Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service

Daniel Klein

May 5, 1929 ~ April 11, 2018

Dr. Daniel Klein was born in Brooklyn, NY on May 5, 1929.  He spent his childhood on Long Island with his parents, Louis and Minerva (née Greenhaus), his sister, Sheila Wohl, and many aunties, uncles, and cousins. 

Already as a young boy, Dan had an interest in fly-fishing.  When he won $2.50 after receiving the highest score in the Regents Geography exam in the fifth grade, he invested in his first fly-rod.  Fly-fishing and fly-tying became life-long passions.  His innovative grasshoppers, in particular, along with his white-faced hornets and other flies, earned him wide recognition in the fly-fishing community.  Dan was creative in his use of materials for his artistically and finely crafted flies (such as re-purposing patient wristbands as wings).  His flies are legendary in the fly-fishing world.

Dan attended Dickinson College in Pennsylvania and then medical school in Lausanne, Switzerland.  In the early 1950s, before the Civil Rights Movement, there was still a quota on the number of Jews who could attend professional schools.  That, coupled with financial factors, brought Dan to explore Lausanne as an option for medical school.  Dan learned French the summer before he enrolled in medical school in Lausanne, and would still occasionally speak French with his daughter, Janet, even in his last days.  Dan loved living and traveling in Europe.  He began practicing yoga in the 1950s, before it was cool, and enjoyed reading Krishnamurti, as he explored ways in which to make his yoga practice more complete.  Dr. Klein practiced medicine in Turkey for two years as an Air Force officer, and, Janet, following in his footsteps, also traveled to Turkey and eventually became a professor of Ottoman history and a serious practitioner of yoga.  Dan and his wife, Heidi (née Hahn), both loved classical music, and their daughter, Judith, developed early on into a very talented pianist, and later an artist.

Dr. Klein returned to the United States and accepted a residency at Long Island College Hospital.  One day at his residency there, he returned from a particularly good Chinese meal at Joe Yee’s in Brooklyn, and treated a patient who was so impressed with the care that he received that he offered him a position as resident at Mount Sinai Hospital, where Dan worked with Hans Popper, the founder of modern hepatology.  Dan used to say—in so many words--that a good Chinese meal can bring good fortune.  Although he was encouraged by this eminent doctor to continue in hepatology and pathology, Dr. Klein decided to pursue internal medicine, as he preferred to spend time with patients instead of in a lab.  He was a talented diagnostician, and treated his patients with compassion.  He ultimately chose to work for the VA Hospital because he couldn’t stand the idea of “holding his hand out for a fee;” he believed that all people had the right to good healthcare.

Fly-fishing brought Dan and his wife, Heidi, to the west, where they eventually settled in Montana.  Dan practiced medicine at the VA Hospital in Helena, and fished on the weekends.  Dan took classes in photography in Helena, and became an avid photographer.  He loved taking pictures of wildlife.  He retired and moved to Bozeman in 1988, where, until his final years, he continued to enjoy tying flies and fishing in the best spots in Montana and Idaho with his son, David, who became a well known fishing guide for many years on the Henry’s Fork, in Island Park, Idaho.  Dan and Heidi enjoyed the companionship of their toy poodle, Tiger, for over fifteen years. 

Dan passed away peacefully on April 11, 2018 in Bozeman.  He is survived by his wife of fifty-five years, Heidi; his children, Judith, David, and Janet; and his granddaughter, Begine White-Klein.  May his memory always be a blessing.