Shirley Bliss Kleess

  • BORN: July 18, 1940
  • DIED: July 23, 2011
  • LOCATION: Wappingers Falls, New York

Shirley Bliss Kleess

Shirley Bliss Kleess of Wappingers Falls entered into rest Saturday, July 23, 2011 at home surrounded by her family. She was 71.

Daughter of the late Charles A. Bliss and Mildred G. Smith Bliss Scott, she was born on July 18, 1940 in Williamstown, Kansas. She was also predeceased by her adopted father, Vernon C. Scott. She married the love of her life, Major George J. Kleess on September 16, 1967; he preceded her in death, passing in 1979.

Shirley graduated from the University of Kansas in 1961 with a bachelor's degree. In May of 1961, she went on to serve her country in the United States Navy as a physical therapist, working in Naval hospitals. During her tour of duty, she met her husband, Major George J. Kleess. She was honorably discharged in 1967 as a Lieutenant. Shirley and George lived in New York City, later moving to Cold Spring and finally settling in Wappingers Falls.

Shirley worked for a visiting nurse service as a physical therapist in Westchester County and then went on to work at St. Francis Hospital for many years. She then worked at Castle Point VAMC, until her recent retirement. The veterans she served there always spoke of the "magic in her hands". She lived for her work and loved her co-workers. Her co-workers described her as being good to everyone; making everyone feel comfortable and loved. She never had a bad thing to say about anyone. Shirley loved her veterans and was very committed to helping those she served as a physical therapist for nearly 50 years.

Shirley enjoyed cooking and reading as well as arts and crafts. She loved taking trips and exploring new places; mostly without reservations. Shirley also loved and treasured her pets, especially her little cat Sophia. Most of all, she enjoyed the time spent with her daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. She taught her daughter and grandchildren about compassion, love, inner strength and so many life lessons they will hold with them forever.

Survivors include her daughter, Kim Merendino and her husband, Anthony; her sisters, Judy and Sharon; grandchildren, Ryan Kleess, and Katerina, Julianna and Angelina Merendino; as well as her step-children and step-grandchildren.

Family will receive their friends on Thursday, July 28, 2011 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Straub, Catalano & Halvey Funeral Home, 55 E. Main Street, Wappingers Falls, NY 12590.

A funeral service will be held on Friday, July 29 at 11 a.m. at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Shirley's name to Dutchess County Hospice, 374 Violet Avenue, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601, or Dutchess County SPCA, 636 Violet Avenue, Hyde Park, NY 12538, or Food Fight for Vets, PO Box 565, Castle Point, NY 12511.

For directions to the funeral home or to send a personal condolence, please visit our website at


“ Kim, Ryan-so sorry for your terrible loss of your mother and grandmother. It sounds like she was an extraordinary woman. Our thougths and prayers...Read More »

Posted by: Rosemary Evaul

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