Issue 11, June 2002

Benny Klock, Astronomer, Geodesist

Benny Klock, (Leroy Klock, William T. Klock, Ezerkiah Klock, Henry G. Klock, George I. Klock, Johannes Klock, Hans Hendrick Klock, Jr., Hendrick Klock) was born in 1934. The son of Leroy Klock and Ertie Crouse. Benny earned a BA at Cornell University in 1959, a MS in 1960 and a PHD at Georgetown University in 1964.

People have been looking up at the night skies and wondering about the stars since the Stone Age. Benny knows more about them than most people. Benny has spent years studying them and watching them through a large telescope.

The United States Naval Observatory Astrometry Department has existed in one form or another since the early 1900’s. Benny Klock was Chief of the Instrumentation Branch before taking the job of Director of the Six-inch Transit Circle for 1969 to 1976. I asked Mr. Klock to explain to me what a Six-inch Transit Circle was in words that I could understand. I am rather dumb when it comes to Astronomy. “A Transit Circle, sometimes called a Meridian Circle, is a special kind of telescope that has its rotational axis fixed so it can only move through the plane of the North-South celestial meridian. Since the rotation axis is fixed so it has to observe the desired celestial object as it “transit” meridian. The precision of the transit circle is really quite high when it is properly set up. The example we usually gave was looking at an object the size of a dime, 200 miles away”, responded Benny in an e-mail to me on May 5, 2002. Mr. Klock has also written several articles for the Encyclopedia Britannica on Transit Circles and a number of other telescopes.

Benny served two years as Captain in the USAAF from 1957 to 1959.

Benny also has a background in Geodesy at Cornell as well as Astronomy, so in 1984 he took the opportunity to move to the Defense Mapping Agency of the U.S. Government as a Geodesist. The agency maps the face of the earth from orbiting satellites. “The accuracy and the exact areas that we worked on are classified.” Said Benny. “ My biggest contribution to the agency was the development of a very accurate digital mapping data into CD’ so the weapons systems (planes mostly) could fly very low at high speeds and not have to worry about running into anything.” Benny received the Distinguished Civilian Service Award for his efforts when he retired in 1989.

Benny and his first wife, Margaret Ann Sherman had three children. Mark Steven, Lorri Ann, and Brian Lee. Mark and Steve have law degrees. Mark is a Professor at George Washington University in Washington DC. Brian is a partner in a Patent Law Firm also in Washington, DC. , Lorri lives in Kentucky with her family.

Since Retirement, Benny has been busy doing volunteer work, playing tennis, and gardening. Benny does volunteer work for an Ophthalmologist who lets the patient’s families observe eye surgery from a remote viewing room. “I narrate the operation to the family members watching so they have an understanding of the details of the surgery,” said Benny. The Ophthalmologist typically does 12 to 13 cataract surgeries and on cornea transplant in the morning.

For Your Information

In the last issue of the Klock Family Newsletter I did an article about Jacob G. Klock and I put a picture of the house that he used to live in. I received an e-mail from Joyce berry, the President of the Membership at Fort Klock and the Web Master of the Fort Klock Web page.

Dave, FYI

The home of Jacob G. Klock was torn down this past year. It was replaced with a modular home. It is too bad to see this piece of history removed from our area. Many Dutch Barns from Montgomery County were sold and removed this past year also.


Thanks for the information, Joyce. It is a shame to see pieces of history destroyed. As long as historical sites are in the hands of the public they are in danger. I am thankful that Fort Klock is in such good hands so this piece of history will be with us to enjoy for many generations to come. Thanks to people like Willis Barshied and many, many other who worked so hard to restore Fort Klock and make it a part of our living history.

Fort Klock is a non-profit organization that is funded by active and supporting membership dues. If you have not became a member of Fort Klock and sent in your dues, please do so today… Supporting membership dues are only $15.00 a year.

Volunteers have worked, and continue to work many hours to restore, maintain and preserve this piece of history known as Fort Klock. As descendants of Hendrick Klock we need to help keep this wonderful piece of history alive. We need to become supporting members. For more information on becoming a supporting member check the Fort Klock Web Page. or just send in $15.00 and let Valeri know you would like to become a supporting member.

Valeri Berry, Treasurer
Fort Klock Historic Restoration
207 School Street
Fort Plain, New York 13339

Many Thanks, Dave Klock

Fort Klock also puts out a Newsletter, which keeps you informed on what is going on at the fort. It also has some interesting articles.

Obituary of Thomas Vincent Klock

Thomas Klock (Fredrich Dale, Frank C., Wesley, Christian, John J. Jr., John J., Johannes, Hendrick Klock) obituary is as follows:

Livingston- A celebration of the life of Tom Klock will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 4, 2002 from the Cochran Funeral Home Chapel. Mr. Klock died April 30, at his residence in Holiday Lake Estates.

