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This site is dedicated in the loving memory of son, brother, grandson and friend, John.
We want to share with you some memories, photos and things from John.

3/3/83 to 4/8/97
John E. Klimbach was born in Pompton Plains, New Jersey on the evening of March 30, 1983, two weeks earlier than predicted.
The first born to Audrey and John Klimbach. We lived in a small house in Wayne, NJ.
A few years later his sister Kaitlyn was born and so was a rich and loving relationship.
That same year, we moved to Conyers, GA the day after Halloween.
John attended Ebenezer Pre-school and then Barksdale Elementary where he made many lasting friendships.
Rezoning moved John into Memorial Middle School.
He would have graduated a senior this year, Salem Class of 2001.


Heaven’s newest angel was an angel here on earth
Who made everyone who knew him always feel their worth.
Short on hate but long on love,
It appears, John was our connection with the Lord above.
He was a lighthearted boy with an effervescent smile
And the world has been fortunate to have held him for awhile.
Being a kidder and a teller of jokes was a part of what he was about.
Yet, in a more dedicated vain, he was a proud devoted American Boy Scout.
A child of the water, he enjoyed skiing & swimming & catching a fish.
A budding writer, he was a light and the answer to any parents “I want a son” wish.
A brother, a son, a grandson and so much more,
John was genuine to his very core.

It is in fact that we are all born to eventually die.
Perhaps that’s why our first sound is screeching cry.
From life’s beginnings until its end,
We grow, we live, we make amends.
Some have many years to accomplish this task
While others much less and “Why?”, we ask.
And then, others, such as John, seem so vital and immortal.
But are we being selfish to not want them to leave to enter Heaven’s portal?!
The questions are many, the answers are few and difficult to explain.
Only time can, and will , eventually ease our pain.
For now, we must seek comfort in knowing John is at rest.
Sitting next to, I’m certain, our God, who by our loss, is blessed.
With His daily handling of so many hardships, tribulations and trials,
Could it be a weary Lord is also in need of John’s strong faith and sweet smile?!
By all those that knew him, John will be missed and forever more our hearts will feel broke.
But, maybe, just maybe, because Our Father carries such a heavy load, He’s in need of John and a corny joke!

Yes, heaven’s newest angel was an angel here on earth
And having been touched by his spirit, I have increased my own self worth.

by Sandra Rodrick
April 10, 1997

Kaitlyn's loving tribute to John, written at age ten,
and presented by her at John's memorial service

Many thought that John was a Jr., but he was not.
He has his father’s first name, which is also his grandfather’s middle name (in German, Johann),
and his middle name is his great-grandfather's first name, Emil.
One of our jokes was calling him John E. (Johnny).
John was also a “sole surviving son,” which means he was the last male in
the Klimbach family to carry on the family name.

John wrote this poem. His grandfather has it framed
with pictures of the three of us.

Our son is one of those special kinds of people that make you feel
glad that you got to meet him.
He always wore a smile and had a joke.
John could make friends with anybody, young or old.
John was a busy kid and always on the go.
He liked to get his friends together and go biking on the trails.
John loved the pool and riding around the neighborhood on his bike.
He bought that bike with his own money, earning it by mowing the lawn and
keeping the grounds around the tennis courts, clubhouse and pool.
Here’s what he wrote about the “Hood”:

by J. Klimbach

When you wake up in the morning, you see the sun shining through the window of your room. You get dressed, baggy jeans shorts over a swim suit and a T-shirt, and go down for breakfast. The little round Cherios you eat do not exactly fill you up, so you scarf down a blueberry bagel. The thought process is still not going yet, and you do not know what to do, so you sit down and think of things you could do. It is still to early to call your friend, Will. You decide to go biking. You open the garage door and a rush of cool, clean, morning air hits you like a ton of bricks. This makes you want to start your day with a vengeance. You bring out your GT Performer, the coolest bike in the neighborhood, leave a note saying you will be gone for the day, and head for the trails.

The trails are just some worn paths in the woods, but you love them. The thrill of riding these fast-paced routes sends a shiver up your spine. You feel like the trails are your domain. You know them like the back of your hand. Here the pine trees are so dense that any sound is just absorbed into the needles.

There is a special place you like to go. It is a tree stand about thirty feet off the ground. You like to go there and look for deer.

