Thomas O. Kleiner died unexpectedly from natural causes in Warren Twp., NJ on Dec. 24, 2020 at the age of 72. He was known by those who loved him dearly as Tom, Dad, Gramps and occasionally some nicknames that shall remain censored.
This isn’t going to be a normal obituary. A man driving a red Miata while sporting a receding hairline and a flowing silver fox ponytail certainly deserves a different tribute.
Dad was authentic. He genuinely cared for people and made a true effort to get to know them. If you asked him for his opinion, you would get it. No sugar coating and maybe more straight talk than anticipated.
Dad was so much fun to be around – quick witted, sarcastic and full of pranks. Jokes were often inappropriate and sometimes immature. He absolutely loved holidays with family and always kept the mimosas flowing. Dad had such a kind smile as he looked up from his glasses. There was something so special about him.
Dad accomplished so much over the years, serving in the Air Force during the Vietnam War, running an award-winning pool business and opening his own CPA practice in Watchung. Despite crashing his stunt kite numerous times and cursing profusely, he was a member of the American Kite Association.
Several years ago, he retired to further enjoy smoking cigars, watching reality TV and spending time with his family.
He is survived by his wife Helen, daughter Jill DiGrazio, son-in-law Jamey DiGrazio and twin granddaughters Jillian and Juliette, all Millington, NJ residents, as well as his sister Abigail Alcott of Lakewood Ranch, FL and his brother Dan Kleiner of Springfield, MA.
Some of his qualities could be really annoying at the time. Looking back at it now, though, his irreplaceable quirkiness makes him even more missed.
My dad would have wanted everyone to smile – and even laugh – as you remember him.