Earl Kleckner


Earl E. Kleckner of Waubeka was perhaps best known as “The Fire Extinguisher Man,” his daughter Deb Jacoby said.

Mr. Kleckner owned and operated Kleckner Fire Extinguisher Sales and Service in Waubeka for more than 30 years, servicing Ozaukee County businesses from Cedarburg north.

“He built it from virtually nothing to a lucrative business,” his daughter said. “He must have had a vision. He bought a couple tanks from a man in Port in 1972 and built up the business.”

Mr. Kleckner took on the business while he was working full-time as a machinist for Simplicity Manufacturing in Port Washington, his daughter said.

“This was a pastime to begin with,” she said, noting her mother Mary Jane helped operate the company. “It grew into a full-time business.”

Mr. Kleckner sold the business around 2005.

She attributed her father’s success to his work ethic.

“He was a very hard-working man,” she said. “He taught us to work hard, too.”

Mr. Kleckner, who was a firefighter and officer with the Waubeka Fire Department, also believed in giving back to the community, she said.

Mr. Kleckner died of complications of diabetes Wednesday, Jan. 30, at Village Point Commons in Grafton, where he had lived for the past six weeks. He was 88.

He was born in the Town of Belgium on Dec. 15, 1930, the son of John and Catherine Schumacher Kleckner.

In his youth, he worked for the Wisconsin Chair Co. in Port Washington, C. Reiss Coal Co. in Sheboygan and Power Products in Grafton. He also worked in the Milwaukee yard for the Chicago Northwestern Railroad and built silos.

During the Korean War, he was a staff sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving from October 1951 to October 1953. He then served in the Marine Reserves until 1959.

Mr. Kleckner was proud of the fact that, despite the fact he had only completed eighth grade, he was sent to the Marine College because of his aptitude for mechanics and engineering, his daughter said.

On Feb. 23, 1952, he married Mary Jane Wach of Waubeka at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Fredonia.

Mr. Kleckner was a member of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 1430, a past commander of the Warren Kane American Legion Post 410 and a longtime parish member and usher at St. Rose of Lima Church.

Mr. Kleckner and his wife enjoyed traveling throughout Wisconsin and the United States, and as they traveled they added to their collections of cookie jars and clocks.

“They rummaged and went to estate sales and auctions, collecting everywhere they went,” their daughter said. “That was their hobby, collecting.”

Mr. Kleckner’s collection was sparked by a German cuckoo clock owned by his parents, she said.

“Everybody loved that clock,” she said. “He would buy clocks that weren’t working and tinker with them and get them going.”

Mr. Kleckner gave each of his children a cuckoo clock, she noted, and each of the grandchildren also had a clock from him.

He also collected Jim Beam decanters, she said.

In the 1970s, Mr. Kleckner and his wife also valued the time they spent at the cabin they bought in Mountain in the 1970s.

Their daughter described Mr. Kleckner as an outgoing man who “had a joke to tell all the time.”

“He was the jokester in the crowd,” she said. “He was a happy guy, a pretty incredible guy. He loved his collecting and tinkering, but he cherished his grandchildren.”

Mr. Kleckner is survived by his children, Dennis (Peg) of Sturgeon Bay, Colleen Pflug of Green Bay and Deb (Dale) Jacoby of Random Lake; grandchildren Amanda Jannene, Nicole Martin, Samantha Brown, Jason, Justin, Kevin and Tom Kleckner, Josh Pflug and Nathan Jacoby; and four great-grandchildren.

He is further survived by his sisters Lorraine Large of Port Washington and Eleanor Prom of Belgium.

In addition to his wife Mary Jane, who died on April 1, 2016, Mr. Kleckner was preceded in death by his son Timothy; son-in-law David Pflug; brothers Henry and Robert; sisters Marie Kleckner and Rosemary Petesch; brothers-in-law Donald Large, Richard Prom, Henry Petesch, Edward Wach, Aloys Wach and Clarence Spies;  and sisters-in-law Myrtle Kleckner, Agnes Wach, Armina Wach and Loretta Spies.

A Mass of resurrection will be celebrated at noon Saturday, Feb. 9, at Divine Savior Catholic Parish, St. Rose Chapel in Fredonia. Father Todd Budde will officiate.

Visitation will be held from 9 to 11:45 a.m. Saturday at the church.

Interment will be at St. Rose of Lime Cemetery in Fredonia.

Memorials to a charity of the donor’s choice are suggested.

Funeral arrangements are being handled through Poole Funeral Home/Crematory in Port Washington.




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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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