You bike around for about three hours, then you go to Will’s house. You hang around there for a while, and then both of you decide to go to the pool. You hop on your bikes and ride there. You take the back way, crossing the dam. When you cross the dam you look out over the lake. The lake is like another sky, a perfect mirror image in the water. An overwhelming feeling of peace comes over you as the serenity of the scene hits you. You both stop, mesmerized. Then, as if on cue, the moment is broken as Mamie, the neighborhood dog, comes running up to you. She is almost gagging on the ever-present tennis ball that she carries in her mouth. Neither of you want to stop to throw the spit laden ball, so you keep on going to the pool. You see that two of your friends are already there, so you park your bikes and join them. You start a football game. After a while you get hot in the sun and jump in the pool. The water feels good against your hot, sweaty skin. You all swim and jump off the diving board together. Soon the pool is pretty crowded and many kids want to join your not-yet-ended football game. You don’t let them though. After a grueling battle, you end the game, for it was too dark to see the ball anymore. A tie was called and you jumped into the pool to cool off. The pool closed so you left, taking the long way home, for dinner.

John had many interests, one of them being astronomy.
Many a cold night you could spot him on the driveway setting up his telescope
to try and catch the best view of the winter sky.
John had a musical interest trying his hand at several different instruments.
One of our fondest memories was of John and his pals at
Barksdale Elementary School when they all “played” cardboard instruments.
One glorious night they were rock-and-roll stars as they did their own version of “Bad to the Bone”.
At Barksdale’s talent show Chase, Will, Jason and John were superstars!

John’s greatest love was water. I suppose I always realized that.
When he was a baby a bath is what would calm him.
He was the first one to jump in the pool at our mom-and-me swim classes when he was 18 months old.
His favorite time of year was summer when he could experience water sports galore.
In our house opening day at the Deer Run Pool was a big event.
John kept us informed of how many days it was till opening day.
Each season it was his personal goal to be the first person in the pool
and the last person to get out on closing day.
John was our boating fanatic and loved all the toys that came with it.
He was a wonderful first mate to his dad.

John was a competitive swimmer.
He swam for the “Deer Run Dolphins” and the “Rockdale Riptides”.
It’s too bad that swimming was not a recognized sport in Rockdale Public Schools at that time.
He has tons of medals and trophies,
almost always finishing in the top three positions in each heat and most meets.
He swam in all events, but his favorite was the 100 meter freestyle,
a mere sprint for him.
In his last swim meet, still 13 years old, his time in his favorite event was 01:00:03,
a personal best and just three tenths of one second short of the
magic one minute mark and nomination into the prestigious one-minute-club.
We celebrated and knew it was as good as accomplished.

John was a loving son and brother and there isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t think of him.
We reach into our hearts and know he is with us, guiding us along to try new
things and experience them with his same enthusiasm.
There are lots of things we will never know like what college he would attend,
what his major would have been
(although we always said he would be an astronaut or an oceanographer),
who he would have dated or married.
Whatever he would have chosen we know he would have made a contribution to this world that we all would be proud of.
But, you know what, he already accomplished that by being who he was.

John’s presence and gifts live on in so many ways.
His gift of life, as an organ donor, touched many people’s lives.
His heart, kidneys, eyes, and more gave others new beginnings as only that
precious a gift can bring, a promise of a better life for the recipients.

We love and miss you John, and always will.

Mom, Dad and Kaitlyn

We want to thank all our family and friends who help to keep
John’s memory alive and for all your support and prayers.
It means so much for us to hear,
“Hi Mr. and Mrs. Klimbach” from John’s friends as if he were still here.

If there is something to learn from John’s tragic and untimely death,
it is that John made a terrible mistake that day four years ago.
He did not come to us with his problems at school but rather tried to solve them himself.
God gave us parents to teach and guide us so we would not be alone on life’s path.
Talk to someone. You may be surprised who will listen.
Nothing, nothing is so bad that can’t be resolved no matter how hopeless it may seem at that moment.
John’s family and friends are paying the price of the loss and tragedy
of John not being here with us today.
Life is fragile, take care of your bodies and souls.
Death is permanent, not an escape or resolution, nor should it be an option.

A collection of family photos

Other links

Created 4/15/2001

Thanks to Randy Harrison for permission to use his beach photographs as backgrounds for these web pages.
Randy Harrison retains rights to these copyrighted images.
All Rights Reserved.