Veterans and Democratic Activist Bill Kling Dies


Broward’s best known spokesman for veterans and a long-time Democratic power, William “Bill” Kling, died today at North General Medical Center.

“He was a very special guy. When you walk in the veterans facility on Commercial Boulevard and you look on the wall there is his picture,” said Jack Shifrel, a Democratic activist who was in Kling’s hospital room when he died.

Kling,  85, had been ill and hospitalized for two months since abdominal surgery earlier this year.  He had liver and kidney failure, according to several sources.

World War II veteran Kling moved to Plantation from New York in 1973.  He immediately became involved in both veterans affairs and Democratic politics.

He was the president of the Plantation Democratic Club for approximately three decades. He was one of the leaders who shaped Broward’s Democratic political machine, tapping into the thousands of Depression-era retirees moving here in the 1970s.

A radar technician for two years in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters, he also was the president for more than two decades of the Broward County Veterans Council, an umbrella group for roughly a dozen local organizations.

“He was the glue who held the whole thing together (for veterans) in Broward County,” Shifrel said.

When developers wanted to build a veterans facility in Oakland Park last year, they turned to Kling for advice.

It was one of Kling’s rare failures.  The Oakland Park commission turned the facility down.

However,  Kling was instrumental in getting a national veterans cemetery built in Palm Beach County. He also helped obtain the Alexander Sandy Nininger State Veterans Nursing Home in Pembroke Pines and the veterans outpatient clinic on Commercial Boulevard east of the Sawgrass Expressway.

Over the years, Kling won just about every veterans and Democratic award.

Recently, he was one of the few old guard Democratic leaders who tried to find a place for newer, young party activists. “He made a big effort to get the younger generation — by that I mean younger than Bill and me — involved,” Shifrel said.

Kling will be missed.


10 Responses to “Veterans and Democratic Activist Bill Kling Dies”

  1. Lori Parrish says:

    Very sad. Bill was a special person. May he rest in peace.

  2. Wayne Arnold says:

    Very sorry to read of Bill Klings
    passing. My dear ol’Grand Pa Wilton used to say that there is one thing that a good man takes with him when he passes and that is his “character” and that is the one thing this veteran and fine man had a bountiful supply.

  3. Andy says:

    History reminds us that those who come before blaze a trail for others to follow. Bill was that trailblazer. A wonderful man and incredibly terrific person. To say he will be missed is an understatement. A great man. And he will always have a special place in the hearts of those of us who, like Bill, have served this country.

  4. Proud U. S. Marine says:

    I will always remember that Bill Kling stood up for veterans. RIP, Bill

  5. Norm Price says:

    It is sad to see that Bill has passed away. I had the pleasure of being his friend for almost 25 years and Ihave always respected him as a friend and he will be missed. God Bless you Bill

  6. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    When I was county human services director in the late 1990’s, Bill Kling and I met a number of times to discuss how to improve services to area veterans in need. Edith Lederberg and Norm Abramowitz introduced me to him and I immediately sensed that we could do good work together.

    Bill was a passionate advocate for veterans and a proud man who cared about others. His passing is a sad occasion. A new generation of advocates is called upon now to take up Bill’s work in our community and help our veterans.

    Seeing that happen would make Bill very proud. RIP.



  7. Crabgretch says:

    Bill Kling was an Original, and he will be sorely missed. Sincere condolences to his family.

    Thank you.

  8. Jack Seiler says:

    Bill Kling was an outstanding advocate for our veterans and a community leader who truly had a positive impact on South Florida. Quite simply, Bill was a great guy, a class act, and a true gentleman who will be missed but not forgotten.

  9. Mitch Chester says:

    Bill Kling was a genuine American patriot. Smart, motivated, dedicated, a wonderful personality and a true gentleman. His smile and firm hand shake always enriched my day. I feel so bad about his passing. Broward will not be the same. I am glad we had the opportunity to know and work with him. We need more leaders and role models like Bill Kling.

  10. Steve Geller says:

    I knew Bill for many years, both as a political activist in Plantation, and as a lobbyist in Tallahassee for all things related to veterans. He did a superb job in both capacities, and he will be missed by all who knew him.