Mildred Jewel Klingemann, known by most as Sister, 83, of Junction, TX, peacefully left her life here on Earth and entered the gates of Heaven July 20, 2021, in San Angelo, TX.
Born August 17, 1937, in Birmingham, AL, she was of Methodist faith and played basketball and softball for Woodlawn Methodist Church. As a teen, she also enjoyed dancing, playing piano, and skating. Upon graduation from Woodlawn High School in 1956, she continued her education at Alverson-Draughon Business College. She then was employed by an automobile dealership and soon afterwards began one of her greatest chapters in life as her oldest daughter Judy was born to her and her husband Don Rutledge.
Sister enjoyed many adventures, but one of her favorites was driving race cars. She was always fascinated with fast cars and the thrill of racing. She even competed, as the only woman driver, in a race at the Montgomery Alabama Speedway, against all men drivers.
In 1963, she moved with her family to Circle D Ranch in Marianna, FL, where the thrills of life continued. From jumping out of airplanes to riding cutting horses (where she won back-to-back titles in 1966 and 1967, in the Heart of Dixie Cutting Horse Association), to hunting and fishing, Sister was always up for a challenge.
She soon married the love of her life, Howard Klingemann, and they settled in Bonifay, FL, with the newest addition to the family, their daughter Karen. The family of four joined forces with the family business where Sister was an integral part of Circle D Western Shop and Rodeo Company. That led to her greatest passion in life, rodeo. For nearly six decades, Sister was a secretary and timer for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, the Southeastern Circuit Rodeo Finals, the National High School Rodeo Association, along with the Ram Circuit National Finals. Among her greatest accomplishments was being selected as a timer and then secretary for the National Finals Rodeo, and being selected as the 2002 NFR Secretary of the Year. She was also selected as one of the top finalists for the 2017 Donita Barnes Contract and Personnel Lifetime Achievement awards from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. When she wasn’t rodeoing, she and Howard could be found playing Bingo, hunting, or fishing.
Nearest and dearest to her heart was her instrumental part in the development of the Southeastern Circuit Rodeo Finals, holding the first circuit finals rodeo at her family’s ranch-Circle D. Sister continued her work and love for the sport of rodeo and sat on the Southeastern Circuit Board of Directors for the remainder of her career. She always took a personal interest in cowboys and cowgirls and if ever a helping hand was needed, Sister was the first to lend one. Her kindness and generosity defined her, and the respect and admiration of her rodeo family brought her immense joy.
Sister lived life to the fullest and had a heart as big as Texas, especially when it came to her precious grandchildren Jonathan and Kaitlyn. She laughed, played, hunted, fished, and loved them from their first breath to her last breath, as she did her entire family.
She and Howard spent the last couple of years enjoying their ranch in Texas, walking in the park, and feeding and counting their deer. She filled her life and the life of others with laughter. She was as beautiful inside as she was on the outside. Her love showed through her actions as a devoted wife, mother, Mawmaw, sister, aunt, and friend.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Matt Cecil Contri, Ruth Contri Dryden, George E. Dryden, and brother Matt C. Dryden.
She is survived by her husband of 58 years, Howard Klingemann, of Junction TX, daughters Judy Harville (Steve Mathews) of Milton FL, Karen Baggett (Danny Bolt) of Junction, TX, grandchildren Jonathan Baggett, of Stephenville, Tx, Kaitlyn Russ, of Bonifay, FL, sister Mary Jo Gibson, of St. Pete Beach, FL, along with numerous nephews, nieces, cousins, and lifelong friends.
A celebration of life will be held at Circle D Ranch, 3121 Dryden Dr., Marianna, FL, Saturday, September 25, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in her memory to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, 101 Pro Rodeo Dr., Colorado Springs, CO, 80919, or the HANDS group, which she was an active member of, c/o Jane Douthitt 192 San Marcos Loop, Santa Fe, NM, 87508.