Loretta Annette Kleve, 71, of Little Rock, passed away April 7, 2013. Born in San Diego, California to Margarita Picchiarello and Jerals Rexter Griffin, she was a member of Christ the King Catholic Church.
Preceded in death by her parents, she is survived by her husband, Maurice Kleve; daughters, Jennifer Margaret Ann Meyer (Bill) of Lake Bluff, Illinois and Annette Raschel Kleve of Little Rock; brothers, Rex Griffin (Pamela) of Benton and Jim Griffin (Diane) of Mountain Home; sister, Geraldine Hughey (David) of Fayetteville; and grandchildren, Will Meyer and Rosie Meyer.
A red-headed firecracker, Loretta Annette Kleve was born in San Diego, California, on September 2, 1941, the second of five Welsh-Italian children. Because of her father's Navy career, Loretta moved between several states in her youth, but Marshall, Arkansas, was the place she called home. A beat-up Renault and a case of motor oil transported her to the College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri in 1959. Her tenacity helped her work her way through school, and after transferring to Drury College in Springfield, Missouri, she received a B.S. in Biology and Botany in 1963.
Soon after, she heeded President Kennedy's call for Americans to serve their country and joined the Peace Corps. From 1963 to 1968, she lived in Freetown, Sierra Leone in West Africa, where she taught physical education and biology in the local language of Krio. There she met and married Robert Ross, Portmaster of Freetown, and had her first child, Jennifer Margaret Ann. Returning to the U.S., she settled in Galveston, Texas, where her love of the natural world led her to work first as a medical technician and later as a marine biologist raising shrimp in captivity for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In Galveston she met and married Maurice Kleve, a cell biologist. The family eventually returned to Arkansas, where Loretta had her second child, Annette (Annie).
Loretta earned her juris doctorate in 1985 from the Bowen School of Law in Little Rock and went to work for the Social Security Administration (SSA) as an attorney advisor. She rose to the position of Senior Attorney in the Office of Disability Adjudication Review (ODAR), working over 30 years with SSA. When she wasn't sweating at the gym or swinging hard at the driving range, Loretta was a faithful parishioner at Christ the King Catholic Church. In 2008, she fulfilled a lifelong dream of visiting Italy with her sister. She maintained high standards for herself and others; those who knew her well knew her as a fierce, loyal friend.
Visitation will be Friday, April 12 beginning at 6:00 p.m., followed by the Vigil Service at 7:00 at Christ the King. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated by Msgr. Francis I. Malone on Saturday, April 13 at 10:00 a.m. at the church, followed by interment at 2:00 p.m. at East Lawn Cemetery in Marshall, Arkansas.
Arrangements by Little Rock Funeral Home, 8801 Knoedl Ct., (501)224-2200. Mrs. Kleve’s online guestbook may be signed at www.littlerockfuneralhome.com.