Published in the October 27, 2020 edition.
WAKEFIELD — Michael Charles Klapes passed away Saturday, October 24, 2020 after a brief but valiant battle with complications of COVID-19, three months shy of his 100th birthday.
Mike was born January 23, 1921 in Wakefield to Charles and Aphrodite Klapes, both of whom had come to the United States from the southern Peloponnese region of Greece and eventually settled in Wakefield. They founded the Colonial Spa, the family business in which Mike worked as a child and teenager along with his father and siblings.
After graduating from Wakefield High School in 1939, Mike graduated from Tufts University in 1943 as a mechanical and electrical engineer and worked during World War II repairing aircraft as part of the war effort, in the United States and as far away as India. He met Elaine Manyon while they both worked at Pratt & Whitney aircraft in Connecticut, “courting over vector diagrams” as he put it, and they married in 1947.
Soon after, they moved to Lynnfield and had two daughters, Martha and Janet, and became active in town affairs as well the local Congregational Church, where Mike served as deacon. His daughter Janet passed away at the age of eight in 1960 due to a congenital heart defect. Son Jeffrey was born four years later. Mike invented and patented counting and packaging machines and was a founding partner of the Delta Engineering Corporation, a Massachusetts company that designed and manufactured these machines and sold them around the world.
Mike cared for his wife Elaine during her long battle with cancer, and she passed in 1986. He later married Jeanette Brockbank and moved to North Andover, where they lived for many years. He cared for her as well during a lengthy period of Alzheimer’s disease. He continued to work at Delta Engineering and served as its president until his retirement at the age of 78.
He spent his final years living in Brightview North Andover and later Brightview Wakefield, with a view of the Lincoln School he attended 90 years earlier as a child.
Mike was an avid tennis player and sports fan, loving father and husband, and tireless caregiver to those around him. Most important, he was endlessly cheerful and an excellent role model of a life well lived.
He was preceded in death by his wife Elaine Manyon Klapes, his daughter Janet Elaine Klapes, his brothers John and Alexander, and his wife Jeanette Brockbank Klapes. He is survived by his son Jeffrey Klapes and husband David Knudsen, and his daughter Martha Klapes Morong, all of Wakefield. He is also survived by his brothers Benjamin of Wakefield and C. Charles of North Andover, and sister Mary MacLaughlin of Wakefield. He is survived as well by his stepdaughters Brenda DeFazio of Pennsylvania and Marilyn Nichols and her husband Dan of New Hampshire, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Services will be private, and a memorial celebration will be held at a date to be determined in 2021. In lieu of flowers a donation to Boston Children’s Hospital or the American Cancer Society would be appreciated.