Former Church on the Hill Senior Pastor, Rev. Dr. ‘Ted’ Klein, Passes Away at Age 79

The Rev. Dr. J. Theodore “Ted” Klein of West Roxbury, who formerly served as the senior pastor of Church on the Hill died in Boston on Saturday, Aug. 8 at age 79.

Born to the late Harald Immanuel and Ruth Powell Klein on March 23, 1941 in n Abington Pa., Mr. Klein earned degrees from the Academy of the New Church College (BA), Temple University (MEd in Education), and Boston University (MA and PhD in Philosophy) before he was ordained the Swedenborgian Church in 1984. He went on to serve the ministry for the next 36 years, including 15 years with the Boston Society of the New Jerusalem (Church on the Hill, Boston), the last four years of which he served as its senior pastor. 

Rev. Dr. J. Theodore “Ted” Klein.

Mr. Klein also served on the faculty of the Swedenborg School of Religion; presented lectures and talks at churches and conventions; and served on several committees, including in the role of secretary of the Council of Ministers. He is the author of several published books, including “The Power of Service,” “Why Is This Happening To Me” and the “Learning Compassion” workbook, as well.

Mr. Klein began his distinguished academic career teaching Philosophy at Urbana University (Ohio) before lending his skills in the classroom to the Swedenborg School of Religion, as well as UMass Boston, from where he just retired after the spring semester.

“Colleagues described his talks as  ‘lucid, perfectly insightful, and extremely interesting,’ and summarized his personality as being [one of] the ‘sweetest, kindest, gentlest individuals whom I ever knew,” Rev. Kevin Baxter, pastor of Church on the Hill, said during his eulogy for Mr. Klein.  “The ethics of care was clearly at the center of his philosophical focus and he was working on a book on that topic.  He wasn’t able to complete it, but his impact on student and faculty was such that, ‘his ideas will reverberate forever and ever.’”

Mary Kay (McKeon) Klein, Mr. Klein’s beloved wife of 52 years wrote: “Ted was a kind and gentle man with a shining soul. He approached life with great insight and joyful humor. He was a blessing to us all”

Besides Mrs. Klein, Mr. Klein is also survived by his children John Klein and his wife, Myriah Klein, of Salem and Kevin Klein and his wife, Heather Greer Klein, of Durham N.C.; his grandchildren Willow, Rowan and Linden Klein; his sister, Margaret Klein Deacon, and her husband, Jonathan, sisters-in-law, Ellen McKeon, and Ann Brass and her husband, Richard; brothers-in-law Michael McKeon, John McKeon and his wife, Karen Greklek, James McKeon and his wife, Rhonda, and Thomas McKeon and his wife, Kim; his dear friend James McNulty; and numerous nieces and nephews. Mr. Klein was predeceased by his daughter, Karen McNulty.

Besides an upcoming virtual memorial to honor Mr. Klein, a memorial service will be held at the Church of the New Jerusalem in Boston at a later date; visit the Lawler and Crosby Funeral Home of West Roxbury online at for more information.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Mr. Klein’s memory may be made to: Friends of the Blue Hills (

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