Lillian Fletcher Klein

12 June, 192614 December, 2022
Obituary of Lillian Fletcher Klein
Lillian Fletcher Klein departed this life on Wednesday, December 14, 2022, at the age of 96. A lifelong resident of Indianapolis, she was born in Methodist Hospital at 4:50 a.m. on Saturday, June 12, 1926. She was the younger of the two daughters of Jesse Fletcher and Mary Elizabeth (Gardner) Fletcher. Lillian’s older sister, Mary Elizabeth, had just celebrated her second birthday the week before Lillian made her debut. The Fletcher sisters were the great-great-granddaughters of Indianapolis pioneer, Calvin Fletcher. Jesse Fletcher died in 1929, when Lillian was only three years old. Mother and daughters then went to live with the girls’ maternal grandparents, Fred and Cara (Davis) Gardner. Lillian began her education in the 4-year-old kindergarten at Orchard Country Day School, graduating a decade later in 1940. During her Orchard years, Lillian acquired the nickname of “Poppy" , a moniker by which she was known to generations of friends, relatives, and neighbors. Lillian missed her entire freshman year of high school, due to illness. After her recuperation, she entered Shortridge High School. In just three years, she completed all of the required courses for an academic diploma. She was able to graduate in 1944 with her contemporaries. While at Shortridge, she met Robert Berner Klein. He was president of the junior class, captain of the football team, and a member of both the basketball and track teams. For his prowess on the football field, Robert was nicknamed “Gipper,” a reference to the Notre Dame football legend. Robert enlisted in the Marine Corps and spent three years serving his country, including a tour of duty on the island of Iwo Jima. After Gipper’s return from military service, Poppy and he reconnected. Both attended Indiana University in Bloomington. She was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. He was a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. A memorable event for Lillian during her college years was a visit to her art class by Frank Lloyd Wright. Poppy graduated from IU in 1948, with double majors in French and History of Fine Art. Early in life, Poppy was a member of Tabernacle Presbyterian Church. In later years, she attended services at Second Presbyterian Church. Lillian and Robert were married at Woodstock Club on November 11, 1950. Early in their marriage, Poppy became a member of the Junior League of Indianapolis and the Dramatic Club. She also joined the Indianapolis Propylaeum, Progressive Club, and the National Society of The Colonial Dames in America. For several years during the 1950s, Lillian volunteered for the March of Dimes. In 1958, she led a group of more than 6,000 women in the Marion County Mothers’ March on Polio. In the 1970s and 1980s, she participated in several marches advocating for women’s rights. Over the years, Lillian worked at Peck & Peck clothing store, Walker Research, and the Indiana Legislative Services of the State of Indiana. She was the caregiver for Florence Goodrich Dunn for many years. In her leisure hours, Poppy enjoyed attending art exhibits and making ceramics. In 1963, Gipper and Poppy welcomed daughter Kathryn into the family. When Kathryn was grown and engaged to be married, Gipper and Poppy moved to a condominium for their retirement years. Sadly, Gipper died shortly after their move to the Lions Head community. Lillian remained in her Lions Head home until her final days. She was a beloved member of the community for three decades. In addition to her husband, Lillian was preceded in death by her parents, Jesse Fletcher and Mary Elizabeth (Gardner) Fletcher, her sister, Mary Elizabeth “Teedee” (Fletcher) Benham (Mrs. Hal T. Jr.), her brother-in-law, Carl J. Klein Jr., and her nephew, Robert L. Klein. Lillian is survived by her daughter, Kathryn (Klein) Furnish (Steven); grandsons, Michael R. Furnish and Mason T. Furnish; nephews, Hal T. Benham III (Dianne) and Jeffrey W. Klein; nieces, Mary Fletcher (Benham) Palmer (David), Sally Gardner (Benham Town), and Susan (Klein) Page. A memorial gathering for Lillian will be held Thursday, December 22, 2022, from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM at Crown Hill Funeral Home & Cemetery, 700 W. 38th St., Indianapolis, Indiana 46208, followed by a memorial service at 1:00 PM. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Klein family.

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Thursday, 22 December, 2022

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