Joseph Ransom Kluttz, Jr.
May 21, 1938 -December 31, 2018
If you were lucky enough to know Joe Kluttz, you were lucky enough.
Joe was born to Elizabeth West Kluttz and Joseph Ransom Kluttz, Sr. of Albemarle, NC on May 21, 1938.
After a two-week stay in the hospital, Betty Kluttz brought her first-born son home to the Kluttz Cottage on Pee Dee Avenue with a full time nurse for another two weeks. He must have been a handful.
His brother, Jim Kluttz, was born three years later. No word on whether he required a nurse or not.
Joe often said he had many lives and his first one was filled with Albemarle High School football and his beloved Coach, Toby Webb. Joe was one of ‘Toby’s Boys’ and never forgot that. His claim to fame was a write up in the Charlotte Observer that said Joe was “the smallest blocking back in NC”. They were a championship team – and Coach Webb influenced Joe’s whole life.
Joe married Betsy King when they were still teenagers and he and Betsy had a son, Joseph Ransom Kluttz, III.
Joe went to Pfeiffer University on what he called his “scholarship”.
He worked for Stanly Dairies, delivering milk to grocery stores and the mills every morning and closing down the Dairy Store every night. He fondly talked about the doctors who came in for a cup of coffee after home visits to follow patients about whom they were concerned. Joe also learned to sleep sitting up during those years, a trait that would serve him well for all of his life.
After college Joe began working in the Albemarle Insurance Agency with his father.
Joe’s next life featured his moving and shaking years when he bought the Albemarle Insurance Agency from the former owners and added Terry Pleasant as his partner in business.
He married Peggy Stewart. This union brought his first daughter, Stephanie Kluttz Vint and his second son, Neil Stewart Kluttz.
He was in the Kiwanis Club, the Jaycees and was Albemarle’s Young Man of the Year and later- Man of the Year. He was on the Hospital Board when they began new construction.
He was president of the Stanly County ARC for a number of years. He was a proud Pfeiffer College alumnus and was alumnus of the year and served on the Board of Trustees for Pfeiffer for over a decade. He served on the Stanly County Board of Development but his real love was the Stanly County Y. He was President of the Board during the transition from Wiscassett Mills YMCA to Stanly County YMCA and he served on their board until he decided he was too old. He was instrumental in the movement for the expanded Y and it’s programs. The Stanly County YMCA Foundation was one of the efforts of which he was most proud.
He became involved in the NC Independent Insurance Agents and started as chairman of the NC Young Agents and moved up through the chairs to be president of the NC Agents.
His third life began in 1995 when he married Martha Ann Chapman and bravely took on two more children who were on the brink of their teenage years, Judson Nolan Cowan and Dorothy Elizabeth Cowan.
He became the NC Representative on the National Board of directors of the IIABA in 1998 and held that position until 2005. Joe was a member of the National Finance Committee from 2002-2005 and was part of the IIABA Internal Audit Subcommittee from 2003-2005.
Joe’s work with the Public Officials and Employees Liability committee and the NC Public Risk and Insurance Association were appointments by the NC Department of Insurance. They were official meetings and Joe was chair. The committees and offices held by Joe in service to his fellow agents and associations would have been a career for most people. Joe was there when the National needed him.
He knew most members of Congress and they knew him. When the NC agents would go to Washington on their annual visit, the group would walk in the office for a private meeting and the Member of Congress would first look and communicate with Joe.
Joe was given the Barney Burns award for most outstand contribution to our national political action effort for the year in 1988. His competition for the award was all the Members of the National Association and Bob Bird; NC Executive Officer said that the person second for the award was light years behind Joe. He should have received the award every year it was awarded, but would not do that.
Joe was on the initial Board of Directors of Bank of Stanly and was a member of the Board of Directors of Uwharrie Capital Corp. affiliates over the years. The success of Uwharrie Bank was very important to Joe. He loved the fact that Stanly County young people did not have to leave town to get a good job with a good bank.
Joe was a life long Democrat, but was so good at political workings that, for a time, the power couple of the Stanly County Republican party, Leon and Sue Parker, told Joe they would work for him if he would run for commissioner. He declined.
Joe loved his work but in 2012 was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia and had to sell his insurance agency and retire. In 2014, Joe and Martha moved to Raleigh, NC to be closer to his Duke doctors and to a major airport.
They were members of White Memorial Presbyterian Church, but worshiped at First Presbyterian, Smithfield, where Martha was the Music Director.
In late September of 2018 Joe’s health began a downward slide. He was in the William Dunlap Hospice Care Center in Raleigh when he died on the last day of 2018.
His parents, Betty and Joe Kluttz, Sr. and his stepdaughter, Stephanie Kluttz Vint, predeceased Joe.
His wife, Martha Chapman, and his children, Joe Kluttz, III (Lisa) of Huntersville, Neil Kluttz (Michele) of Matthews, Judson Cowan (Blair) of Edinburgh, Scotland and Dorothy Cowan (Jay) of NYC survive him. He has four grandsons, Joshua KLuttz (Kary) of Midland, Jonathan Kluttz of Harrisburg, Cody Kluttz of Matthews, and Chapman Jay Cowan, of NYC. He is also survived by his brother, Jim Kluttz (Faye) of Frederick, Maryland, his niece, Kristen Pinto (Joe) and nephew Jeff (Tara) and a host of great nieces and nephews.
Joe had the bluest eyes and the brightest smile. His primary care doctor often asked, “How is Paul Newman doing today?”
Joe’s father has a little ditty that he used to sing “My name is Joseph Ransom and I am so very handsome” and that ditty applied even more so to Joe Kluttz, Jr. He was as beautiful inside as he was outside. He never met a stranger and there was a time when his children were pretty sure he knew someone in every town in the state and probably the country.
Services will be at 3:00PM, Saturday, January 5th in the First Presbyterian Church of Albemarle, NC, where Joe served as a Church Elder. The family will greet guests following the service in the church fellowship hall.
Hartsell Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.
The family asks that gifts in Joe’s memory be given to the Stanly County Family YMCA Foundation, 427 North 1st St., Albemarle, NC 28001 or to the Pfeiffer University Foundation, Pfeiffer University, Misenheimer, NC 28109.
Online condolences may be made at www.hartsellfh.com