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Victim of crash devoted to family

May 08, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN

Charles Robert Kline Jr. had some advice for his daughter when she told him she was going to become a mother.

"He told me ... 'It's hard at first, and it's the most wonderful thing that you can do,'" Heather Kline, 20, of Hagerstown, said Sunday.

Charles Kline, 48, of Hagerstown, who treasured his job and 11 grandchildren, died Friday from injuries he sustained in a two-vehicle crash as he was driving to work.

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His daughter, one of his stepdaughters and his wife said Sunday that Kline was a simple man who loved his family.

"He was the love of my life. He was just a wonderful man," Sharon Kline, his wife of 21 years, said of the man she called Chuck.

Since he worked nights as a truck driver, Kline often spoke to his family by phone from work, his wife, daughter and stepdaughter said.

"He called me every hour when he was working up 'till 2 in the morning," his wife said. "Matter of fact, I was talking to him like seven minutes before the accident happened."

According to Maryland State Police, Kline was driving a Plymouth Caravelle on Leitersburg Pike near Leiters Mill Road when his car was struck just before 5 p.m. Friday by a Nissan Pathfinder driven by Guy L. Bonner, 35, of Greencastle, Pa. Bonner, who police said failed to stop at a stop sign, sustained minor injuries.

Stacy Taylor, one of Kline's three stepdaughters, said Sunday that Kline worked frequently, but he cherished being with family.

"When he was home, he made the most of his life with his wife and his kids," said Taylor, 29, of Halfway.

He enjoyed cooking and fishing, his family said.

"We'd secretly go shopping for Mom so she wouldn't know," said his daughter, who recalled kissing her father on the forehead as he slept on the couch during her daytime visits to her parents' house.

Kline is survived by his daughter and stepdaughters Taylor, Cheri L. Sarmento and Robin J. Turner.

Kline's wife said he treated all of the girls and his 11 grandchildren, ages 2 to 17, as if they were his own. He had many friends he e-mailed, and he always was available to help anyone, his wife said.

"He always said it was his job to care of everybody," his wife said.

At DL George & Sons in Waynesboro, Pa., where he had worked for about the past three years as a local-distance driver, Taylor said her stepfather's tractor-trailer is draped in black. The flag at the business is flying at half-mast, she said.

"His family and his job meant the world to him," Taylor said.

Kline often worked six or seven nights a week, his family said.

But, he always called home.

"I'll just remember I'd say, 'I'm all grown up now, Daddy,' and he'd say, 'You might be grown up, but you'll always be my baby,'" said Heather Kline, who is expecting her first child in December.

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