Education professor emeritus remembered as outstanding educator

Ray Kluever was a man inspired by things that sparked his curiosity.

“When he got interested in something, he got very interested in it,” says longtime friend Kathy Green, a professor in the Morgridge College of Education.

Kluever, a DU professor emeritus of education, died April 15 at the age of 78.

“He would investigate [something] until he became an expert in it,” says Raymond Ross (MA ’85, PhD ’92), a friend and former student, noting Kluever would study subjects including woodcarving, the Chinese language, accounting and computers.

Kluever was responsible for opening the computer lab in the education building.

“The thing about him was you could see it [curiosity] in his eyes,” Green says. “They just sparkled.”

Kluever particularly loved photography and the outdoors, passions that he combined by driving cross-country to photograph landmarks like canyons, barns and bridges.

Friends describe him as an “excellent” photographer as well as a generous one — Kluever would make calendars as gifts for friends and family with pictures he had taken.

Generosity also took other forms in Kluever’s life: he served in the U.S. Army from 1953–55 before being honorably discharged, and was a school psychologist in the Appleton, Wis. public school system from 1958–69. Kluever earned a BS in education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, an MS in educational psychology from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and a doctorate in communication disorders from Northwestern.

He joined DU in 1969. Practicality might best describe his teaching style, Green says. “He would just say, ‘Here’s what you want to do, and here’s what you need to know.’”

He didn’t care as much about following the curriculum as much as he did having his students truly understand the subject. “He wasn’t a teacher,” Ross says. “He was an educator. He wanted us to have a thorough understanding.”

For Ross, Kluever’s dedication was apparent during the pair’s first encounter in 1985 discussing what program Ross might be interested in. Although it was meant to be a brief meeting, they talked for three hours. “By the time I left at 4 p.m., he had all my classes lined up,” Ross says. “It was like I had a home.”

Kluever is survived by his wife of 52 years, Marianne, and their sons, Donald and Kenneth.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, May 3 at 2 p.m. in the Chambers Center at DU. Donations may be made in his memory to the National Wildlife Refuge Association, 1010 Wisconsin Avenue, NW #2007, Washington D.C. or the Sierra Club, P.O. Box 52967, Boulder 80322.

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