Robert Klein of Jamestown, N.Y., passed away peacefully on Thursday, Sept. 4, at home surrounded by his loving wife and children. He was born March 11, 1935, in Budapest, Hungary to Jeno and Katalin Klein.
At the age of 9, along with his mother, he was sent to the ghetto in Budapest when the Aero Cross (Nazis) invaded Hungary. After the war, when Russia was awarded Hungary, he lived under communism until 1956. In October 1956 students attacked the Hungarian radio station and thus began the Hungarian Revolution. At that time Robert was in the Hungarian Army stationed across the Danube on the Buda side of Hungary. He along with many other soldiers made their way across the famous chain bridge to Pest where his parents lived. Robert tried to convince his parents to leave Hungary but they were not ready. He escaped through the border between Hungary and Austria and made his way to Vienna. While in Vienna he was able to earn enough money to pay a farmer to meet him at a specific time and date and proceeded to cross the border back into Hungary. Back in Pest he was only able to convince his mother to leave with him. They met up with the farmer at the agreed upon location and the farmer assisted them in crossing the border into Austria. Robert told his father that if he was not in Vienna on Christmas Day he would return to Hungary again to get him. On Christmas Eve Robert and his mother were walking down the snowy main street in Vienna and he saw his father in the distance carrying a valise walking toward them.
The three of them lived in Vienna until 1957 when his parents received a visa and were sponsored by a cousin, Dr. Theodore Krause who lived in Buffalo. Robert continued to live in Vienna for two more years before he was able to join his parents in Buffalo. While in Vienna he worked as a limo driver for the head of CARE. For the first five years in Buffalo, he along with his parents, attended the International Institute to learn English. He worked several jobs, sometimes two at a time, until he met and married his first wife Mary and they eventually opened their own beauty salon in Buffalo called Colonial Coiffeurs. While working as a beautician he began his career in real estate. Over the years, he built apartment buildings in Buffalo and Jamestown as well as investing in several other buildings and shopping plazas.
In 1983 he married his second wife, the former Theresa Bellardo and they shared 31 years of marriage.
Robert is survived by his daughter, Jennifer; son, Thomas of Buffalo; step daughter, Patricia Shelley of Jamestown; grandchildren: Elliot and Rayne Klein of Buffalo, Noah Shelly of Jamestown, and Miklos Kertesz of Budapest, Hungary. In addi-tion he is survived by his mother-in-law, Mary Bellardo; sister-in-law, Marilyn (Joseph) Buffone; brother-in-law, Nicholas (Beth) Bellardo; sister-in-law, Patricia Bellardo; and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents; a son, Robert; brother-in-law, Dominic Bellardo; and father-in-law, Nicholas Bellardo Sr.
Funeral services will be held in Buffalo, N.Y., on Sunday, Sept. 7, at 11:30 a.m., at the Amherst Memorial Chapel located at 281 Dodge Road, Getz-ville NY 14068. Burial at Lubavitz Cemetery will im-mediately following service.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the American Cancer Society or a charity of their choice.