Hans Klohn

Obituary of Hans Klohn

Hans Walter Klohn of Saint John N.B. passed away peacefully at home on April 15, 2020, now to be reunited with his partner of 67 years, his beloved wife, Anke.


Born on July 15, 1927 in Kiel, Germany, he is survived by his four children; Ulrike (Warren) Long, Hans O. (Wendy) Klohn, Frauke (Vaughn) Smith and Peter (Sharon) Klohn, eight grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren. Together, he and Anke set a daily example of mutual support, love and commitment which will be their most enduring and important legacy.


Hans emigrated from Germany in 1952 to begin an almost seventy-year relationship with K.C. Irving and the Irving Family that continues today. At age 25, he was sent to Canada to oversee a structural steel contract for Irving Pulp & Paper and shortly thereafter was appointed by K. C. Irving as the mill’s construction manager. In 1955, as the bond between the two men grew, Ocean Steel & Construction Ltd. was created and, over many decades, expanded to become the OSCO Construction Group (OSCO). Together, Hans, in close association with Mr. Jack Irving, changed the skylines of numerous communities in Canada and the Eastern United States. The building projects undertaken by OSCO (which are too numerous to mention) and the multi-discipline trades and products of OSCO stand as a permanent testament to the founders’ innovative spirit and their reputation as master builders. The close personal connection was given permanent expression in 2011 when, through the generous support of the families of Arthur and Jack Irving, the Hans W. Klohn Commons Building was opened at UNBSJ directly across from K.C. Irving Hall.


In reflecting on his accomplishments, Hans would not have mentioned his honorary degrees from Acadia University or the University of New Brunswick, his induction into the New Brunswick Business Hall of Fame, his selection as an Industry Titan in the advancement of Canadian precast concrete, his Honorary Membership of the Engineers and Geoscientists of New Brunswick, or his honorary lifetime membership in the Saint John Construction Association. Rather, he would have expressed humility and gratitude for the thousands of men and women who dedicated their efforts to making the projects undertaken possible. He might have taken personal pride in the work done at the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre at Acadia University, the Loyalist Burial Grounds in Saint John or K.C. Irving Hall at UNBSJ all of which he hoped were fitting tributes to the patriarch who had made it possible for Hans and his family to enjoy a wonderful life together in Canada.

He quietly supported many charitable organizations, including the Lutheran Church, the Saint John Boys and Girls Club, the United Way, Romero House and the Children’s Wish Foundation. The last chapter of Hans’ life unfortunately presented the difficult challenge of a prolonged illness. His desire to remain in the family home of 60 years was made possible by a team of extraordinarily kind and dedicated caregivers who have the eternal gratitude of his children. His determination to continue working as long as circumstances permitted was assisted by the gracious support of John K. F. Irving and the employees of the OSCO Construction Group.


Because of the current circumstances surrounding public gatherings, a formal celebration of life will be deferred to a later date. Support for charitable causes seeking cures or relief for those suffering from cognitive issues would be welcomed by the family.


Interment will occur next to his devoted wife at the family plot overlooking the Saint John River where Hans had many happy weekends sailing, spending time with his family and friends and planning the next project. Arrangements have been entrusted to Brenan’s Funeral Home.


If asked about his life’s work and success, Hans would have most likely referred to the renowned German philosopher, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (who he often quoted) when he said:


“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.”

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