Community rallies for grieving teacher

By on January 30, 2014

The elderly parents of Warwick choral director Deb Kline-Smith were killed in a tragic accident on Jan. 19. The incident occurred close to the couple’s home in Hanover, York County, when a young man operating a backhoe drove into the path of their car on Route 116. Roy Kline Jr., 86, and his 85-year-old wife, Lorraine, died instantly.

The 17-year-old driving the backhoe was not injured, The Patriot News reported. The investigation of the crash is continuing, police said.

Kline-Smith is the longtime musical director at Warwick, known for eliciting Broadway-esque performances from her young charges. The tragedy has impacted rehearsals for the spring musical, “Grease.”

The high school Concert Choir and Warblers each took up a collection and sent a floral arrangement to the funeral home for the viewing and service. Additionally, a box for sympathy cards was filled up in the choir room at the high school.

Additionally, 15 choir members who were selected for District Chorus sang at the funeral service at Kline-Smith’s request.

“First, the students sang Randol Alan Bass’ ‘Gloria,’ and I accompanied them on piano,” said Warwick junior David Krak. “Then, I joined them in singing ‘A Welsh Lullaby’ by K. Lee Scott. Mrs. Kline-Smith introduced our group and held back tears as she conducted us for both songs. I could tell it meant a lot to her that we all participated, and it was a moving experience to sing the songs in honor of Mrs. Kline-Smith and her parents.”

The students also attended the reception following the funeral.

“The friends and family of the deceased voiced their sincere appreciation,” Krak added, “for our willingness to lift our voices up for the spirits of Roy and Lorraine.”

The outpouring of sympathy is a tangible tribute to Kline-Smith’s influence in the Warwick community.

“I know that Mrs. Kline-Smith will appreciate all of the efforts that her students and their parents are putting forth to let her know how much they care,” said Ann Ahlers, who directs the high school orchestra.

When asked what might be appropriate items to help Deb Kline-Smith and her family at this time, Ahlers responded, “I would suggest gift cards for gas, groceries or restaurants in lieu of food being dropped off at their home. They will be traveling back and forth to Hanover many times over the next few months. I believe these things will be greatly appreciated and really useful.”

Donations and sympathy cards for Kline-Smith and her family can be dropped off at the Warwick High School office, 301 W. Orange Street.

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