On September 24, 2021, Morris Bernard Klocker passed away peacefully at Stonehill Health Center in Dubuque, Iowa, his three kids the last visitors to kiss his forehead, hold his hands, and wave good-bye to this beloved man that they were honored to call “Dad’.
Visitation will be from 4:00 pm — 7:00 pm Wednesday, September 29, 2021 at Hoffmann Schneider & Kitchen Funeral Home & Crematory.
The Mass of Christian Burial for Morris will be 10:30 am Thursday, September 30, 2021, at Church of the Resurrection with Father Phil Gibbs as the Celebrant. Burial will be in Sacred Heart Cemetery in Fillmore.
In Monticello, Iowa on October 10, 1938, one of the world’s sunniest and kindest souls, Morris B., was born into the loving arms of his parents, Martina and Vincent Klocker. He enjoyed a long life of being loved and supported deeply by his closest friends and family — both Klocker and Stecklein. And he enjoyed a long life of being the most magnetic, fun, flirty and social man in the room. He was a stranger to no one, and like a campfire, people were drawn to him, his warmth, his listening ear and his effortless way of connecting with others.
Like many people, Morrie experienced more than his fair share of adversity in life; unlike most however, time and time again, he chose hope and optimism and joy and positivity. He was an only child and at the young age of 6, his father died unexpectedly and tragically. He often spoke of his deep attachment to and love for his mother who never remarried. They were a devoted duo, with little money and big Christmases, each one the other one’s world. Martina and Morrie moved to Cascade when he was in second grade. It was during this time in this special little town that Morrie began to develop his life-long friendships — those that would serve as his brothers and sisters until the end of his days. Morrie and his ‘brothers’ played baseball all day, every day. There is no doubt that these friendships and their families were what kept him feeling loved and less alone after the death of his mother at 13. Morrie found that his athletic talents, love for sports, his childhood friends and their families would carry him through his entire life as an only child who had lost both of his parents before he had the chance to begin high school.
Involved in sports his whole life, Morrie’s heart and talents belonged to basketball and baseball. His freshman year, he made the varsity basketball team at St. Martin’s in Cascade, Iowa. Every year, the Dubuque Diocese held a basketball tournament, inviting every Catholic school to play at Loras College. Morrie made ‘1st Team All Tournament’ his freshmen year; the next 3 years he was again ‘1st Team All Tournament’ as well as the additional accolade of’ ‘Most Valuable Player’. Even with all of his success in basketball, some observers thought his best sport was baseball. He batted over .500 in 3 of his high school years and played for the Cascade Semi-Pro baseball team in his later high school years. He continued his baseball career playing for the Army overseas. After his military service, he continued his love for the game by playing fast-pitch for teams in Dubuque.
In his late 20s, Morrie met Kathleen Stecklein, and his courtship with “Cha Cha” quickly led to a loving and loyal marriage of 50 years. He was overjoyed and honored to be welcomed into her big, beautiful family. He loved Kathy’s siblings and their spouses like his own and very much enjoyed his conversations with his nieces and nephews, catching up on their relationships, jobs, kids and lives. He felt supported and loved by the entire Stecklein clan always, and especially felt their loyalty after Kathy died in 2019.
His Cha Cha loved to travel, and she eagerly planned each of their trips with friends and family, exploring such places as Italy, Costa Rica, Greece, the Caribbean Islands, Hawaii, England, Ireland, France and more. They took cruises, visited their kids wherever they lived, and spent precious time with precious friends at The Cottage. Morrie was a romantic who often proclaimed that he ‘enjoyed a good love story’; so it comes as no surprise that Paris was his favorite city abroad. Equally loving the smell of the ocean, the sound of the waves and the colors of a setting sun, Morrie and Kathy also visited many beaches together. The most special of these seaside trips were when their children, their spouses and grandkids spent a week playing in the surf, watching turtles hatch, eating and cocktailing the hours away, taking early morning walks, and laughing often because of the palpable joy and humor that Morrie sprinkled everywhere he went.
A talented athlete, a loyal friend, a devoted husband, a loving brother-in-law and uncle — there is no question that Morris B. was a million wonderful things. His closest friends and family remark that despite his losses in life, he was quick to joke, to laugh, to make inappropriate comments, to light up a room, and to be “the most fantastic person I’ve ever met”. People describe him as a gentlemen, as joyful — quick to tease or give a nickname. His jolliness was infectious, his voice low and husky, and his eyes as twinkly as can be. But of all of his descriptors and roles in life, he was proudest of being a father. And he was the best father. He was there always; he called and left incredible messages filled with humor and love all in 18 seconds. He supported each of his children always, and often embellished their gifts or victories when sharing the details with others. He said he would be there for anything, and open to hearing everything — and he truly was. He hugged them and cheered them on, showed up at their jobs, cried harder than anyone else on their wedding days. He took the time and patience to truly know his kids — at every period of their lives. There is no doubt that he loved all 3 of his children equally, but when it came to Christopher, this beloved father took devotion to a whole new level. He was Chris’s protector, advocate, and buddy — their hearts and souls connected in a way that cannot be described in words. Two phone calls a day, endless weekends and drives and Sunday afternoon naps, the two were much like Morrie and his mother were — a dedicated duo, each one the other one’s world. Fast food, Friday evening pick-ups, golfing, bowling, praying, attending local sporting events, they were together seemingly always. To know one was to know the other. To love one was to love the other.
As difficult as it is to lose this beautiful soul who filled our days with happiness and wisdom, Morrie would want us to remember him in a variety of ways. He would want us to find him in a Michigan Wolverines game, in the sight of a John Deere tractor, in the laughter of his grandchildren, in a good day of the stock market, in the eyes of his children, in the smell of small town Iowa (Cascade), in memories and stories, in his best zingers and inappropriate but hilarious comments, and most of all, in the sound of laughter. He would hope that we could eventually get to a place where his memory is one solely of happiness.
Therefore, in lieu of flowers, we invite everyone to channel their inner Morrie —to choose joy and hope. To face sadness and hard times and loss, but to know that love is worth the pain. To let someone in your lane, to strike up a conversation with someone at a coffee or donut shop, to tease people a little more and criticize a little less. To realize that the true meaning of life is to connect with those around us — whether they are near or far, whether are strangers or our closest loved ones. Yes, Morrie would say in his raspy, booming voice, “Choose love.”
He truly left all those he touched with a big piece of his beautiful heart; may we gently carry it with us — always.
Morris B. Klocker is survived by his children Christopher Klocker (of Dubuque, Iowa), Michael and wife Lily Klocker (of Highlands Ranch, CO), Jessie and husband Kevin McCormick (of Sioux City, Iowa); his three grandchildren Addison Klocker, Jillian Klocker and Wrenn McCormick.
Hoffmann Schneider & Kitchen Funeral Home and Crematory is in care of the arrangements.
A photo tribute can be viewed and condolences sent to the family by visiting Morris’s obituary at www.hskfhcares.com.