Leslie Klein

Obituary of Leslie Klein

Leslie Klein, of Lexington, Massachusetts, died at home on March 12, 2024, following a stroke a week earlier. He was 93 years old. Leslie was born in Toronto, Ontario, on December 2, 1930, the youngest and last surviving of four children of Alex and Molly (Troper) Klein. Leslie was the beloved husband of Alice H. Klein and the adoring father of his children, Johanna Louise Klein and Alexander Matthew Klein. Leslie and Alice were married on June 13, 1971. Leslie is survived by Alice and Johanna and a host of beloved cousins, nieces, nephews and in-laws in the U.S., Canada, Switzerland and Israel.

Leslie came to the United States to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1960. Upon graduation, he was hired by his MIT professor Dr. Lan Jen Chu. Over the next 39 years, he worked for Chu Associates in Littleton MA, Teledyne-Adcom and the U.S. Transportations Systems Center, both in Cambridge MA, the Communications Satellite Corporation in Washington DC, and the MITRE Corporation in Bedford MA. His work focused on antenna design and satellite communications for commercial and military applications, international communications standards, and conceptual design of next-generation satellite communication systems. He retired from MITRE in 1999. Leslie became a U.S. citizen in 1969. A change in Canadian citizenship law in 2009 restored the Canadian citizenship he had lost on becoming a U.S. citizen, making him officially Canadian-American.

He was a person of wide-ranging interests. He discovered classical music at a very young age and was a deeply perceptive life-long lover both of recorded sound and of live concerts of works ranging from 14th and 15th century composers such as Ockeghem and Desprez to the greats of the Baroque and Classical eras to the French Romantics (Les Nuits d’été of Berlioz was a favorite) to moderns such as Stravinsky and Schoenberg, and on to the sound adventures of contemporary composers. For years he enjoyed attending the Bach cantata cycles performed live at Emmanuel Church in Boston. He had an extensive music library, including musical scores, opera libretti and record reviews, and huge collections of music CDs and LPs.

He loved maps and dictionaries and acquired them steadily throughout his life. He enjoyed some memorable trips with his family to Europe, Tanzania, and the Philippines. He loved the art of many eras and traditions. A large poster of a 4000-year-old Cycladic idol hangs in his office, along with reproductions of Vermeer and Fabritius. He admired Ukiyo-e woodblocks and the traditional porcelains and pottery-ware of China and Japan. An ancient Raku bowl, broken and repaired with gold leaf highlighting the shards, made a deep impression on him. He loved the art of the First Nations peoples, in particular Inuit soapstone carvings and block prints.

He had a joyful and infectious sense of humor and deep intellectual curiosity. For years he audited biology and genetics courses at MIT, and pursued his interest in relativity theory and quantum mechanics to his last days, when he was still pondering Bell’s Theorem. On March 1, twelve days before his death, he was circulating among his friends an online lecture by the German physicist Sabine Hossenfelder on quantum gravity. He read widely and had special admiration for the novels of Franz Kafka and Philip Roth. He enjoyed ‘The Onion’, quoted Shakespeare, was an avid reader of history, detective stories, spy stories, thrillers. He took step aerobics classes well into his 80s. In his last years he became a devotee of YouTube shows on Chinese cooking and the intricacies of watch repair.

He outlived many of his friends, though some dear friends remain. He felt those losses keenly, as his friendships, like his family relationships, were steadfast and endured over decades. He was loving, good-humored, witty, interested in others, curious about the world, an observer who savored the surprises and oddities of human nature and life in general.

Friends and family may wish to consider donations to either of Leslie’s two favorite, life[1]transforming charities, Operation Smile, https://www.operationsmile.org/ and Smile Train, https://www.smiletrain.org/, or to Sarasa Chamber Music Ensemble, whose concerts brought him joy, https://www.sarasamusic.org/support.

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