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Jacqueline Sweeney Kloss (1930–2001)

Published onDec 01, 2001
Jacqueline Sweeney Kloss (1930–2001)

Jacqueline Sweeney Kloss was born in Ames, Iowa on 17 August 1930. The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Orland Russell Sweeney, she came east to Cambridge, Massachusetts to attend Radcliffe College, where she studied astronomy. After she graduated in 1952, she worked at Harvard College Observatory as a research assistant to Professor Harlow Shapley. In 1956 Shapley gave her in marriage when she became the bride of Henry Esplin Kloss. After their honeymoon in Bermuda, the young couple made their home in Cambridge, where Jacqui subsequently became active in musical and social services .

Jacqui was a member of the boards of directors of both the Longy School of Music and the Home for Little Wanderers. She also maintained her connection to the Observatory and regularly came to Colloquia on Thursday afternoons. One year, when Martha Hazen went on sabbatical, she called upon Jacqui to tend the HCO Plate Stacks and to serve as the substitute Curator of the Astronomical Photographs. Jacqui was perfect for the job. With her knowledge of astronomy and her memories of Shapley and the graduate students in the 1950s, she fascinated and regaled the rest of the staff with her stories.

Oftentimes Jacqui and I would have lunch at the Cronkhite Graduate Center after one of her art classes at Radcliffe or at the Joyce Chen Restaurant to celebrate a special event. She was well-versed on many interesting topics, but invariably our conversation would turn to her children and their latest adventures. They were truly the joy of her life.

Jacqui was a great hostess in her own right. After concerts at Longy School of Music and on other occasions, she would invite her friends to her home to converse and continue the glow of the evening over hors d'oeuvres and fine wine. She was stylish, but never pretentious. She was genuinely warm and had a knack for making people feel welcome. These were ideals that she inspired in her family and friends.

Last March when Jacqui and Henry flew to Antigua, West Indies, for a vacation,no one knew that Henry would return home alone. Jacqui died there of heart failure on March 10th. In addition to Henry, she leaves two daughters, Margot Rothmann of Avon, Connecticut, and Jennifer Hummel of Dedham, Massachusetts; her son, David Crawford Kloss, and seven grandchildren. This obituary is based on material supplied by The Boston Globe, The Cambridge Chronicle, The Cambridge Tab, The Vineyard Gazette, and personal recollection.

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