Section: News

Community mourns Joyce Klein, co-founder of Friday Cafe and Gambier Craft Sale

Joyce Klein, perhaps best-known at Kenyon for her beloved Friday Cafe, passed away in her sleep on Feb. 5, 2019.

She joined the Gambier community in 1968, when her husband, Professor Emeritus of English William F. Klein, accepted a position at the College. At the time of her death, she was being treated for cancer in Maine, where the family spent their summers.

Klein will be remembered for her countless contributions to the Gambier and Knox County community, most notably Friday Cafe. Conceived in the mid-1970’s by Klein and longtime business partner and friend Peggy Turgeon, Friday Cafe brightened the Gambier community with delicious home-cooked meals, including Moosewood Chili, Georgian Cheese Bread and coffee with the “works” — dark chocolate, whipped cream and sugar.

Victoria Baumann, who worked with Klein at Friday Cafe, described her as a generous friend with an adventurous spirit and a passion for nourishing people. 

“Over the years we cooked together in a variety of venues on and off campus, but it was Friday Cafe that meant the most to Joyce,” Baumann said. “Almost 50 years of bringing together the community for a simple home-cooked delicious meal, getting involved with the student workers and laughing with her longtime crew.”

Aside from running Friday Cafe, Klein also co-founded the annual Gambier Craft Sale, volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and the Knox County Democratic Party and catered a number of events for the College throughout the years. 

Joyce Klein is survived by her husband William Klein, as well as her children: Thomas Klein ’90, Anna Klein-Christie ’93 and Michael Klein ’99.

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