Thomas Dicker Klein, 80, of Bowling Green, Ohio passed away on Friday, September 30, 2022. He was born on October 25, 1941 in Chicago, Illinois, to Ruth and Milton Klein. Tom is survived by his loving family, his wife of 44 years, Dianne, his son David Singer, his daughter-in-law Jennifer, his two grandchildren, Jacob and Eleanor, and his brother, John and John’s family.
All his adult life, Tom devoted himself to teaching and his students. First, as a high school teacher at Evanston High School in Chicago, and then as a Professor of English at Bowling Green State University, where he taught for more than 30 years.
Anyone who knew Tom — whether as a student, colleague, or friend — knew that he was passionate about and committed to being an educator. In so many venues and in so many ways, Tom lived to promote the empowerment and well-being of others by challenging his students to read and think about ideas, experiences, and people who were not a part of their immediate, day-to-day lives. He pushed everyone with whom he came in contact or who read his many letters-to-the editor to think more deeply, to reexamine their thinking on many current issues.
Whether through preparing pre-service language arts teachers to become consummate, caring professionals, or by promoting the power of writing and expression within different curricular settings through BGSU’s Writing Across the Curriculum Programs, or by helping students learn about and appreciate cultures different from their own by participating in Semester at Sea, or by designing and teaching a course in Holocaust literature, Tom was always innovating, reaching out, and wondering about new, different ways of offering his students skills, ideas, and approaches to navigate through life’s many challenges and opportunities.
One of Tom’s proudest achievements was to accept President Sidney Ribeau and Provost Chuck Middleton’s charge to help create, and to direct, the first learning community at BGSU, the Chapman Learning Community. Now in its 25th year (1997), Chapman continues to offer students powerful opportunities to engage in meaningful, intentional service and to develop their leadership skills to lead personal and professional lives focused upon social change on behalf of those in need. Over the past quarter century, Chapman’s overwhelming success has encouraged the creation of a variety of residential and thematic learning communities at BGSU, which today enroll roughly 1,200 undergraduate students in seventeen separate programs. Because of Tom’s inaugural work, and his ability to gather faculty, staff, and graduate students from across multiple disciplines to work collaboratively to improve undergraduate education on campus, the BGSU Learning Community Network gained, and still holds, national prominence
After his retirement in 2004, Tom continued his devotion to others though his generous-hearted contributions to the Bowling Green/NW Ohio community. Whether contributing as a member of BG Kiwanis, the BG City Schools Foundation, or through his efforts to promote interfaith understanding through the MultiFaith Council of Northwest Ohio, or promoting the welfare of children and families as Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian Ad Litem in the Wood County Juvenile Court, or by means of his support of parks and green spaces such as Wooster Green and Simpson Garden park, or by his support of the arts and artists — including his recent ink-art workshops at the Wood County Committee on Aging — or donating his beautiful hand-made lamp work bead jewelry to Wood County Hospital healthcare workers for their heroism during the pandemic, Tom’s love for and his generosity towards his NW Ohio home was always evident — even throughout the very last days of his life.
Tom’s extended family, friends, colleagues, and students will miss him terribly, but they are comforted by the knowledge that his work lives on — and will live on — through them.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Bowling Green City Foundation or the Wood County District Public Library.
Tom’s celebration of life service will be held at a later date. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Dunn Funeral Home, located in the Historical District of Bowling Green at 408 West Wooster Street.