Elizabeth J. Klein, 60, of Coralville, died suddenly Friday, January 5, 2018. She passed peacefully without pain in her sleep.
Elizabeth Joan Ireland was the embodiment of love, and she freely shared that love with those around her. She was born August 6, 1957, in Greenfield, Massachusetts; daughter of Nathaniel and Helen (Stuart) Ireland. She was united in marriage to the love of her life, David W. Klein on January 23, 1986, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She attended Keene State College in New Hampshire, where she completed a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Always involved in learning, she went on to complete a Master’s in Psychology form the University of Iowa and received PhD in Educational Psychology from Capella University in 200.
Bette was a Commissioned Minister through the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the Upper Midwest. Elizabeth understood Christianity deeply and passionately. From 2010-2013 she was the Minister for Children and Youth at Coralville First Christian Church where she had long been very active in ministry groups within the church including the music ministry and teaching youth. She expressed her deep spiritual beliefs though music, working as a youth minister, and a counselor at youth camps. She was involved in the music of First Christian church, leading drum circles and drum-making workshops as well as singing in the choir.
Bette lived her life as a model of inclusion, family, and feminism. She raised her children to demand equality and justice in all aspects of life. She instilled these values in her grandchildren, whom she helped raise them as part of her village. She did not limit her role of motherhood to her own children but ministered to her children’s friends and her friend’s children as well as those in her community, she often provided a shoulder to cry on or advice when life got impossible to navigate without a mother’s wisdom. She will be remembered as an “other mother” to many in the community.
Bette was proud to have homeschooled seven of their children and was a part-time teacher with the Mid-Prairie Home School Assistance Program. For several years, she and her husband ran the Village Home School Cooperative in Coralville, were involved in the Iowa City Home Education Network, organizing annual homeschooler conferences in the area, and founded the Virtual Homeschool International. She was an innovator and visionary who worked to instill the love of learning in all of her students. An unschooler through and through she could always see the potential in every child. Music was often integrated into her activities, and she was involved in fostering a passion for native flutes and drumming in the next generation. Always active, Bette’s next plan was to provide service animals to those in need. She was certified as a service dog trainer; and had hoped to establish a service animal academy.
Elizabeth’s family includes her husband, David; children, Zachariah Klein (Daphne), Rebekah Jalilian-Nosraty (Mohammad), Hannah Klein (Hans Packer), Nicholas Klein, Valarie Klein (fiancé, Derek Keast), Kevin Klein (Alejandra Brookfield), Caitlin Klein (Jarrod Lester), Emily Klein, Thomas Klein; grandchildren, Remy, Amir, Aryana, Gloria, Isabel, Cassandra, and Naomi, as well as several extended family members Devon Harris, Javon Duarte, and Edward Harris.
She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother Thomas Ireland.
A service celebrating Bette’s life will be held Friday, January 12, at 4pm followed by a reception at First Christian Church in Coralville, 900 Lincolnshire Place, Coralville IA 52241. Memorials in Elizabeth’s name may be made to First Christian Church, or the Child Life program at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.