John "Kenny" Kenneth Klinge
August 4, 1938 – October 27, 2021
J. Kenneth "Kenny" Klinge, a true Virginia gentleman, passed away peacefully with his wife Jean by his side on Wednesday, October 27,2021 in Basye, VA.
Born and raised in Arlington, VA, Kenny was a giant of Virginia politics and a national Republican political consultant who played an important leadership role in the political fortunes of former President Ronald Reagan. He was also an expert on transportation issues, both in the Washington, DC metropolitan area and nationally. He served as both a Special Assistant and Deputy Assistant Secretary to two Secretaries of Transportation during the Reagan Administration and led numerous transportation entities in the DC metro area during the 1990s and early 2000s.
Kenny was a leader of the Republican Party of Virginia during its modern ascension starting in the 1970's. As Executive Director of the RPV, he partnered with the late Dick Obenshain to lay the foundation for its electoral successes during that time, including the elections of Governors' Mills Godwin and John Dalton. He also was one of those chiefly responsible for the Republican Party's re- emergence in the early 1990's, serving as a senior leader for the winning campaigns of Governors' George Allen and Jim Gilmore, as well as Representative Tom Davis. His proudest moments on the national stage were his leadership positions for President Reagan's campaigns of 1976, 1980 and 1984. He served as regional political director in the first two campaigns and as Director of Special Projects for the re-elect in 1984. In addition, he was National Political Director for the National Republican Congressional Committee during the 1988 election cycle. The twin pinnacles of Kenny's work in the transportation arena were the modern expansion of Reagan National Airport while serving on the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and his successful efforts to expand Metro Rail out the Dulles Corridor during his tenure as Chairman of the Dulles Corridor Task Force. All who worked with him admired his focus, honesty, and transparency. On all issues both big and small, you knew where Kenny stood. His reputation for integrity and compromise preceded him wherever he went in life and underpinned thousands of relationships and successes.
For all his success in his professional life, Kenny's greatest joy was his family and the numerous friendships he developed and nurtured across the country. His love affair with his wife Jean was apparent to all who saw them together and he was also passionate about his role as a true patriarch of so many grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews. He poured so much love into leaving a legacy for the next generation. His longtime friends at Bryce Resort were truly family to Kenny. He loved playing golf, poker games late into the night and making the rounds and spreading cheer at the Copper Kettle. A loyal dedicated friend, he had a deep and lasting impact on all who knew him, both young and old. A natural raconteur, he loved to share stories of his many travels and experiences and kept people entertained for hours. As one of his closest friends said, God broke the mold when he made Kenny! Never was there a truer statement.
Kenny is survived by Jean Campbell Klinge, his wife of 44 years; his two sons, Michael (Shari) and John (Mel); brothers, Charles (Georgia) and Jonathan (Connie); grandchildren, John Klinge (Kylie) and Holly (T.J.); great-grandchildren, Jackson, Spencer, and Lincoln; his stepdaughter, Kendra Cipollina; and so many other beloved family members.
He is predeceased by his parents, Henry John and Bernice Klinge.
A celebration of Kenny's life will take place on Thursday, November 4 at 1 p.m., at Bryce Resort in Basye, VA.
In lieu of flowers please make donations to the Orkney Spring Fire and Rescue Squad, 922 Orkney Grade PO Box 374 Basye, VA 22810.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
John "Kenny" Kenneth Klinge
October 30, 2021
I was a lucky recipient of knowing Kenny for 46 of his 50 years in Republican Party politics - sometimes on different sides of intraparty candidates, but always in respect of his abilities and tenacity. RIP J. Kenneth Klinge. Your party and your country were the better for your participation in our public life. You were a good man. Bill
October 30, 2021
Kenny was such a star. I treasure the time we worked together at both the RNC and NRCC. A great mind a fabulous strategist and a wonderful friend. Molly joins me in sending our warmest thoughts and deepest sympathy to Jeanne.