He was 63.
A memorial service is planned at 3 p.m. Friday in the chapel of First Baptist Woodstock.
Elected to the Georgia House in 1990 as a Republican, Klein served until 1997.
Among those who served with him in the General Assembly was U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson.
Isakson said in 1990 there were 35 Republicans and a 145 Democrats in the Georgia House.
“I would say anybody getting elected as a Republican with those kind of odds would definitely qualify for being a pioneer,” Isakson said. “He was very thoughtful, hardworking, family oriented, was very big on adoption legislation, which is something he did a lot of as an attorney.”
Klein’s northeast Cobb district has changed over the years through redistricting to now be represented by John Carson.
“I’ll miss him as a friend,” Isakson said. “I’ll miss him as a thoughtful advisor, and I’ll miss him as a guy who advocated for the rights of children and the family. Just an all-around prince of a fellow.”
Klein’s Republican colleagues aren’t alone in admiring the man. State Sen. Steve Thompson (D-Marietta) had high praise for Klein.
“He’s a little bit more to the right than I was, but we understood that and it never interfered with our friendship at all,” Thompson said. “He was one of those people that understood that friendships continue where politics sometimes stop. He’s one of those guys at 5 o’clock that understood that we were friends and neighbors, and I guess the best way to describe him is a gentleman. He was a gentleman and a very bright guy, and his motivations were always in my opinion very sincere.”
Klein’s daughter, Shannon Klein, a member of the Lassiter High School Class of 2005 who now works as a legislative aide for Isakson, said the family was holding up as best they could.
“We’ve lost a great man and a great father, but we know that he’s with the Lord, and we’re relieved for him that he’s free of suffering as much as he’ll dearly be missed,” she said.
The manner in which Klein prioritized his life is one of the many things his daughter admires.
“He loved the Lord first, then my mother second, the girls third, and with every other ounce of time he had he served others and poured his life out to others while he was well,” Shannon Klein said. “He’s been battling Parkinson’s for the past 15 years, but that’s not what we remember. Instead, we remember the legacy of service and strength that he left behind.”
Klein was active in the community, chosen to be the envoy to Kuwait for the Atlanta Olympic Committee and to interact on a good will mission on behalf of the state in the European Parliament by the European Community Visitors Programme.
Born and raised in Atlanta, he earned degrees from the University of Virginia and the Dean Rusk School of Law at the University of Georgia. He practiced family law in Marietta and took great joy in bringing families together through adoptions, Shannon Klein said.
In 2000, he received the “Angels in Adoption” award for the State of Georgia.
Survivors include his wife of 36 years, Sharon; daughters, Tate Ferguson and her husband, David, Brittany Hunter and her husband, Alexander, and Shannon Klein; brother, Danny Klein, granddaughter, Austen Hunter, and extended family: his stepmother, Winifred Klein, stepsister, Caroline Alford, stepbrothers, Dan Boone, Major Boone, Carl Boone, Bill Boone, and Bob Boone.
“My father was one of the most good humored, loving and passionate men I’ve ever known,” Shannon Klein said.