He was born Dec. 5, 1925 in Belding, Michigan, the son of Theda Jacott and Dale Klock, both of whom preceded him in death along with a sister, Donna Bradford.

He joined the Army Air Force in January 1944 and was with the 90th Bomb GP, 400 Bomb Squad ( H ). He flew Air Offensive in Japan, took part in the China Offensive and took part in the Sou Philippines Liberation. He was at Luzon, Western Pacific and flew air combat at Borneo. He was decorated for American Theater, Asiatic-Pacific Theater with six battle stars. He earned the Victory Metal, Good Conduct Medal, and the AAF Air Crew Wings. He was honorably discharged in January 1946. He then joined the Army Reserves and was honorably discharged as a First Lieutenant in March 1955. He was a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Polk County.

He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Trisha (Tish) Klock; daughter Connie (Terry) Sympson of Houston; daughter, Vonet Delashment ( Pat Mastro) of Naples, Fla.; son Lon (Robin) Klock of Canyon Lake; son Ron (Kari) Klock of Reynoldburg, Ohio; daughter, Bonnie (Robert) Mulcahy of Reynoldburg, Ohio; sister Beverly Niegerding of West Lake, Ohio; brother James Klock of Mountainview Calif; 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his two best Companions, Mandee Lynn and KooKoo.

Memorial donations may be made to the Crown of Texas Hospice, 100 I-45 North. Box 103, Conroe, Texas 77310 or Goodrich ISD Elementary Playground Fund, P.O. Box 789, Goodrich, Texas.

Cochran Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

I met Tom and Trish Klock over the Internet a few years ago. I regret that I have never met them in person, but I feel like I know them from all of our e-mails. Tish sent me Tom’s Obituary, his celebration of live that was read at the funeral. Tom had also written to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren before he died. This sent me this letter and I am honored to put this letter in the newsletter.


There is moment in life when you miss someone so much that you just can’t stand it.

When the door of happiness closes, another opens, but often times we look so long at the closed door that we don’t see the one which has been opened for us.

Don’t go for looks; they can deceive. Don’t go for wealth; even that fades away.

Go for someone who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright. Find the one that makes your heart smile.

Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go; be what you want to be, because you have only one life and one chance this go round to do all the things you want to do.

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything they just make the most of everything that comes their way.

The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can’t go on well in life until you let go of your past heartaches and failures.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you were smiling. Live you life so at the end, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

Thank you, Tish for sharing. My heartfelt condolences go out to you and your family.


Seaman Gail K. Klock

On the afternoon of September 3, 1978, Gail Klock rescued a young girl from drowning in the pounding surf north of Fogarty Creek, Oregon. Upon notification of two girls being swept into the sea, Seaman Klock was dispatched from the Coast Guard Station Depoe Bay, as a member of a beach party. Arriving on the scene, one of the girls was observed clinging to a rock with the turbulent surf breaking over her. Gail immediately put on his swimmers’ harness and with the other members of the beach party tending the line, he began descending a sixty-foot cliff into the water. As he reached a level of approximately 15 feet above the water, a breaker wave swept the girl from the rock. With total disregard for this own safety, Seaman Klock threw a live-preserver into the surf and leaped into the water and began swimming to the girl. Reaching the young girl, he supported her while he began making his way back to the cliff. As he struggled to keep their heads above water the surf pounded them relentlessly. Then he fashioned a sling from a rope that had been lowered and secured the girl. First the girl, then Gail was hoisted up the cliff. Reaching safety, Seaman Klock began treatment for hypothermia until the ambulance arrived. With the girl safely in the ambulance, Seaman Klock, although physically exhausted and battered, heard the other girl had been pulled from the water about 600 yards up the beach. He ran to where the girl had been pulled from the sea and he began CPR. He persistently continued CPR in the ambulance on the way to the hospital where the girl was transferred to medical authorities.

Seaman Klock demonstrated remarkable initiative, exceptional fortitude, and daring in spite of imminent personal danger in this rescue. His unselfish action, courage, and unweaving devotion to duty reflect the highest Credit upon himself and the United States Coast Guard.

Date of Action: 3 September 1978
Date of Award: 3 May 1979

This article was taken from the U.S. Coast Guard Medal Awards and Citations. (Internet)

Does anyone know this Gail Klock and what he is doing today? If so please let me know so I can do a follow up story on him.

Frances Klock

According to the Center for American Women and Politics, Colorado was the first State to elect women to a state legislature. Three Republican women, Clara Cressingham, Carrie Clyde Holly and Frances Klock were elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 1894 and took office in 1995.

The last article in this newsletter was the Klock Family Registry that was compiled by George Nellis on May 7, 1866. The complete Family Registry is on line on this web page.

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