On Tuesday, July 9, Ric Klass of Rye, N.Y. After receiving a bachelor of science in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from MIT in 1968, he worked as a guidance and controls engineer for the Apollo Project at McDonnell Douglas, North American Rockwell, and Northrop Corporation. In the evenings, he attended the University of Southern California and earned a master’s degree in aerospace engineering in 1970. As a member of the team that participated in the Apollo 11 mission, the spaceflight that landed the first man on the moon in 1969, Mr. Klass received an Apollo Achievement Award from NASA. He then returned to the East Coast to attend Harvard Business School, where he earned an MBA in 1972.
Mr. Klass moved to Washington, D.C., and became director of market research for Carl Freeman & Associates, Inc., a publicly owned real estate development company. He was also a financial consultant to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
From 1975 to 1987, he was founder, president, and chairman of Magna Group, Inc., a real estate development company, which developed 14 subdivisions in the Washington area. At Georgetown University’s School of Business Administration, from 1983 to 1987, he was an adjunct professor and taught a course in Entrepreneurship.
After moving to New York in 1990, he became managing director of corporate finance for M.S. Farrell & Co., Inc. But he returned to teaching, earning a master’s in education from Mercy College in 2003. He taught mathematics in public high schools in the Bronx, including a Gates Foundation-supported school. He wrote a memoir based on his experiences, Man Overboard: Confessions of a Novice Math Teacher in the Bronx.
As a student at MIT and Harvard, he was the movie reviewer for the school newspapers, and in the 1980s he was the film reviewer for two small Washington newspapers. In 1989, he took the plunge and wrote, produced and directed a full-length feature film, Elliot Fauman, Ph.D, which premiered at The Kennedy Center and later ran on Cinemax.
Returning to filmmaking, he wrote, produced and directed Excuse Me For Living, a romantic comedy based on his novel of the same name; both the film and the novel were released in October 2012. The cast included Christopher Lloyd, Jerry Stiller, Robert Vaughn and Wayne Knight. Earlier this year, he was the recipient of three book awards: his novel Excuse Me For Living won first place for fiction in the Los Angeles Book Festival and was a finalist for ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year, in the adult fiction category. Man Overboard was a Montaigne Medal finalist in the Eric Hoffer Book Awards for the most thought-provoking title.
Richard Loren Klass was born in Columbus, Ohio, on Jan. 6, 1946.He graduated from Bexley High School in 1964. His mother, the former Helen Rosenthal, was a homemaker; and his father Louis owned Hilltop Jewelers and Bexley Office Machines in Columbus. He worked side by side with his father, whose confidence in him made Mr. Klass feel that he could do anything. In 1979, he married the former Anne Stadler, who was a publicist at Newsweek. Besides his wife, he is survived by a son Joe of Morgantown, West Virginia, and a daughter Hayley of Rye. His older brother Jim predeceased him. He was a member of the Writers Guild of America East and the Authors Guild.
Memorial contributions may be made to MIT, for the Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship Fund. Checks should be payable to MIT and mailed to Bonny Kellermann ‘72, Director of Memorial Gifts; 600 Memorial Drive, W98-500; Cambridge, MA 02139. Please include a note stating that your gift is in memory of Richard Klass.