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Rev. James F. Kleffman

Deceased: 2021-02-16


ICTE Spring: 1997

Reverend James F. Kleffman, age 86, of Council Bluffs, passed away on February 16, 2021, at Elm Crest Senior Living Center in Harlan, Iowa.

Fr. Kleffman was born June 3, 1934, the youngest of ten children on a farm near Portsmouth, Iowa to the late John and Frances (Rau) Kleffman. He graduated from St. Francis High School, Council Bluffs in 1952. Fr. Kleffman spent his freshman year of college at Creighton University. Upon entering the Diocesan Seminary, he attended Loras College, graduating with a B.A. in 1956. Fr. Kleffman attended major seminary at Mount Saint Bernard Seminary, and was ordained to the Priesthood for the Diocese of Des Moines on June 5, 1960. His assignments from 1960-1968 included: Atlantic, Earling, West Des Moines and a teaching assignment at Dowling High School. In 1968 Fr. Kleffman entered the Unites States Army Chaplaincy, serving at Ft. Riley, Kansas, Tay Ninh, Vietnam and Bremerhaven, Germany until 1972. Returning to civilian life, Fr. Kleffman served in Des Moines and Council Bluffs. In 1979, Fr. Kleffman returned to the Army Chaplaincy and was assigned to Worms, Germany until 1982 when he was assigned to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. until 1986. He was then assigned to Camp Humphries in Korea for one year and then to Fort Ord, California. He returned to civilian life in 1995 serving, Missouri Valley, Red Oak and Imogene until his retirement in 2003. In retirement, Fr. Kleffman served as needed in many Southwest Iowa Parishes and with Catholic Relief Services. Most recently, Fr. Kleffman made his home in Harlan, Iowa.

In addition to his parents, Fr. Kleffman was preceded in death by his siblings, Ralph, Harry, Walter, Charlotte, Alice, Harold, Norbert and Richard.

Fr. Kleffman is survived by his sister, Mary Ann Schueller and her husband, Leon of Dawson, Minnesota and many nieces, nephews and friends.

Open visitation, Sunday and Monday from 8:00 a.m.- 9:00 p.m. at Cutler-O’Neill-Meyer-Woodring Bayliss Park Chapel in Council Bluffs. A private Funeral Mass will be held on Tuesday at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Portsmouth, Iowa with burial following in St. Mary’s Cemetery. Military honors will be tendered by the Portsmouth American Legion Post #547.

Memorial contributions are suggested to St. Albert High School, 400 Gleason Ave., Council Bluffs, IA 51503.