Muscatine County

Norman Arthur Kleist

(Above photo published, DesMoines Register, Jan. 2, 1944)



Norman Kleist, Muscatine, who has been in service in the United States Navy for several months is shown inspecting the complex maze of tubes, wires and controls of a SBC-4 Curtiss Scout Bomber in the reproduction of a picture presented here.

This picture was one of a series taken at a new air station in Texas where the Navy has built a great sprawling city of barracks, hangars and flying fields. The series of pictures show some of the maintenance activities that keep Navy airplanes flying.

In a letter received by Muscatine friends from Kleist, he reported his possible transfer to the crew of a new destroyer.

The article and picture reproduced appeared in the annual maintenance number of “Aviation,” American aeronautical magazine.

Source: Muscatine Journal and News-Tribune, January 23, 1942 (photo included)

Injuries Claim Life of Norman Kleist, 33

Norman Arthur Kleist, 33, fireman first class in the United States Navy, died May 23, as the result of head injuries sustained while on authorized leave, according to a telegram received today by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Kleist, 210 Brook street.

Source of the injury has not as yet been determined, the Navy department declared, but notice will be sent immediately as soon as full details are available.

The telegram did not disclose where the death occurred, nor any other facts concerning the accident, although it is believed that it occurred somewhere outside the United States.

An attempt will be made to bring the body to the United States, the Navy department said, and burial will be made in Muscatine, if this is possible.

“Our sincere sympathy is extended to you in your deep sorrow,” the telegram, signed by Rear Admiral Rolland Jacobs of the bureau of naval personnel, stated.

Norman Arthur Kleist was born in Muscatine, May 4, 1909, the son of Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Kleist, and spent his entire life here. He enlisted in the U. S. Navy in July, 1941, to serve his country during the present war emergency, and was assigned to ship in January of this year.

The last message received from him by his parents was a card sent from Newport, R. I., on April 22.

Surviving in addition to his parents are one sister, Mrs. J. L. Hopeweil, and niece, Janice Lynne Hopeweil, of Burlington, Ia.

Source: Muscatine Journal and News-Tribune, May 27, 1942 (photo included)

Norman Kleist Body to Arrive Here Wednesday

The body of Norman Arthur Kleist, fireman first class in the United States Navy, who met death accidentally recently, will reach Muscatine at 4 a.m. Wednesday, his parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Kleist were informed by the Navy today.

It will be taken immediately to the Kleist residence, 210 Brook street, by the Hoffman Funeral home and will remain there until funeral rites are held. Arrangements for the military services will be announced Wednesday, the family said.

Source: Muscatine Journal and News-Tribune, June 23, 1942

Representatives of patriotic organizations and friends formed the large crowd which gathered at the depot this morning when the body of Norman Kleist, 33, who died while serving in the Navy, was brought home for burial rites.

The official Navy representative, Frank V. Watson, chief shipfitter U.S.N., official escort who accompanied the body here, and members of the family are seen in the foreground.

Funeral rites and special military services are planned for Saturday.

Source: Muscatine Journal and News-Tribune, June 24, 1942 (Crowd photo included)

Last Honors Conferred On Norman Kleist At Impressive Rites Here

Full military honors were conferred on Norman Arthur Kleist, fireman first class in the United States Navy, who died May 23 of head injuries in an unrevealed foreign port while on authorized leave, when services were held this afternoon.

Private rites at the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Kleist, 210 Brook street, were followed by a public service at the First Methodist church at 2:30 and military and Elks memorial ceremonies at the grave in Greenwood cemetery. Frank V. Watson, chief shipfitter and the U. S. Navy’s official representative, stood as an honor guard at the casket throughout the rites.

Speaks of Prayer.

“Wherever our lives may lead us, sooner or later we meet the experience of trouble and sometimes trouble so severe that we have to call it disaster,” Dr. R. M. Shipman, pastor of the First Methodist church declared in his message at the church service. “The bringing home for burial of one of the first men to die in uniform since the United States entered the war has made a special impression upon the community,” he said, adding, “It will probably not be the last time such an occasion will arise. But such events are not essentially different in many respects from similar happenings in civilian life. In both instances there can be the sudden ending of life, the cutting off of hopes and plans for the future, and the same painful sense of loss for the members of the immediate family.

“The prayer that we may escape trouble is quite likely to be a weak prayer, merely the prayer for escape. The kind of praying that has always characterized the great souls has been the request for strength to bear bravely the trouble that comes. For a soldier facing the fire of the enemy, the brave prayer is not ‘God save me,’ but ‘God make me brave. I don’t want to let my buddies down.’ The prayer for inner strengthening sufficient to meet the grueling tests of life is the prayer of truly brave souls.”

