Don Michael Klinger, 76, of Boulder City, Nevada was called home to Heaven on April 21st, 2021. He passed away peacefully in the loving arms of his wife Amy Klinger, while the song “I Can Only Imagine,” played in the background. He endured a courageous battle with lung cancer and ultimately desired to rest at ease with his Savior.
The legacy of the Klinger Family’s presence in Nevada started in the early 1930s when Arthur & Sarah Klinger migrated with their family to Boulder City, Nevada so Arthur could work as a machinist for the Six Companies, building the Boulder Dam. Don Michael Klinger (aka Mike Klinger) was born to Arthur and Sarah Klinger in 1944 and delivered at the nunnery, once located at the top of Arizona Street. He was named after Dr. Don Michael who delivered him. Arthur, Sarah, and the entire Klinger Family were an important piece in the history of Boulder City. Art served as director of the Chamber of Commerce, active Rotarian, and was commonly referred to as the “Mayor of Railroad Pass,” where they actually lived & ran a 76 Service Gas Station and The Klinger Family Liquor Store, as well as a machine shop. It was important to Art that while building a life for his family and others, that his children learn a sense of values and instilled in them the necessity to serve the community – this is where Mike Klinger’s values of community service were ingrained. Mike Klinger worked earnestly for his father’s business which sparked a love and keen interest in craftsmanship and engineering. If you visit the steakhouse at the Railroad Pass today there are still some of their family photos hanging on the wall!
Mike Klinger graduated from Boulder City High School, class of 1963. His teen years began some lifelong friendships with other locals from Boulder City, and it was around this time when he was introduced to his passion for fishing. Mike attended the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) before being drafted into the United States Army, where he served as a Sergeant at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., with an appreciation for his service in the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology! After honorably serving he returned to Boulder City where he laid eyes on beautiful Amelia Klinger (Amy). Mike won the heart of Amy and married her at Bethany Baptist Church. They were married by Rev. Russell L. Fincher and he would be excited to know they just recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary! Together they raised their children: Michael, Timothy & Kimberly; and grandson Ethan.
Prior to being drafted, Mike applied for an apprenticeship with the I.B.E.W. Local 357 (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) Union but was unable to commence the program. Upon his return from his service, he was proudly recruited by his brother-in-law, Ralph Gault (one of the longest-serving members, as well as President and Business Manager of the Local 357) to join the I.B.E.W. Ralph played a pivotal role as Mike’s mentor as an electrician. Mike began his work as a journeyman electrician which would serve as his career over the next 50+ years. If you’ve lived or visited the Las Vegas Valley, you’ve probably seen Mike & his sons’ workmanship and not been aware. His work expanded from power poles that bring many of us power today, to hotels & casinos on the Las Vegas Strip (classic and new) as well as the Nevada Test Site. Mike played an integral part in the recruitment of dozens upon dozens of members, as well as leading and training hundreds of apprentices for the I.B.E.W. He was proud that many of these men established long-life career paths in the electrical field, including his beloved sons Michael and Timothy Klinger and his nephew George Smith.
After retiring as an Electrician, Mike wanted to elevate his passion for Christ by strengthening his own relationship and helping connect others to God. He started by volunteering regularly at the Christian Center Church on Adams Blvd. He lovingly took on the position of an adult Sunday School teacher. If the children in your family ever had the pleasure of attending vacation Bible school at the Christian Center between the years of 2010 - 2017, you could accredit much of their experience to Mike & Amy. If you attend the Christian Center today, you can enjoy much of Mike and Amy’s artistic craftsmanship throughout the church and facilities. Later, Mike went on to be a teacher, leader, and ordained Pastor at the Christian Fellowship Church. Mike easily could’ve given any Jeopardy contestant a run for their money with his knowledge of the Old Testament of second only possibly to Moses who would’ve had a better understanding. Mike lived an exemplary life as a true Christian that you would read similarity about in the New Testament. Many adult residents of Boulder City enjoyed his Bible study lessons oftentimes taught at the Christian Center, the Senior Center, and Bicentennial Park. Mike was a true, “Fisherman of Men.” Matthew 4:19 “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Mike was a loving, devoted family man. He was patient and always remained calm and collective of his thoughts. He was humbly known to many as Pastor Mike - but didn’t consider himself worthy enough of the title. He was an avid fisherman who enjoyed many sunny days on Lake Mead, where he could get in his boat and, “let the wind carry my stress and worries away.” His pride in his children and grandchildren was unmatched - and that leadership and dedication show today through his children. He would beam from ear to ear in witnessing their accomplishments, and when you asked him if he was proud of what he taught them, he responded “No, I’m proud of what they have accomplished beyond what I was able to teach them.” Despite all of his individual successes, his proudest achievements were actually his son’s Michael Jr. being a nationally ranked Nevada Real Estate Broker & son’s Tim being a nationally ranked Professional FLW Bass Angler. He was proud that Kimberly pursued a passion to become a Scuba Diver. Mike Klinger supported each of his children in every aspiration and dream, and his presence as a loving father significantly increased their successes.
He was a humble man. He set aside time to volunteer years of his life in partnership with Pastor Russ Marsh and The Food Pantry spending countless hours serving thousands of meals to Henderson and Boulder City residents who were in need of compassion and help. He had a willingness to help anyone without ever the desire to be compensated; however, he never minded a gift card to go eat at a restaurant! He was caring and extremely empathetic. He enjoyed teasing you, mostly without you realizing you were being poked at. He was very contemplative and full of wisdom. If you brought him a challenge or dilemma, he would be sure to research and analyze a solution to help you. The multitude of people who have come forward to express their deep gratitude for his impact on their lives does not surprise us, as he never sought recognition or reward for his efforts. Even after his death, we are still learning about the way he served others and his accomplishments throughout the community, as even after arriving home to Amy he was not boastful of those he helped that day; he remained humble till the very end.
He is preceded in death by his parents Arthur & Sarah Klinger, brother Roy and sisters Betty & Doris Klinger. He is survived by his loving wife, Amy Klinger; of 50 years; son Michael Klinger Jr. and his wife, Anna; 2 grandsons Adam & Quinten; son Timothy Klinger, and 3 grandchildren Jordyn, Ella & James, and great-grandson Travers; and daughter Kimberly Klinger, and 3 grandsons Ethan, Presten & Logan; his youngest sister Patricia Klinger (who many local residents know from the Boulder Dam Credit Union). As well as many nephews & nieces, and many friends.
Services & Burial: May 4th, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. at Veteran’s Memorial, followed by a Celebration of Life at The Boulder City Senior Center. If desired, donations can be made in memory of Mike Klinger to the Boulder City Christian Fellowship Church, of which he was an associate Pastor – P.O. Box 60102, Boulder City, Nevada 89006. To truly pay tribute in Mike’s honor: feed someone in need; help where help is needed; attend a Bible study session; or cast a fishing line!