She is worth more than precious gems. These paraphrased words come from the example of a virtuous woman in Proverbs 31.
Elsie Herta Vetter Kleffman was worth far more than rubies. Born in Chicago, Illinois on February 13, 1929, of German immigrants, Karl Arthur Vetter and Emma Mayer Vetter, Elsie grew up in the east side of Chicago. As a young child Elsie’s heart was drawn to seek and know almighty God. In her search, she began attending Sunday School and soon brought her younger cousins along, traveling with them by streetcar to church. As she grew, she grew in her faith and understanding of God’s ways and sought to live for Him.
After graduating from High School, Elsie attended Wilson Junior College for a year because she was not old enough to begin training for a Registered Nurse at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chicago. While studying at college, Elsie caught the eye of a young man, Richard Kleffman, who adjusted his schedule to be in her college choir class. It wasn’t long before they began dating, seeking to grow together in God’s goodness and love.
In 1950, Elsie graduated from nurses training at St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing and soon after married the love of her life, Richard Kleffman. Together, they served the Lord and raised their five children in God’s ways, living before them what they believed and taught.
Throughout her life, Elsie found joy in serving the Lord and others. Loving small children, Elsie taught Sunday School, and helped in Jr. Church. She often acted as either camp nurse or head cook and dishwasher at youth camps, for both church and even local school camps. Elsie used her gifts and gave of her time to serve even the marginalized.
Another way that she used her gifts to serve others was through her hand work. Elsie was truly a Proverbs 31 woman and a gifted artisan who sewed, knitted, crocheted, and did cross stitch.
She loved to share her handwork with others. Her afghans, potholders, kitchen towels, and even Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls adorn the homes of her children, grandchildren and friends. Elsie’s crocheted kitchen towels are spread around the world as she took every opportunity to share them with missionaries and international pastors.
Elsie loved babies and worked part time at night as a RN in newborn nursery. But that wasn’t enough! Fostering newborn babies, Elsie gave them a home after birth but before adoption. One special baby with congenital heart issues, Robert John, stayed so long that Elsie and the family fell in love with him and eventually adopted him.
Known as a prayer warrior, Elsie kept a notebook full of prayer letters from missionaries, as well as pictures of family and friends.
She fervently prayed for her family, friends, and God’s work around the world, touching lives through her earnest prayers. We who loved her knew that we could count on her prayers for any situation.
Elsie is preceded in death by her husband and best friend, Richard Kleffman, her son, Leslie Kleffman, and her son-in-law, Gerald Burns. Surviving are her children, Linda (Bert) Wright, Bonnie (Ron) Gouge, Karen (Mark) Frasard, Bob (Stephanie) Kleffman, her daughter-in-law, Jean Kleffman, and her multitude of grandchildren and great grandchildren who stand and bless her and count it a privilege and deep joy to have been hers.
Proverbs 31:28-30 Her children rise up and call her blessed……A woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 am Saturday, March 11, 2023 at Wilmore Free Methodist Church in Wilmore, KY with Rev. Matt Elser and Rev. Dwight Winter officiating.
Visitation will be 10:00 am until service time.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are preferred to World Gospel Mission- https://www.wgm.org/project/png-church-planting or mail to World Gospel Mission 3783 E. State Rd 18 Marion, Indiana 46952, reference PNG Church Plant-21431 in memo line.
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