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.
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 in a photo from our 25th reunion classbook|