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1931 Alan 2020

Alan Ira Klineman

February 2, 1931 — September 15, 2020

Alan Ira Klineman of Indianapolis passed away peacefully on Tuesday surrounded by his family at the age of 89.

Alan was born in Washington, DC, which was a more than appropriate location considering how much he valued public service and service to others in general.

While he may have been born into the Great Depression, Alan was carved out of the marble of optimism.  For him, there was no challenge insurmountable, no problem without a program to implement or solution to be found.

Alan was a Hoosier through and through, having moved with his family to Indianapolis in 1937.  He grew up in working class neighborhoods south of the Indiana State Fairgrounds and graduated from Shortridge High School in 1948.  Alan went onto to Indiana University where he graduated with a degree in business and acquired the nickname “Swede” because of his stature and unique blonde hair and blue eyes which stood out in his Jewish fraternity, Pi Lambda Phi.  Among other jobs, Alan sold shoes to work his way through school. It was also at IU where Alan acquired his affinity for Indiana University athletics, especially the football Hoosiers.  It takes a special person to cheer for a team that more often than not ends up on the wrong side of the scoreboard; yet, that was Alan.  Alan didn’t just cheer for underdogs, he felt it was his duty to serve them.

It was this calling that led him to a study of law in the night program for working students at what is now known as the McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis.  Alan graduated in 1956 and commenced his legal practice.  Just a handful of years later, while others were still learning and honing their craft, Alan started his own law firm, Klineman Rose, which he grew with his partners into one of the largest and most prominent in the Indianapolis legal community, Klineman Rose Wolf and Wallack.  While he was respected for his problem solving, perspective, calm demeanor, and legal skills by his peers, clients and adversaries, Alan was most proud of his role as a mentor lawyer to younger lawyers as he believed his profession was a noble one that was passed on and learned through experience.

At the same time Alan was building a law practice, which would have been enough for most, Alan was active in the Marion County and Indiana Democratic Party. Alan served as a Deputy Prosecutor and was elected to the Indiana State Senate in 1964 where he served with distinction.  And, while his term in office ended a few years later, his public service and support of fellow Democrats and Democratic causes never ceased.

In 1993, Indiana Governor Evan Bayh called on Alan to serve as the very first chairman of the Indiana Gaming Commission.  It was critical to the Governor and Alan’s fellow citizens that an industry with a reputation for corruption and unethical practices be regulated by a man with incorruptible, impeccable ethics.

Alan also kept real estate developers honest by holding them accountable as a member of the City of Carmel Plan Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals.  Alan also served on a number of foundation boards, including the English Foundation, the Carmel-Clay Educational Foundation, and the Indianapolis Foundation. Alan’s record of service was honored by a collection of accolades including recognition of by two states with their highest citizen honor as a Sagamore of the Wabash in the State of Indiana and Kentucky Colonel in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and a Distinguish Alumnus of the Indiana University McKinney School of Law-Indianapolis.

While Alan could claim the titles of Sagamore, Kentucky Colonel, Prosecutor, Chairman, and Senator, the most important titles for him were that of Husband, Father, and Grandfather.  Alan met his wife, Dorothy (formally Gonski), a native of Northampton, Massachusetts and faculty member of the Indiana University School of Nursing on a double date. In 1964, the two were married, created a home and raised four children.  Words cannot capture the loving home Alan created with Dorothy.  It was his proudest achievement, without question and without exception.  After decades of sacrifice and savings, he was able to travel the world with Dorothy and their close friends, from China to Ireland, London to Jerusalem.  Their closeness and love and the closeness and love of the family they created was, and is, an inspiration to all who encounter it.

Alan leaves us with a bucket-list full of checkmarks, more than most could achieve in many lifetimes.

Alan loved Chinese food, especially the Chinese Ruby and Lotus Garden, and especially the Chicken Chow Mein.  Alan loved to laugh and make others laugh too.  His sense of humor was known throughout all of his circles.  It was creative, smart and quick, and could completely disarm any tense moment and diffuse the anger of any adversity.  Had he not become an accomplished attorney and public servant, it is no doubt he would have been a headliner comedian in the Catskills.

Alan was a lifelong member of the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation and supporter of the Jewish Community.  While far from a rabbinical scholar, Alan lived his life according to the Good Book’s mantras.  Alan was kind. Alan was generous. He was a caretaker. His life was about hope, and it was a tribute to endless possibility and optimism.  People are not born with the same opportunities, but everyone is born with certain talents.  Alan’s spirit and talents took him well beyond what was imaginable from a humble start on Balsom Avenue.

The underdogs of the world are feeling a great sense of loss today having lost Alan as a tireless advocate. But no one is feeling more loss than his colleagues, friends, and family.  He was preceded in death by his father (Herbert E) and mother (Mildred), and his younger brother and law partner (James).  He is survived by his wife Dorothy, his children Susan, Patricia (Jonathan) Weinzapfel, Jane (Thomas) Salentine and Andrew (Christina). He is also survived by his sister-in-law Elaine, his two nephews, Bruce (Katie) Klineman, Stephen (Debbie) Klineman, and his niece, Roberta (Tom) Dakich.

Alan’s legacy of public service, laughter, kindness, creativity, generosity, and love will live on through what he most cherished, his grandchildren, Nathaniel, Eleanor, Benjamin, Samuel, Anna, Aidan, Joseph, and Spencer.

A private graveside service will be held for Alan. His family will host a celebration of Alan’s life at a later date when family and friends will be able to gather safely.  Alan was proud to contribute money to establish the Alan I Klineman Scholarship Fund to help other young people achieve their dreams of become a lawyer. In that spirit, and in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Alan’s memory the McKinney School of Law (please earmark for scholarships funds for working students) and the Jewish Welfare Federation of Greater Indianapolis  And, if possible, Alan would encourage all to vote, and use their gifts to do what he did, make the world more joyful, more kind, and more beautiful.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Alan Ira Klineman, please visit our flower store.


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