In loving memory of

Ronald Klein
August 31, 2019

Madison - Ronald Klein (Ron), age 76, of Madison, Wisconsin, died on August 31, 2019.

Ron is survived by his wife, Dr. Barbara E. K. Klein, his son, Daniel, his daughter-in-law, Cassandra, and his grandson, Abram. He was preceded in death by his father, Eugene Klein, his mother, Rose Klein, his brother, Larry Klein and his son, Robert Klein.

Ron received his MD from New York University, completed residency training in Ophthalmology at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, and postdoctoral training in the Department of Ophthalmology, UW-Madison.

Ron's research was focused primarily on the epidemiology of eye disease with the goal to decrease the burden of visual impairment and blindness due to diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration. Ron was the co-principal investigator, with his wife and partner of 54 years, Barbara, of two population-based epidemiological studies, the Wisconsin Epidemiologic Study of Diabetic Retinopathy (WESDR, begun in 1979) and the Beaver Dam Eye Study (BDES, begun in 1987). The findings of both studies have been instrumental in improving medical and ophthalmologic care for persons with diabetes and for persons with age-related eye diseases. Along with Barbara, Ron co-directed the University of Wisconsin-Madison Ocular Epidemiology Reading Center where they were involved with developing and implementing protocols to grade ocular photographs for the severity of age-related macular degeneration and other eye diseases, and data analyses and paper writing from many large ongoing cohort studies and collaborations worldwide. Ron authored or co-authored over 1000 reports in peer-reviewed journals and over 50 book chapters.

Beyond that, Ron was a rabid New York Yankees fan, an avid reader, traveler, hiker, sailor, and photographer. He was a loving husband, father and grandfather and he will be dearly missed, but his legacy will hopefully benefit thousands, if not millions, of people suffering from diabetes and other age-related eye and systemic ailments in the years to come.

In lieu of flowers, please direct any donations to Brooklyn College or Agrace Hospice.

Cress Funeral & Cremation Services
3610 Speedway Road
(608) 238-3434


Steve Aldington wrote on Sep 23, 2019:

"Ron's passing will leave a hole in our lives professionally and personally. We first met over 35 years ago when I spent time in FPRC Madison to receive additional training. Ron's guidance, advice and friendship over the years has been a tremendous help in many difficult situations. Barbara and family mourn not his passing but rejoice in the time you had together. Steve Aldington, Gloucester and London UK"

Lori Skelton wrote on Sep 9, 2019:

"Thanks to a great soul for his all his gentleness, and the room he gave me to share wild flights of mental fantasy. Love to the family who shared him...may he continue to light your lives."

Dallas Johnson wrote on Sep 9, 2019:

"Sincere condolences to Dr. Barb Klein and family for the loss of such an amazing man. Dr. Ron Klein is a true hero in our family. He was admired for his outstanding achievements and noble qualities. It was the summer of 1980 shortly after my now late wife, Karyle Johnson gave birth to our daughter, Angie. Karyle, a child onset diabetic saw red in her eyes. It was well after regular hours when Dr. Klein told us to immediately travel from Baraboo to his Madison clinic where he said he?d leave the door open for us. He immediately began treatment to cauterize her ruptured blood vessels. Long hard story short, it was only because of Ron?s amazing skills and gentle humanity that Karyle was able to keep her eyesight and see our Angie grow up and watch our daughter?s wedding. Both Ron and Barb are so much more than physicians, they became a beloved part of our family. Ron was a true pioneer in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy and our true hero... Most sincerely, Dallas Johnson, Baraboo, WI Angie Straub, McFarland"

Barbara Stowe-Carpenter wrote on Sep 8, 2019:

"My deepest sympathy to Barb and her son. I had the pleasure to know this gentle giant both professionally and personally. He will be missed. His contributions to medicine are huge Sincerely, Barbara Stowe-Carpenter"