Amherst Magazine
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Robert Kleeb '58 (1936-2005)

Bob Kleeb, remembers Rob Deane, was “the most urbane, sophisticated, cultured and wordly (in the most positive sense) Amherst classmate I knew. His career with its international travel, diverse personal relationships and blending of the business and cultural worlds was worthy of the highest respect, and reflected great credit on Amherst.”

Even in college Bob’s interests were distinctly international. Ron Ohl recalls that he and Bob shared an interest in languages, Italian in particular, and that Bob aspired to become an international businessman who could use his business position to help promote global citizenship and international responsibility. Looking back, Ron says, “I guess he did just that.”

Bob was active in all phases of college life. He was president and co-rushing chairman of Phi Delt, a swimmer and lacrosse player, and a worker on The Student and in the Harlan Fiske Stone Law Society. The sophistication Rob Deane remembers was immortalized in a 1958 Olio photo showing Bob leading a delegation of Phi Delts at dinner in Valentine dressed in black tie. On the opposite Olio page, Bob is shown carefully hanging his laundry to dry properly in the bar of the Phi Delt house. As a freshman he ironed his shirts in the basement of Morrow.

Bob went on to receive a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1961. In 1963, he received a master’s from Johns Hopkins, where he specialized in Middle Eastern Affairs at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). With that formidable background he embarked on a career with Mobil Oil, serving in various places throughout the world, primarily in the employee relations area. He retired from Mobil as a senior executive in 1993.

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Typically, Bob talked less about his international job adventures than about what he could contribute to international relations because of his work experience and credibility. He was, for example, a member of the Steering Committee of the Commerce and Industry Council of the National Urban League and a member of the Industrial Relations Council of the U. S. Council for International Business. He was heavily involved for many years with AFS, a well-known international high school student and teacher exchange program, serving as trustee and chairman of the board.

He was especially active in councils and committees related to Johns Hopkins and SAIS, including vice president and member of the executive committee of the alumni association, chair of its long range planning committee, member of the SAIS Alumni Council and executive-in-residence at that institution. He taught and counseled students at the Washington, D.C., and Bologna, Italy, centers of SAIS. He established there the Robert H. Kleeb Jr. Fund to support summer internships.

Bob never married. He lived his retirement years in Fort Lauderdale and Charleston. He was fortunate in his later years to have the devoted friendship of D’Wayne A. Smalls, who survives him, along with two sisters.

Robert Henry Kleeb Jr. died Oct. 5, 2005, in Charleston, from complications of liver disease.

Bob Kleeb
Bob in a photo from our 25th reunion classbook

Robert H. Kleeb, 10/8/2005

Robert Henry Kleeb, Jr.

Bob Kleeb died on October 8, 2005 in Charleston, South Carolina from complications of liver disease.

Bob was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on October 20, 1936 to Robert Henry and Margaret Helen (Lafferty) Kleeb. He prepared for Amherst at Radnor High School in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

Although not one of the noisier, more boisterous members of our class, Bob was active in all phases of Amherst life: Lacrosse; Swimming, “1958,” Manager; Harlan Fiske Stone Law Society; Managerial Association; Student. A committed member of his fraternity, Phi Delta Sigma, he was president and for two years rushing chairman along with Jeff Webb. “The fraternity meant a lot to him, and he made it a better place while we were at Amherst,” remembers Win Smith, who characterized Bob as being warm, sociable, and very civilized. Emery Harper, who roomed with Bob freshman year, recalls that Bob was a fastidious kind of guy and that he and Bob would go down to the basement of Morrow Dormitory to iron their shirts together. Speaking of shirts and things of that nature, see page 50 of the 1958 Olio for a picture of Bob carefully hanging up his laundry in the bar of the Phi Delt house. Actually, Bob merited two pictures in the Phi Delt section of the Olio. Fraternity brother Don Johnson, who remembers Bob as “one classy guy,” recalls how Bob led a delegation of Phi Delts to Valentine Hall for dinner dressed (p.51) in black tie.

His friendship with Emery continued especially during the period that Bob lived and worked in New York City. Emery recalls how Bob also had place in Amagansett in the Hamptons, a very modern structure designed by a contemporary architect. Here, Bob extended hospitality to many and, in Emery’s words, “threw a good party.”

Bob went on from Amherst to receive a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1961. In 1963, he received a master’s from Johns Hopkins, where he specialized in Middle Eastern Affairs at the School of Advanced International Studies. After that, he embarked on a career with Mobil Oil, serving in various places throughout the world, primarily in the employee relations area. He retired from Mobil, as a senior executive, in 1993.

Bob’s community-oriented activities were threefold in nature: (1) organizations related to his work expertise, such as Director of the Equal Opportunity Advisory Council, member of the Business Advisory Council of the National Alliance of Business, member of the Steering Committee of the Commerce and Industry Council of the National Urban League, and member of the Industrial Relations Council of the U. S. Council for International Business; (2) AFS, a well-known international high school student and teacher exchange program, where his involvement spanned many years and where he served as Trustee and Chairman of the Board; (3) councils and associations related to Johns Hopkins, including Vice President and member of the Executive Committee of the Alumni Association, Chair of its Long Range Planning Committee, member of the Alumni Council for the School of Advanced International Studies and Executive-in-Residence at that institution (as well as having taught and counseled students at the Washington, D. C. and Bologna, Italy centers of the school). At the School for Advanced International Studies there is a Robert H. Kleeb, Jr. fund, given by Bob.

Fellow Amherst classmate Ron Ohl recalls that he and Bob shared an interest in languages, Italian in particular, and that Bob’s interests even then were international in nature. He remembers that Bob expressed a desire that some day he would be an international businessman, who could use his business position to do something in the area of global citizenship and international responsibility. “I guess he did just that,” says Ron.

Bob lived his retirement years in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Charleston, South Carolina. He was fortunate in his later years to have the devoted friendship of D’Wayne A. Smalls, who survives him, along with two sisters, Carol Shuck, of Maple Glen, Pennsylvania, and Sandra Walker, of Ellensburg, Washington. To these the class extends its condolences.

John E. G. Bischof, ‘58

 

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