remembers Bernie and all the tireless work he did for Catholic Music. Ed.

Bernard Joseph Klein died on Sunday, March 15, 2009. He was born May 25, 1945 in Bogotá, Colombia to Leticia Velandia Klein and the late Henry Charles Klein. He was a resident of New Orleans for most of his life before moving to Mandeville in 1987. The beloved husband of Judy Landrieu Klein, he is survived by two sons, Christian Bernard and Benjamin Joseph Klein; four daughters: Kerry Lynn, Kara Christine, Alexandra Carle and Gabrielle Reider Klein; his brother, Henry L. Klein; one sister, Hedy Klein Boelte; three grandchildren: James Gabriel Hicks, Kaylie Elizabeth and Emily Kristina Klein and his daughter-in-law, Lisa Vineyard Klein. He was preceded in death by his son Marshall Bernard Klein, the son of Marsha Rector Klein.

Relatives and friends of the family are invited to attend the funeral mass on Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 11:30 AM from Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, 312 Lafitte St., Mandeville, LA 70448. Visiting hours at the church will begin at 10:00 AM. Interment will follow services at the Benedictine Cemetery on the grounds of St. Joseph Abbey. E.J. Fielding Funeral Home of Covington, LA has been entrusted with arrangements. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Comunita Cenacolo America, 1050 Talleyrand Ave., Jacksonville, FL 32206. Sign the family Guest Book online at

Remembering Bernie Klein
Lynn Geyer, President, Catholic Association of Music (CAM)

Well, Bernie’s gone. I am so very sad because, while I only knew him for 3 or 4 years, I think I knew him as well as any music/business friend I’ve ever had. I really believe he was a closet New Yorker. He handled himself with self assurance that may have bordered occasionally on arrogance. But nobody really cared; he was Bernie. He had a terrifically wry sense of sarcastic humor and had NO trouble telling anybody exactly what was on his mind. He could temper it and be diplomatic if he knew that was how the game needed to be played but mostly from what I knew, he shot straight from the hip.

He would get a huge kick out of the fact that all these years I thought he was around 10- 12 years younger than I am. You cannot imagine my surprise when I learned just yesterday that he was 3 years older! He didn’t have a lot of hair :o) but he was so young at heart it made him ageless. He must be laughing at how he had me fooled.

He worked very hard for his daughter Kara’s music ministry, devoting most of his energy to her recordings and videos. He knew she was the real deal. He worked tirelessly to produce top quality projects and then even more tirelessly, to get Kara and her songs “out there”. He always spoke warmly about his daughter and how remarkable he thought she was. He was as proud as any Dad could be.

About 2 weeks prior to Kara’s 2007 performance at Carnegie Hall Bernie had a heart “episode” and landed in the hospital. It was decided a stent would be inserted. Instead of
resting, Bernie came north with his entire family in tow and spent Christmas in NY. Did anyone think for one second that he would not be sitting in the audience to see Kara sing at Carnegie Hall? From the stage Kara paid a moving tribute to her Dad and his resolve, dedicating Ave Maria just to him. Everyone blessed to be there was moved. He spoke of it repeatedly as one of the happiest moments of his life.

He rose to every occasion, offering unconditional unpaid assistance to those who needed his business acumen. He offered to host the 2008 Unity Awards Show in New Orleans and in typical Bernie style, made it his own. In the ten year history of the UCMVA, this was the best attended and most successful of all. He was hoping to convince the Board of the UCMVA to hold the event every year in New Orleans and generously volunteered to head it up forevermore. He spoke to me on numerous occasions of having the CAM conference tie into the event. He believed offering the 2 events as one would really help develop a more positive focus on Catholic music. Always thinking, always striving to make things better.

In our faith we know Bernie’s absence from us is temporary and we also know, according to God’s word, that all of Bernie’s work here on earth was finished. God would not have taken him otherwise. In the sorrow of loss and missing him we have that beautiful and certain ray of light that shines: “I’ll see you later”. Bernie is rejoicing in Heaven with his son, Marshall, and all the angels and saints. He is healthy and enjoying his new life!

Good old Bernie, snuck around to the front of the line, getting to Heaven first, carving a path for the rest of us to follow when our work here is also through. Thanks for everything, Dear Friend; we will all miss you but look forward to seeing you again! And next time it’ll be forever!

1 comment:

Nancy Krebs said...

Thanks Lynn for such a moving tribute. I had never met Bernie, and now I feel as though I have. Does anyone have a photo of him that we could post? I may have seen him, and just not had the opportunity to actually speak to him at one of the Unity Awards ceremonies.

Nancy <><