Mark Theodore Klempner was pronounced dead on March 3, 2019, after a fall at the Mt. Toby Nature Preserve in Sunderland, MA. He lived at 136 Conway St. in Greenfield, MA. He was 63 years old and known as an educator, historian and social commentator. He is survived by two children, David and Michaela Klempner-Siano, and a sister, Diane Klempner.
Mark was born in Washington D.C., raised in the Bronx, and spent his teen-age years in Schenectady, NY. He aspired to be a musician like Pete Seegar and took off across the country, busking in Boston, seeking enlightenment in a commune in San Diego and working as a studio musician in Los Angeles and later for the Walt Disney Company.
He shifted directions in the 90’s, enrolling in Cornell University with a Fulbright Fellowship and graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1997. Then Mark enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he graduated with a Masters in Folklore in 2000. There he began a project to gather the oral histories of Dutch heroes who rescued Holocaust survivors fleeing from the Nazis. This culminated in the publication of “The Heart Has Reasons: Holocaust Rescuers and Their Stories of Courage” by the Pilgrim Press in 2006.
Concurrently, Mark worked as a freelance writer/editor. His work was published in the Christian Science Monitor, the Baltimore Sun and other newspapers and periodicals. He has blogged for The Huffington Post and contributed to Alternet.org and CommonDreams.org.
Mark and his wife, Cara Siano Klempner, spent a decade in Costa Rica, where their children were born. They were divorced in 2013. For several years, he taught English at the Blue Valley School in San Jose.
This year, he returned to the United States and moved to his current address in Greenfield. He was overjoyed to return to the States and quickly made many friends. His sudden death is beyond tragic.
The funeral service for Mark will be held on 11 a.m., Sunday, March 10, at the Levine Memorial Chapel at 649 Washington Avenue, Albany, 12206.
There will be a motorcade to bring Mark to his final resting place at the Temple Gates of Heaven Cemetery. That location is 2045 Watt Street, Schenectady, 12304.
Following the burial, we will sit shiva at the home of Diane Klempner, 864 Whitney Drive, Schenectady, NY.
Those who cannot attend the funeral are to join a memorial service at Congregation B’nai Israel in Northampton, MA on Wednesday, March 13, at 5:30 p.m.
If you wish to make contributions in memory of Mark Klempner, please direct them to the International Rescue Committee or to Chabad-Lubavitch.