Larry Kleinschmidt passed away peacefully in the company of his children, on Monday, July 20th, 2015 at Harris Hospital. A Fort Worth native, Larry was born to the owners of historic Kleinschmidt’s Cake Shop (1938-1988), Thelma Louise Volpert and Henry Lawrence Kleinschmidt Sr., on November 27, 1944.
Larry was a graduate of Paschal High School’s class of 1962, who went on to earn his bachelors in Business at TCU in 1966. Upon graduation, Larry entered the Army as a 2nd lieutenant in the military intelligence branch. He served two years in Saigon, Vietnam and achieved the rank of 1st lieutenant.
On December 27, 1969, he married Gail Cockerill Kleinschmidt of Beaumont TX, a schoolteacher who joined him in the family business, lending an artist’s eye to the cakes produced by Kleinschmidt’s.
In 1970, he earned his Master Baking Certification from Dunwoody Industrial Institute in Minneapolis, MN. And, in 1971 Larry assumed ownership of Kleinschmidt’s Cake Shop. Under his management, the shop continued to serve the city’s families in everyday baked goods; but more memorably, cakes from Kleinschmidt’s marked the birthdays, weddings, and special events for a second generation of Fort Worth residents.
A man of many interests, Larry loved nature, camping and the Texas countryside; and spent time in the Boy Scouts Troop 52 as a young man, where he was elected Chief, Order of the Arrow, and met others who would become lifelong friends. Larry maintained many diverse friendships across the years, and could be counted on for sage advice, encouragement, and compassion.
Always a lover and appreciator of both art and his hometown, after the bakery closed in ’88 Larry turned his hand to collecting Fort Worth art and became adept at spotting local works that had fallen by the wayside. He became fast friends with experts in the art community and worked to save and restore lesser known works, not popularized until the city underwent an arts revival. He taught art appreciation classes to students at Tarrant County College, took painting courses to better understand the challenges artists face in their work, and always encouraged those with any spark of talent to pursue their interest in creating art.
In early 2015, Larry was diagnosed with colon cancer. Despite ill health and many obstacles, he doggedly worked to put on an art show featuring his collection of Fort Worth artists, which is currently on display through the end of July at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center.
Larry was a proud papa to two children: Joanna Kleinschmidt, wife of Matthew Wolejko, now of Boston MA, and Henry Kleinschmidt III, of San Francisco, CA; and a delighted grandpa to Elke Margaret Kleinschmidt, also of Boston.
Beloved by his children and friends, Larry will be missed and remembered as an engaging speaker and storyteller, a jovial co-conspirator, and a man whose interests spanned the city.
A memorial service will be held at 1:30pm on Monday, July 27th, 2015 at Greenwood Funeral Home, 3100 White Settlement Blvd., Fort Worth TX 76107. As an alternative to sending flowers, donations to the Friends of Fort Worth Nature Center Endowment Fund can be made.