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John Kleis, Bottling Firm Head, Dies

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John Kleis, Bottling Firm Head, Dies

Succumbs Following Automobile Accident Near Fort Wayne, Ind.

John R. Kleis, 76, founder of the Kleis Bottling Co. here, died yesterday afternoon following a traffic accident two miles north of Fort Wayne, Ind.

Allen County Sheriff’s Deputy Raymond Towsley said that Kleis died en route to St. Joseph Hospital in Fort Wayne.

The county coroner, Edgar Mendenhall, said he had ordered an autopsy to determine the cause of death as Kleis’ only apparent injury was a fractured leg. The coroner theorized that Kleis may have suffered a heart attack.

Collide At Intersection

Towsley said that Kleis’ car was headed north on US-27 when it collided with a car driven by Carl Petrie, 39, of Arvilla, Ind., traveling east on Indiana state road 324.

The intersection at which the two cars met is controlled by a traffic signal. Towsley said it had not been determined whether either driver, both alone, ran a red light. He said the accident would be investigated further.

Kleis’ body will be returned to Ann Arbor for funeral services and burial.

Mr. Kleis was born on Feb. 1, 1876, in Dubuque, la., a son of Christian and Pauline Fahl Kleis. He was married to Miss Jettie Fox in Dubuque on Oct. 24, 1901. She died on June 29, 1935.

Came To City In 1907

He came to Ann Arbor in 1907 and opened the Kleis Bottling Co., 331 S. Ashley St., in March of that year. He previously had been associated with his father and brothers in a bottling firm at Dubuque.

Since 1937, the beverage firm here has also been known as the Ann Arbor Coca-Cola Bottling Co., with Mr. Kleis serving as its president and treasurer.

He was a member of the following Masonic organizations: Washtenaw Chapter No. 6, R.A.M.; Golden Rule Lodge No. 159, F. & A. M.; Ann Arbor Council No. 86, R. & S. M.; Ann Arbor Commandery No. 13, Knights Templar; Zal-Gaz Grotto; and the Washtenaw Shrine Club. He was also a member of Ann Arbor Elks Lodge.

Survivors Listed

Survivors include a son, Harold A. of Ann Arbor; a sister, Miss Laura Kleis of Dubuque; three brothers, Otto of Des Moines, la., and Louis and Herman, both of Dubuque; one grandson and one granddaughter.

Funeral services will be held at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Muehlig Chapel, with Rev. Ellsworth Koons officiating. Members of the Golden Rule Lodge and the Ann Arbor Commandery will conduct graveside services at Washtenong Memorial Park after the services. Friends may call at the funeral home after today.

Mr. Kleis’ home was at 617 S. Main St.