a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Monday, September 10, 2012

Secret CIA operative, Webster, Pa., native dies at 76

William E. “Bill” Kline, a native of Webster, Pa., who held a long and secretive career with the CIA, died Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012, after a brief battle with a bacterial infection at age 76.

He was the remaining son of three Kline brothers who went on to successful careers, despite the sudden death of their father in 1941 to a brain aneurism.

His oldest brother Allen Kline Jr., worked as city editor of The Valley Independent newspaper in Monessen, Pa., and later as public relations director of Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel.  Another brother, Ernie Kline, served two terms as Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor from 1971 to 1979.  Their mother, the former Elna Natali, was an Italian immigrant who raised them alone after their father’s death.

But, it was William Kline's career that quietly drew the most questions from family and friends.  After a tour in the United States Air Force, he was recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency, where he worked until retirement.

Little is known about his work experience except that he lived in several countries and spoke several languages.  Upon retirement, he signed a non-disclosure agreement and maintained secrecy for the rest of his life.

After retirement, he used his talents to advocate for those less fortunate, including a volunteer stint as a cook in a soup kitchen for the homeless.

In early 2011, he and other activists made national news at the Wisconsin state capitol building during a lengthy protest against Gov. Scott Walker’s attempts to break up the unions in Wisconsin.

In addition to his multiple degrees from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, he credited his Webster upbringing as pivotal in his development as a social activist.

The family plans a memorial service later this year in Webster.

He is suvived by his daughter Amy Thorne, married to Steve, two granddaughters, of Idaho Falls, Idaho; son Jeff Kline, married to Lisa, two granddaughters, Brisbane, Australia; daughter Beth Shoemaker, married to George, one granddaughter, Berryville, Virginia; son Matthew Kline, two grandsons, one granddaughter, Overland Park, Kansas; and ex-wife the former Audrey Nemish, originally from Donora.

(Obit provided by his nephew, Robert Kline)

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