Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Thanks, and thoughts on my future at the Timberjay


Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans,

John Lennon

“Beautiful Boy.”

For nearly a decade I’ve been coping with a variety of health issues as a result of non-alcohol-related cirrhosis. So when fatigue and shortness of breath started worsening the past four months, I chalked it up to the cirrhosis.

But the problems persisted and I decided a visit to the doctor was in order. To make a long story short, I wound up at St. Mary’s, where doctors administered an alphabet soup of antibiotics, drained three liters of fluid from my stomach and had chest X-rays and ultrasounds taken of my lungs and liver. They belatedly reached the conclusion that I am in the end stages of a losing battle with my liver and lungs.

I could dwell on the unfairness of the diagnosis, especially for someone who doesn’t drink or smoke, but that would be wasting the time I have left.

Instead I live each day and leave my illness in the hands of God. And I am looking back fondly on the career I chose.

I’ve been fortunate to be part of three newspaper families in my life, starting in Deer River in 1980 and moving on to The Journal in International Falls, where I worked for nearly 17 years. After leaving The Journal in 2001, I accepted a job with the Timberjay, which serves northern St. Louis County, in 2002 and it’s been home ever since.

I’ve been proud of the work I, and the journalists I worked alongside, produced at each paper, but the Timberjay and the relationships forged at that paper have been the most meaningful. Marshall Helmberger and I share a common commitment to quality journalism. We both value the public oversight that newspapers provide to ensure that hard-earned tax dollars are spent wisely and that public officials are held accountable for their actions. That sometimes means stepping on toes, but any newspaper worth its salt understands the necessity of raising uncomfortable questions at times.

I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of those who have sent cards, expressions of support, gifts and prayers on my behalf. I’ve also been touched to read from so many how they have been affected by my work or a kind word I shared with them. So many work in thankless tasks without any idea how much impact they have. I feel blessed to receive so many heartwarming words.

I still intend to continue a reduced role at the Timberjay, but my presence will be limited in the area. I miss you all and cherish my time in Cook, Orr, Crane Lake and the neighboring regions.

Tom Klein

1317 Main Avenue

International Falls

Editor’s Note:

We look forward to continuing to work with Tom for as long as he wishes to continue to pursue his passion for journalism. While Tom remains in hospice, his condition is stable for now and, as usual, he is eager to do whatever he can to stay active and involved. We are thrilled that he will continue to contribute to these pages in whatever capacity he can for the foreseeable future.


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