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Former Lakeville Principal, Local GOP Heavyweight Dies at 100

Walter Kloepping Klaus, 100, was State House Representative for Dakota County from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s.

Former Christian Heritage Academy Principal Walter Kloepping Klaus died Nov. 16, 2012 at the age of 100.

He was born April 19, 1912, the third and youngest child of George H. and Wilhelmina Kloepping Klaus at his grandfather's home in Empire Township, just a few days after the sinking of the Titanic.

Klaus was reared in rural school system before attending Farmington High School and Hamline University. He studied teachingbut initally stayed on the family farm in Vermillion Township, called "Gentlehill." During World War II he stayed on the homefront due to an agricultural deferment, though he chaired the county USO.

During the '40s he became active in the Republican Party. In 1948 was chosen as the county chairman,a post he held six times over his long life. He was elected to his last term as chair on his 87th birthday.

In 1956 he was elected to represent all of Dakota County, by a hair-thin margin of just 17 votes. He served from 1957 until the mid-1970s, with only one brief break from 1970 to 1973. His district later included Goodhue as well. Klaus was key architect of the state's redistricting plans, in fact, a duty that earned him the nickname "Mr. Reapportionment" in the legislature.

He held a variety of jobs when the legislature was not in session. One year he was a teller at the bank in Hampton (He was also on its board of directors for 30 years). He also spent and one year each as a teacher in the public high schools of Faribault, Jeffers, Morris and Randolph. He took a job as the first principal of Christian Heritage Academy from 1987 to 1990.

In 1968 he married Virginia Taylor. Together they established a homne on the site of a grist mill built that dated back to the 1880s on the South Branch of the Vermillion River. They called the home "Gentlemill."

A funeral service will be held for Klaus at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012 at Faith United Methodist Church in Farmington. Visitation will take place one hour prior to service. A private interment is scheduled. The family asks for memorials to Faith United Methodist Church in lieu of flowers.

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