Mary Louise Klaus died on April 27, 1987, 27 years ago today. A prominent educator, she developed and directed Raleigh County’s Career Education Program. She began teaching in the Raleigh County School System in 1950, instructing students at Clear Fork and Shady Spring high schools. She also served the county as director of guidance, career education and testing.
When her surviving siblings recently realized that there were life insurance assets remaining in her name, it was decided that a permanently endowed scholarship would be a fitting tribute to this career educator. Thus the Mary Louise Klaus Memorial Scholarship Fund has been established at the Beckley Area Foundation.
This scholarship fund will generate income for a need- and merit-based scholarship that will be awarded annually beginning in the spring of 2015. Applicants must be graduates of a public high school in Raleigh County. The award may be used to defray the cost of attending any accredited vocational school, college or university.
Mary Louise was born July 20, 1928, in Beckley, the daughter of Karl John and Julia Ullrich Klaus. She had four brothers and two sisters. Surviving siblings are John K. “Jack” Klaus of Beckley; Charles R. “Bob” Klaus of Liverpool, N.Y.; David R. “Dick” Klaus of Beckley; and Charlotte A. Gaydos of Bel Air, Md. Her sister Carolyn Page and brother William Paul Klaus are deceased.
She graduated in 1950 from West Virginia University with a bachelor of science degree; she earned her master of arts degree in guidance and counseling in 1954. She did additional graduate work at WVU, Marshall University and Syracuse University.
In 1976, she received recognition at the annual meeting of the National Vocational Guidance Association for “distinguished contributions to the advancement of professional vocational guidance and principles of career development” not only within Raleigh County, but throughout the state of West Virginia. She taught extension courses in guidance for WVU, helped implement the Head Start and Elementary Learning Program, and served as a consultant to the U.S. Office of Education Division of Career Education.
She was a charter member of the West Virginia School Counselor Association, West Virginia Association for Counselor Education and Supervision and the West Virginia Vocational Guidance Association. The list of her affiliations with national, state and local education associations was extensive.
In addition to her career as an educator, Mary Louise Klaus also held a seat on the board of directors for the Raleigh County Lung Association and the West Virginia Lung Association. She was a member of the West Virginia Joint Council on Teaching Hospitals and the Advisory Board of the Licensed Practical Nursing School Program at the Raleigh County Vocational Technical Center.
She was a charter member of the Beckley Quota Club, a life member of the WVU Alumni Association, a member of the Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce and a member of the St. Francis de Sales Parish Council.
“It is fitting that a woman who made such a difference in the lives of so many people in this community will now be honored forever by a scholarship bearing her name; a scholarship that will enable future generations of local students to continue to pursue their education and thus fulfill both their dreams and hers,” commented Susan Landis, executive director of the Beckley Area Foundation.
Anyone may make additional donation in any amount to this new scholarship fund. Make checks payable to BAF-Klaus Scholarship Fund, and mail to BAF, 129 Main St., Suite 203, Beckley, WV 25801. Call 304-253-3806 or e-mail susan@bafwv. org for information about starting a named fund at BAF.