KNOXVILLE — Visitation for UT Emeritus Professor Milton M. Klein will be held 5-7 p.m. Sunday, June 13, at Rose Mortuary Mann Heritage Chapel in Bearden.
Klein, retired professor of history and former University of Tennessee Historian, died Thursday, June 10, at St. Mary-s Residential Hospice in Halls at the age of 86.
Funeral services will be held at 12:30 p.m. Monday, June 14, at the Chapel. Military burial will be at the Tennessee Veteran’s Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Klein History Studies Endowment at the University of Tennessee.
“All of us who were privileged to know Milton keenly regret his passing but celebrate his memory,” said UTK Chancellor Loren Crabtree.
Klein is survived by his wife of 41 years, Margaret Gordon Klein; eldest son Edward Klein and friend Linda Seaquist of South San Francisco; son and daughter-in-law Peter and Sandy Klein of Columbia, Mo.; grandsons Coleman McGregor Klein and Nathan Harper Klein; several nephews, great-nephews, and great-nieces.
Klein was a highly regarded researcher and writer on American history. His latest book, An Amazing Grace: John Thornton and the Clapham Sect, was just released in April 2004.
A native of New York City, he received his undergraduate education at the City College of New York, where he also received a master’s degree. His doctorate was earned at Columbia University. During World War II, he served in the Army Air Forces and remained in the Air Force Reserve until his retirement with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Klein came to UT in 1969. After his retirement from active teaching in 1984, he was named UT’s first official historian and retained that position until the office was abolished for budgetary reasons in 1997. In that capacity, he gave numerous lectures on the history of the University to student groups, civic organizations, and alumni chapters around the country.
At UT, he received an Alumni Outstanding Teacher Award in 1974, was named an Alumni Distinguished Service Professor in 1977, and a Lindsay Young Professor in 1980. He also earned two Chancellor’s Citations for Extraordinary Service, in 1988 and 1998.
Klein was active in leadership positions in a number of campus, professional, and civic organizations. He was president of the UTK chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the UTK chapter of the American Association of University Professors, the UT Faculty Club, and the UT Retirees Association.
In 1988, the Tennessee Society of Daughters of Colonial Wars gave him its outstanding teaching award, and in 1997, the Tennessee State Conference of the American Association of University Professors gave him the Philander Claxton Award for Outstanding Service to Higher Education in Tennessee.
He wrote a series of “Historical Vignettes” about the University for the Chancellor’s newsletter, and for the Bicentennial of the University in 1994, he assembled a number of these and published them in book form as “Volunteer Moments: Vignettes of the History of the University of Tennessee, 1794-1994.” A second edition appeared in 1996.
During the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution in 1987, he chaired the committee that coordinated the celebration of that event in the Knoxville area. The committee’s extensive activities drew praise from the national chairman, Chief Justice Warren Burger, who called it one of the most active local committees in the country.
The UT Special Collections Library in Knoxville now holds Dr. Klein’s papers.