Jon Klist was born September 3, 1956 in Olean, New York, where he earned top marks in school despite playing hooky and earning pocket change as a pin-setter at the Eagles Lodge bowling alley. At the age of twelve, he hitchhiked to the Jersey shore just to see the ocean, and he’s been a traveler ever since. He attended school in Brussels, Belgium, and began his career as a garcon de tache at a turbine factory in France. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, and he lived in the area all his life. Despite a devastating diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, he embraced each day with passion and creativity.
Jon’s entire life was a love story to his family and to his art. He took his kids camping and spelunking, taught them to swim at Barton Springs, and led them on long hikes and cross-country drives to the Pacific Northwest. His dad jokes knew no end, from the coyote bringing carrion luggage on board to the picture that got framed. He loved books and music, especially the novels of William S. Burroughs and the music of Frank Zappa. He could grow any vegetable and grill any steak to perfection. Jon was known for his fashion sense, which involved tie-dye, suspenders, neon orange socks with crocs, and his signature red glasses. A gentle spirit who was completely at home in the world, Jon expressed himself eloquently through art. He explored many aspects of visual art, and developed his talent over forty years, leaving a legacy of more than 600 paintings. He drew inspiration from the dramatic landscapes of Texas and places he traveled, setting up his paint box and easel to capture moments of beauty wherever he went. In 2022, his life’s work was displayed at the legendary JK Gallery in Seguin, Texas. Jon passed away as gently as he lived his life, at home surrounded by his loved ones. He is survived by his daughter Joelle and her husband Michael, his son Jeff and Jeff’s wife Viviane, his perfect granddaughter Louise, his sisters Susan and Lori, his mother Lou, and Dee Neff, the love of his life. We will never laugh the same again.
In lieu of flowers, the family would welcome a contribution to preserve our wild places through the Texas Parks and Wildlife. https://tpwd.texas.gov/business/donations/