July 2021 Newsletter

The latest in our series…

People of the Park: Dewey Kloos


Dale Dauten

It isn’t often you get a story of practical romance… or maybe its romantic practicality… but we heard such an account from DuWayne “Dewey” Kloos, one that will make you smile.

The story dates from when Dewey was a senior at the University of Minnesota. He was disappointed to find himself in his last year of college with no girlfriend, much less a candidate for marriage. So he decided to take action. He signed up for University Chorus and here’s how he described the first rehearsal: “I got there early and positioned myself so I could see all the girls arriving. In came one who stood out – she was pretty, and she had such a nice way about her, and I could see that she was respected by the other girls. When I got back home I told my roommate, ‘Today I saw the girl I’m going to marry.’ He said, ‘What’s her name?’ and I said, ‘I don’t know her name, but I’m going to marry her.’”

It took Dewey months to get to know her and years of courting, but she was indeed the girl he married. Dewey told us, “That girl was Joann. She was special… still is.” Clever and romantic, right?

As you can tell from the cake and the shirts, the photo below is from their celebration of their 60th anniversary.

But let’s back up a minute and fill in Dewey’s early life. Although raised on a dairy farm 25 miles from the Twin Cities, his youthful interests didn’t include farming; rather, he was fascinated by all things electrical and mechanical. He told us, “I also felt a strong need for what we didn’t have back on the farm, like a record player; consequently, I assembled a Heathkit and built a fairly sophisticated loudspeaker from blueprints for my first sound system. Later, I became interested in sound recording and bought my first reel to reel tape recorder, a 3M-Wollensak.”

Once he reached the U of M, his logical choice was Mechanical Engineering. But that didn’t take. As he said, “After just seven days of classes, my other loves–music and theater–convinced me to change my major to Music Education with a minor in Speech & Theater Arts.”

Along the way, he served for a season as the University’s mascot, Goldy Gopher. (Photo below)

After his senior year, Dewey headed off to the Army while Joann finished college. (She was just a freshman when they met.) Eventually the two married and, as Dewey puts it, “Joann worked my way through grad school.”

Dewey summarized what happened next: “After receiving my MA degree in Music Education we both taught three years in East Central Illinois before returning to Minnesota where I began teaching in the Minneapolis suburban Robbinsdale Area Schools. Our first child Tom was on his way and Joann became a stay-at-home mom. (Sadly, our son Tom, who had never married, died of a massive heart attack three years ago.)

“Joann & I had a second son Steve and a few years later, a daughter Julie. Steve and his family live near Boulder, Colorado where he enjoys success in the venture-capital field. Daughter Julie is married to a chemist and lives in nearby White Bear Lake, MN. We have six grandchildren and a 1½ year-old GGC.”

While teaching at Robbinsdale Cooper High, Dewey was band director and at our urging, managed to find a photo from those days.

While still teaching, Dewey began to put his old interests to work, recording concerts for the school, then other schools. “That prompted me,” he said, “to found Westmark Productions, a sound recording and production company that I ran part time while continuing my instrumental music teaching career in both band and orchestra. I retired from teaching in 1993 after a 36-year career. Now able to pursue my sound recording & production business full-time, the volume of business more than tripled. I sold the company to one of my former freelance engineers in late 1999. Westmark Productions continues to operate to this day as the most popular such business in the Greater Twin Cities area.”

Retirement also freed up Dewey and Joann to hit the road in their motorhome. They were active in the Midwest Pacers, a Family Motorcoach Association chapter, and for years Dewey wrote and sent out the chapter’s newsletter. He eventually noticed that many club members wintered in Mesa. Curiosity piqued, the couple decided to visit the Valley of the Sun.

Dewey and Joann discovered Silveridge in 2001 and soon became involved with the Silveridge Pops Orchestra which Silveridge hosted at that time. Also, Dewey joined the Silvercom Computer Club. The teacher in him soon emerged and Dewey began doing occasional presentations for the club, often on his specialty, Microsoft Word.

Then, as Dewey recollected, “In 2013 after purchasing my first Android system smart phone, I asked our computer club President if we would be having any classes on smartphones. He said that none were planned, but looked me in the eye and said, ‘you’re going to start one.’ Consequently, I began an Android Smart Phone SIG–Special Interest Group–and led it for six years.” He added, “My involvement with SCTC — the ‘T’ for technology was added perhaps a decade ago–has gotten ever stronger in these 20 years, as has my love for helping my fellow seniors to learn about and embrace technology.”

That love of tech and teaching led Dewey to be invited to join the staff of a weekly Zoom meeting called Tech for Seniors. TFS was begun by SCTC’s program director Ron Brown at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. Other staff are tech specialists from Florida, New Mexico and Arizona. Here’s Dewey’s summary:

“Tech for Seniors continues weekly and turns out to be way more successful than we ever thought possible. We had our 65th episode in June. We now live stream simultaneously on YouTube and typically, more than 2000 people view our episodes each week. My weekly sessions are called “Dewey’s TechTalk,” and are also now posted separate from the program at….

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLi6B6bF8hCO5zAbCn9yWQHt7wY4UxKb1j .

“There are 36 individual presentations at this website, with the 36th being the one I presented in mid-June. Ron started posting all of my presentations at that URL several months ago and about 1/3 of the 36 are my most recent ones.”

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The folks at Silvercom have also been contributing monthly articles for our online newsletter and it’s fitting that this most recent one is from Dewey Kloos.


Using Smart Technology for Better Health

As the old saying goes, “Knowledge Is Power.” Wearable technology now makes it much easier to make informed personal health decisions. So, what is wearable technology?

The quick answer is, it’s those watch-like ‘trackers’ that you now see so many people wearing.

The most sophisticated health trackers are made by Apple, and they’re also the top seller. Apple currently has three different series of Apple Watch models that range in price from $199 to over $500. Fitbit makes the next best-selling trackers. The Fitbit company was recently purchased by Google and is on track to manufacture less expensive though highly-competitive trackers. At least a dozen other companies make health & fitness trackers.

I’ve had atrial flutter heart problems in recent years and wear a Fitbit HR (Heart Rate) tracker that provides an accurate reading of my pulse. For me, pulse rate information is invaluable in helping me maintain good heart health.

Apple Watch has models that can track not only pulse, but irregular heart rhythm problems, blood oxygen levels and a model that even generates a single-lead electrocardiogram. The ECG is a momentous achievement for a wearable device and can provide critical data for doctors and peace of mind for the wearer.

Silveridge resident Ron Brown is a retired Canadian physician and also an instructor for our park’s computer club. He’s also an expert on wearable technology. Residents returning to Silveridge this fall who are interested in how technology can improve their health and life in general should be on the lookout for information in their PO Box about joining our park’s computer club for the 2021- 2022 season.

DuWayne Kloos, SCTC VP