Bud Klein's generosity will be remembered


Stanford University and University of the Pacific philanthropist Bud Klein, an all-conference outfielder for the Cardinal in 1950, and whose efforts helped modernize two collegiate ballparks, passed away at his home on Thursday night. He was 83.

Klein was born July 28, 1927 and raised in Stockton, attending both the University of the Pacific and Stanford.

He is survived by his wife, Jane, son, Tom and his wife, Kate Kelly; Kathy and her husband, Steve Jackson; son, Steve; and daughter in law, Diane. His son, Richard, proceeded him in death. He also is survived by many grandchildren.

A private family service will occur next week with a celebration of life planned at a later date early this summer.

Klein played football at Pacific for Armos Alonso Stagg in 1946 and baseball in 1947 for the Tigers. He was then a fullback at Stanford in 1948 and 1949 and a leftfielder for the Indian baseball team for two years. He later served on the Stanford Athletics Board from 1991 to 1994.

The 1949 football team under Marchmont Schwartz went 7-3-1. Klein earned all-conference honors in 1950 following the team's California Intercollegiate Baseball Association title under Everett Dean.

Offered a contract with the Red Sox upon graduation, he instead chose to raise a family with his wife Jane. The couple had four children, Kathy, Tom, Dick and Steve. Tom received his undergraduate and Master's from Stanford, playing both rugby and football.

Both Stanford and Pacific benefited greatly from his family's generosity. The home parks for both the Tigers and Cardinal are named in the family's honor.

At Stanford, the varsity clubhouse (1996), press box (2001) and batting cages (2007) were all enhanced thanks to the family's efforts. In 2008, the Klein Family dedicated Klein Field at Sunken Diamond, in his honor.

In 2001, he set in motion Pacific's baseball field. Five years later, Klein Family Field, in 2006, opened.

Throughout his life, Bud and his family, never shied away from an idea.

In the 1950's, he took up the sport of volleyball, a sport he never played, at the local YMCA in Stockton. He went onto win a national tournament, playing in the Pan Am Games and World Tournament in Paris.

Klein's ingenuity led to the wine cooler. The story goes, that one day, he and his friends were going to the beach during California's initial love affair with white wine. He mixed a batch of Chablis and juice and the women in the group loved it. With the main ingredient at a premium, he bought enough to fill his new company for three years. Within two years, it had 94 different flavors.

In 1989, the family bought a winery, Rodney Strong. It so happened 60 Minutes ran a piece that same year on the benefits of red wine on the system.

The winery went from producing 69,000 cases of wine to 600,000 today. The family has also had interests in Kirkwood ski resort.

The family's roots trace back to the turn of the century, when Bud's father, Sol, moved from New York City to California.

Sol, came to Stockton in 1917 after growing up in an orphanage with his two brothers following the death of their mother in the Great Quake of 1906 in San Francisco.

Sol established a 16-team grammar school league, donated uniforms and helped found the Little League in Stockton. He was also the first president of the minor league team Stockton Ports.

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