WSU News

Doris and Ralph Klose Background

Doris Johnson Klose met Ralph Klose when they were University of Wichita students in the 1940s. She was from Beaumont, Kan., and commuted weekly to Wichita by train. While at WU, she played the trombone in the band. In 1944, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education, majoring in secondary education-business education. Doris and Ralph wed that same year. Ralph Klose earned a Bachelor of Business Administration, majoring in economics in 1948.

After graduation, Doris Klose taught math for several years at Horace Mann Junior High in Wichita, Kan. She later worked with her husband in several business ventures, which were run through their company, Cooper Inc. Enterprises, for which she was president until she retired in 1987.

Ralph Klose spent much of his career as city treasurer of Wichita, retiring in 1987.

In 1957, they started Wichita's first full-service laundry. They operated two laundromats, Fabric Care Center Laundromat and Quick-N-Easy Wash-O-Mat, which are still in operation today. The Kloses also owned the building and land that houses Toc's Coffeehouse. Through their company, they collaborated with Wichita State's Office of Cooperative Education and Work-Based Learning to give students career-related work experience.

"They lived humbly and worked hard," said Elizabeth King, WSU Foundation president and CEO. "Both Doris and Ralph were dedicated to their employees and building their business."

Doris Klose was a WSU Alumni Association annual member for 33 years and Ralph Klose was a member for 37 years. Through the WSU Foundation, she was a Fairmount Society Life Member and a President's Club Life Member. She was a member of Pi Kappa Psi Sorority.
Before Ralph Klose died on Oct. 21, 2007, he and his wife established a planned gift, earning them membership in the Society of 1895.

"As Ralph and Doris did not have children, the discussions regarding their estate plans usually centered around charities," said John Vetter, partner for Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP and the Kloses' attorney. "Even though the different charities providing services for pets and bequests benefitting other schools were discussed, the end result was always that WSU was to receive the bulk of their estate."

After Ralph Klose died, Doris Klose established the Doris and Ralph Klose Endowed Scholarship through the sale of their home in California. Doris Klose died Feb. 1, 2010. Prior to her death, she and her husband had donated more than $500,000 to Wichita State.

"The foresight of Ralph and Doris Klose in planning the gift through their estate is an inspiration to all of us," said Michael Lamb, WSU Foundation vice president for planned giving. "Following their example, everyone who cares about the future of WSU has the opportunity to include a gift to the program of choice in their estate plans."

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