When Bill Urbanek was a senior at Keystone Oaks High School, Mr. Kling was the new, “cool” teacher and, as Urbanek recalls, everyone wanted to be in his class.
Dave Kling was young, a Dormont High School graduate, and starting with the 1971-72 school year, he was a well-respected and well-like teacher, coach and mentor at Keystone Oaks.
“He always brought a lot of positive attention to Keystone Oaks,” Urbanek said. “He touched hundreds of lives directly, and perhaps thousands indirectly. It’s probably trite to use the phrase, but he was one of those bigger-than-life people.”
Kling, who relocated to Florida after his retirement in 2003, died during the last week of December. A memorial service is planned at Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church on Jan. 19.
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Like Kling, Urbanek stayed with Keystone Oaks. He returned to the district as an English teacher in 1983, and finished his career as the Superintendent of Keystone Oaks School District, retiring in 2011.
He said Kling is one of the few people he worked with that he never heard a bad thing about.
Kling coached wrestling for 30 seasons at Keystone Oaks. He ranks fourth in WPIAL history with 381 wins and a record of 381-152-2. He also coached football and track, and was a social studies teacher.
“I think one of the things about Dave was that he held everyone to a high standard, whether in his classroom or in athletic competition, and then he would do everything he could to help those individuals reach the goal he’d set for them,” Urbanek said.
John Durham, a former Keystone Oaks football coach and retired math teacher who worked with Kling on and off the field, said Kling was nothing short of inspirational, to teachers as well as students.
“He is what I thought all coaches should be. He was an outstanding classroom teacher also,” Durham said. “He was one you could model yourself after, and I certainly tried to.”
In addition to being an inspirational coach and teacher, Kling also was something of a “closet intellectual,” Durham said. Kling could easily recite Shakespeare and Robert Frost, but Durham said this, like his other achievements, was not something Kling bragged about.
“I can remember so many times he spoke to me about all his students. Not just the best, but the ones who were struggling," Durham said. "He really had a feel for working with all of them and you could see that in his teaching and his coaching."
Urbanek attributed that quality to Kling’s ability to trust and believe in people. He would know, he said—Kling taught him everything he knows about wrestling.
“We coached football for a number of years together, then he asked me to join the wrestling staff. I said, ‘Everything I know about wrestling is from studio wrestling on T.V. I don’t think you want to hire me,’” Urbanek said. “He just said, ‘Don’t worry about it. I’ll teach you everything you need to know. And he did. He took a chance on me, and that’s how he was with people. He would trust people, and help them when they needed help.”
Memorial Service Information:
*Thank you to Patch readers for providing this information.
- Where: Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church, 3319 West Liberty Avenue.
- When: Saturday, Jan. 19. See the Dave Kling Memorial Facebook page for details.
- Time: Starting at 11 a.m., friends are welcome to visit with the family at the church. A memorial service will begin at 1 p.m.
- Details: The family would appreciate donations to St. Jude’s Hospital. You can call 1-800-822-6344 and reference Tribute Number 32506394. Questions concerning the service may be directed to Rev. Joan Reasinger at 412-913-0966.