Peter Luther Kline

Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Juneau resident Peter Luther Kline died of respiratory arrest following successful heart surgery, Nov. 3, 2009, in Seattle. He was 74.

Born July 6, 1935, in Wellsboro, Pa., he was the son of Eugene and Martha Mae Kline. He was raised in Morris, Pittsburgh and Jersey Shore, Pa. He graduated from Jersey Shore High School in 1953.

He served with the U.S. Army in Korea from 1954 to 1956. In 1959, he earned his degree in business administration with a major in accounting at Bucknell University at Lewisburg, Pa.

He was employed by Price Waterhouse & Co. at all levels from staff accountant to senior accountant in the audit department from 1959 to 1964.

When given the choice of transferring to Washington, D.C., or Washington state with the firm, (and with the knowledge that a road had been punched into his favorite remote fishing hole,) he chose to move west with his family. When he was sent to Southeast Alaska to perform audits for fish canneries, he discovered his new home. He always declared that it was the chance of his lifetime when he was invited to join the accounting firm of William J. Schmitz in Juneau in 1965.

He and Bill were partners in Schmitz and Kline for almost 20 years, splitting the partnership only when he left Juneau in 1984 to run the Glacier Bear Lodge in Yakutat.

He was a dedicated certified public accountant and advisor to his clients and often traveled throughout Alaska for them. Only once did he take the phone off the hook and lock it in his desk drawer before heading out the door, presumably for the Triangle Club. He returned to Juneau in 1988, after his extended tour in Yakutat, continuing his successful practice from the kitchen counter of his Douglas home.

His love was the family cabin on the Taku River. He and his family and friends spent many weekends on the river, almost always following the rules of river which are: "Never run the river when you're drinking and never run the river after dark."

It brought great joy to him to take people trout fishing and river running. Somewhere he kept a mental photo album of the many surprised looks on his passengers faces as they realized that they were in fact, going to jump over a beaver dam. Pete and Jeanie, his wife and cabin partner, recently built a new cabin to enjoy the river without the company of mice, mosquitoes and wind blowing through the cracks.

During his 40-year Juneau residency, he served on several boards of directors for local corporations, was appointed by Gov. Walter J. Hickel and reappointed by Gov. Bill Egan to serve on the State of Alaska Board of Public Accountancy from 1967 to 1975, and served on the local advisory board of National Bank of Alaska (Wells Fargo) from 1967 to resignation in 1984.

He also served as chairman of the Golden North Salmon Derby for two years, and was a member of the Elks and Moose clubs. One of his proudest accomplishments was when he was elected by unanimous vote to honorary membership in the Juneau Volunteer Fire Department in 1984.

He is survived by his wife, Jean Burrus Kline; daughters, Phyllis Mayer; Lin and husband Vance Nichols; Karen and husband Greg Haynes; and stepsons Terry and wife April; Ken and Jeff Grummett, sisters Karen and husband Don Strang, nephews Donald and wife Dawn, David and wife Marilee, and Peter and wife Jenny, all of Cleveland, Ohio, and niece, Allison and husband Brent Shaw of Washington, D.C. Eleven great nieces and nephews in Cleveland and Washington, D.C.; grandchildren Jason and wife Anna, Sean, Kelsie, and Katie Mayer; Peter Haynes; Michael and Abby Grummett.

Contributions in memory of Pete may be sent to the Douglas 4th of July Committee, P.O. Box 240765, Douglas, AK, to provide for the prizes for all the children who take part in Fourth of July festivities, or to Juneau Hospice and Home Care, 419 Sixth Street, Juneau, AK.

A gathering for family and friends will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov.14, at the Twisted Fish. Pete stories will be welcome.

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