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Memorial Service Planned for KO Coach Kling

Former Keystone Oaks teacher and coach Dave Kling, who died in December, will be honored with a memorial service on Jan. 19.

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.

Do you have photos or memories of Dave? Share photos here by clicking the "Upload Photos & Videos" button, and share thoughts or a few words for the family in the comments section.

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.

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Jason D Flaherty January 08, 2013 at 07:58 PM
This is how I remember this man. When I turned to the other side by becoming a problem at K.O. Instead of the continuation of sports and education, he sat me down everyday and just put to what I thought was to much effort into me. I see now what he and Durham wanted from us and now I wish I listened. I honestly say I looked up to his daughter and son in school because they stood for what their dad stood for. One thing I do remember at wrestling camp (Edinboro ) in the summer, he was the coach every kid talked about. "Coach", thank you!!!
Sean Bryson January 09, 2013 at 04:41 AM
Coach Kling was first rate, first class, and a hell of a competitor. He was my coach's coach (Rich Bonnacoursi). What a tradition KO Wrestling has largely in part due to him. I too miss the Edinboro days when he would demonstrate the POLISH HOP on me. My ankle hasn't been the same since. Way to soon-but rest in peace coach. Sean Bryson USC '91.
Laura Hodson Trushel January 09, 2013 at 03:15 PM
Mr. Kling was my 10th grade social study teacher. I loved that class, as I believe everbody did. You really learned something and it was fun and interesting because of Mr. Kling. He called me to his desk after class one day after we took a test. I had not finished one of the questions completely and he asked me one question to which I gave him the wrong answer and he said sorry.. I have to give you the B. I respected him for that and knew that I had the wrong answer... he looked disappointed and I will never forget that. He wanted me to do better. I am so happy I got to tell him a few years ago at one of the KO Wrestling Fund Raisers that he made it to, how much he inspired me and that I will always think of him as one of the best, if not the best teacher I ever had. RIP Mr. Kling.
Jan R. Garrett January 09, 2013 at 06:55 PM
Dave Kling was a roommate of mine at IUP in the Old Theta Chi House that later burnt down. He was a fun fraternity brother to be around. He was also one of the best wrestlers I have ever seen.He notched his bunk after every win. The bunk almost collapsed because there were so many wins the notches weakened the bunk.I was a QB growing up, but onetime in a THETA CHI intramurel game Dave threw me a perfect spiral for a touchdown the year our brothers won it all. His confidence rubbed off on me. I am now a retired teacher and coach from Warren Area High School. Thanks Dave for being a friend and a brother. I only wish that I could have seen more of you, but we all parted ways after college to help others in life. Knowing you Dave, you did one heck of a job helping others succeed. You are now on God's wrestling team in heaven on the biggest mat of all. Jan R. Garrett
bob bell January 10, 2013 at 11:04 PM
dave was more like a brother to me then a brother in law bob bell

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