GSE Remembers Dr. Martin Kling

Dr. Martin Kling, Professor Emeritus at Rutgers University and a leader in the reading and literacy fields, died on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick, N.J., due to complications from pancreatic cancer. He was 86.

Dr. Kling joined the faculty of the Rutgers Graduate School of Education in 1965 and quickly earned tenure in 1968.  A valued leader, he served as the school’s Learning and Teaching department chair for eight years.  He was a prominent scholar and active member of the International Reading Association, the National Reading Conference and the College Reading Association.  During his time at Rutgers, Dr. Kling mentored many young faculty members and students and was well published in the field of reading education.  He founded a reading clinic at the university and the first annual Reading and Writing conference, which continues to be held this year marking the 47th annual iteration this coming January.  Dr. Kling retired from the Graduate School of Education in 1991.

"Martin helped to build the field of literacy, which was in its infancy when he began his career," said Dr. Lesley Morrow, GSE professor and Director of the Center for Literacy Development. "He was a gentleman and a scholar; always proper, thoughtful, and hard working."

"Marty dedicated his life and career to the well-being of children," said former GSE colleague Dr. Jeffrey Smith, Professor and Associate Dean of the College of Education at the University of Otago in New Zealand.  "He cared passionately that young people not only could read, but that they were able and eager to partake in the brilliance and wonder of the written word.  He was an excellent scholar, a kind and caring colleague, and my good friend.  I will miss him."

Dr. Kling lived in East Brunswick, N.J., for 49 years. He was born on August 6, 1928, in the Bronx, N.Y. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1949, going on to earn his M.A. and Ph.D. from Berkeley as well.

Dr. Kling was a Korean War veteran, having served in the Army.

After a whirlwind romance that saw them engaged in just six weeks, he married Roslyn Janet Sohmer, the love of his life, in 1958. Dr. Kling was the father of Aaron of El Cerrito, Calif., Miriam Perkoff (Michael Grossman) of San Rafael, Calif., and Larry (Elizabeth Lerman Kling) of Highland Park, N.J., and grandfather of Rafael David (deceased).