Richard Dean Klitch

August 15, 1933January 31, 2021

Richard D. Klitch - born 8-15-33 deceased 1-31-21.

Dick lived a wonderful 87 years of life filled with love, laughter, family, friends, and sports. As a life-long athlete and tennis pro, Dick was more than a coach, he was a gifted teacher who taught life lessons through sports. He brought tennis, the sport that positively changed his life, to as many people as possible.

Dick was the youngest of six, born to Herman and Ida Klitch in Portsmouth, Ohio. His humble upbringing instilled integrity, humility, grit, and an incredible discipline and work ethic. These values, along with a fierce competitiveness and desire to teach and give back, were defining characteristics of his life.

He met Joan, his wife of 65 years, on a blind date at Miami University and their love story made national news when they made a bet that Joan, a Phi Beta Kappa student, couldn’t beat Dick, a two-sport athlete described as a “rangy cager,” by a full grade point. Dick proved to be up to the challenge by earning a 3.2 GPA. Joan paid up and the rest is history. Dick would later be inducted into the Miami University Hall of Fame in both tennis and basketball after a storied career in both sports, winning the MAC championship in basketball 3 out of 4 years and the MAC tennis championship his senior year in 1955.

Other honors included Dick’s induction into the Portsmouth High School Athletic Hall of Fame where he was the 1951 state tennis champion, the Flood Wall of Stars as a Portsmouth Ambassador, and also the Northam Park Tennis Wall of Honor in Upper Arlington. In Columbus, Ohio, where Dick worked and raised his family for over 60 years in the Grandview/Marble Cliff community, he helped establish the Gold Circle Tournament, later GCTA, coached more than 20 state champions (including daughter, Jenny, 1980), and developed numerous college and professional athletes. One of his proudest contributions was supporting grass-roots tennis programming that reached all communities throughout the greater Columbus area.

Dick was a voracious card player and actively played with all generations of his family up to the very end of his life. It was a rite of passage to beat “the white-haired guy” at any sport, game, or contest, which is how he spent much of his life with his kids and grandchildren. Dick spent his final years with Joan in Austin, Texas, living with son, Tim and his wife, Barbara, graciously surrounded by love and support.

Dick is preceded in death by his parents, Herman and Ida, siblings Katherine Klitch, Mary (Klitch) Bradfield, Robert Klitch and William Klitch, his children Beth Klitch (Larry Kirkpatrick) and Michael Klitch. He is survived by his wife, Joan, son Tim Klitch (Barbara), daughter Jenny Klitch (Brad Sprayberry), and daughter Jodi (Klitch) Bricker, sister Ruth (Klitch) Snyder, grandchildren Andrew Klitch, Matthew Klitch (Meghan), Daniel Klitch (fiancé Katie), Ryan (Molly), Colin (Sonia), and Austin (Maxie) Sprayberry, Natalie and Ella Bricker, Caroline Kren (Brian), Abby Kirkpatrick, and great-grandchildren Jonathan, Alexandra, and Elizabeth Kren.

A celebration of life will be held in Columbus, Ohio, at a later date when we can gather in person. In lieu of flowers, please consider paying it forward by encouraging, mentoring, or supporting a young person.


  • Celebration of Life

    Friday, September 17, 2021


Richard Dean Klitch

have a memory or condolence to add?

Laurie Kennedy

September 19, 2021

So very sorry to learn that Dick passed away last January. I know he was facing many struggles but how fortunate we were to have him for 87 years!! He was such an excellent tennis coach and literally taught me everything i know about how to play. He always made me feel special and he was one of my lifetime favorite people. Sending blessings to Joan and family. ❤️

james bertz

March 12, 2021

RIP my friend. Heart felt regrets to Joannie and family. In Hoc Brother. Sandy and Jim

Amy Weiffenbach Click

February 5, 2021

I have many wonderful and meaningful memories of Coach Klitch but two that stand out to me where when Coach Klitch was present for our state tennis championships and congratulated us with a dozen roses which are dried and in my scrapbook along with a photo commemorating the event and when I had the pleasure of having Coach Klitch speak at my Bexley Athletic Hall of Fame induction.
A fabulous gentlemen all the way around!

Chris Davis

February 3, 2021

There are no words to describe the immense positive impact Dick Klitch had on me. He believed in me as a tennis player when I first started the game. He was patient and encouraging when he gave me lessons. He shared valuable life lessons as well as tennis strategies and techniques with me as I moved into coaching and teaching. An early teaching memory included his confidence in my ability to teach by giving me a clinic of 8 beginning guys to instruct as my first tennis teaching assignment. (I was 16 years old). He continued to support and encourage the teams I coached imparting invaluable information to them over the years. His ability to communicate was unparalleled. (I think he could read your mind😳) and his choice of words was descriptive and thought provoking. He always made one think and smile during lessons. Most importantly, he , and his family , are more then special friends, they are family to me. Thank God for the well-lived , full life of Dick Klitch!

Terri Jones

February 3, 2021

It was an honor to care for Mr. Klitch. He was a kind and sweet man. My condolences go out to Joan and all the family and friends. He will be missed.

Jane Mcmeekin

February 2, 2021

Every time I step on a tennis court, I hear Dick’s voice in my head. There are a lot of tennis pros around, but there has never been a more effective teacher of tennis. His gentle soul and positive approach to interacting with a player he was teaching should have been bottled and sold. I will miss him.

Michael O'Callaghan

February 2, 2021

Getting hired by Dick Klitch in the early 70's to work at Columbus Indoor was a blessing. I got to watch and work with an outstanding teacher and person. Dick was an unofficial mentor to me in my public school teaching and coaching careers. My life has definitely been enhanced because of Dick Klitch.

Terry Finneran

February 2, 2021

During his tenure as head pro at Northam Park for so many years, I used to refer to him as "Captain of these seas of clay". Dick Klitch was a professional in every sense of the word and he garnered the respect and admiration of every one of the members there.
May God welcome him and bless the Klitch family.