Special Music Offered.

Special music at the service included selections, “Going Down the Valley One by One,” and “Sweet Be Thy Rest,” by the Misses Hattie and Amanda Stein, and a solo, “Sleep, Soldier Boy, Sleep,” by Harold Ogilvie. Mrs. Floyd Scott presided at the organ.

Honorary bearers were Walter Phelps and William Schoenig of the Spanish American Veterans, Fred Lange and Fred Diercks of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and C. J. Rosenberger and John McCullough of the American Legion.

Active bearers were Clark Bauerbach, Lysle Krueger, Russell Spartenhagen, Orville Schauland, Steve Steinmeyer, Paul Barry, Harry Hahn and Joe Rogers.

Other Attendants.

Flower attendants were Mrs. Lyle Hildebrandt, Mrs. Harry Schauland, Miss Dora Wichers, Miss Mollie Crow, Mrs. James Figg Jr., Mrs. Flora Mark and Mrs. Ernest Tadewald.

Ushers, members of the Elks Lodge were Bernard Hahn, H. C. Havemann, Arthur Umlandt, Robert Emerson, Sanford Schmalz.

Organizations attending in a body were the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Spanish-American Veterans, American Legion, and the auxiliaries of the three groups. Daughters of Union Veterans, Women’s Relief Corps, Royal Neighbors, and the Elks Lodge and Lady Elks group.

Samuel Daniels, exalted ruler of the Muscatine Elks Lodge presided over the Elks memorial at the ceremonies at Greenwood cemetery. A final salute was fired by the American Legion firing squad.

Source: Muscatine Journal and News-Tribune, June 27, 1942

Navy Issues First “Casualty” Lists

The Navy’s first official casualty list, issued on the 5th, contained the names of Arthur Anthony Bersch and David Alonzo Leedy.

This was the first of a series of “official reports” which came to next of kin during the month.

The tragic death of Norman Arthur Kleist, 33, fireman first class, in the U. S. Navy, caused from head injuries while the young man was on authorized leave was revealed in a Navy dispatch to his parents on the 27th. Death had occurred on May 23, the dispatch read.

Messages of DEATH, Word of Valiant Soldiers, Sailors “Missing in Action,” Brought Sadness to Families Here

[Norman Kleist photograph published among others]

Source: Muscatine Journal and News-Tribune, Annual Edition, Wednesday, December 30, 1942

Norman Kleist, 33, fireman first class in the United States Navy, died May 23, as the result of head injuries sustained while on authorized leave, according to a telegram received May 27, 1942, by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Kleist, 210 Brook street.

The body was brought to Muscatine for burial with full military honors on June 26, 1942. A representative of the U. S. Navy was in attendance as a guard of honor.

Kleist enlisted in the Navy in July of 1941, and was assigned to a ship in January of 1942, seeing 10 months of service before his death. He spent six weeks at the Great Lakes Naval training station, where he earned a petty officers ranking, and then was sent to Corpus Christi, Tex., for training as an airplane mechanic and left there Jan. 17, 1942, for Brooklyn, N. Y. His whereabouts since April 22, of that year, when he was on active duty, had not been divulged.

Source: Muscatine Journal and News-Tribune, Annual Edition, December 30, 1943 (photo included)

Here are more Iowans who have been killed in action. The final line beneath each picture gives the geographical location in which the man was killed. Additional Honor Roll pictures will be carried on future Sundays.

Source: The  Des Moines Register, Sunday, January 2, 1944  (photo included)

Document Gives Praise to Service of Norman Kleist

A tribute to the services rendered by Norman Arthur Kleist of Muscatine, who met death while in the performance of his duty while serving in the United States Navy on May 23, 1942, has just been received by his mother, Mrs. Arthur Kleist, 210 Brook street.

The official commendation signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America reads:

“In grateful memory of Norman Arthur Kleist who died in the service of his country at Port of Spain, Trinidad, British West Indies, 23 May 1942.

“He stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die that freedom might live and grow, and increase its blessings.

“Freedom lives, and through it he lives—in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men.”

The document was forwarded to Mrs. Kleist by the Navy department, Bureau of Personnel.

Source: Muscatine Journal and News-Tribune, May 9, 1944

Battle Casualties Sadden More Homes

NORMAN KLEIST, Fireman 1/c – Fireman Norman Kleist, son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Kleist, 210 Brook street, died May 23, 1942, while on authorized leave in a foreign port. He joined the service in July, 1941.

Source: Muscatine Journal and News-Tribune, Year-End Review Edition, Friday, Dec. 29, 1944