BEL AIR, Md (WMAR) — "Andy, I would say was sometimes bigger than life," close friend Bill Cox said.
A man whose giving touch was felt across Harford County, the state and the country. Andy Klein wore many hats and he wore them very well.
"I think every nonprofit and agency has worked with Andy in some capacity," Mary Hastler, CEO of the Harford County Public Library said.
"Andy was all about being a team effort, whether it was the hospital or any other organization he was involved in," Cox said.
He was on the Board of Directors at University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health since 2004 and the UCH Foundation Board of Directors since 2003. Most recently, he served as Vice Chairperson of the UCH Foundation Board since 2015. Andy was also the founding Chair of the Senator Bob Hooper House Board located in Forest Hill. He was serving as an honorary chair of the Your Health, Our Mission: Caring for Our Families Together campaign where he was a visionary and leading proponent of the Harford Crisis Center as well as a generous supporter. As he carried out his family's giving legacy, he also established himself as a man dedicated to making the world a better place.
"He cared about his family. He cared about his family. He cared about his community," Cox said.
He was the treasurer of the Jewish National Fund and close friends say he was on his way to their offices in New York this morning when he was killed in a 12-car crash on Route 24.
"You would have more people say he was like my brother than anybody I've ever met in my life. You could talk to 100 people and that was their reaction. It's like I lost my brother. He had that impact on people. He was humble. He was kind. He was smart. He was tough," close friend Jim Dresher said.
In his long list of accomplishments, the president of Klein's ShopRite of Maryland was recognized by First Lady Michelle Obama back in 2011 for making healthy food more readily available in areas that need it.
From the Harford Humane Society to the Harford County Public Library, organizations across the area are grieving the loss of such a philanthropic icon.
"He really cared about his community. He cared about the people. He was willing to give his time, his energy, his passion, his funding, his support," Hastler said.
They hope more people will choose to live like Andy.
"To be very involved, but not only involved with you money, but involved with your person as well; being a leader, being a giver, spending your time," Dresher said.
"We are shocked and saddened to learn that one of the victims in this morning’s horrific accident was Andy Klein. The Klein's have been so supportive of our shelter and wonderful partners in animal welfare. Our hearts and prayers go out to the Klein family," Harford Humane Society tweeted.
"We are shocked and saddened by the loss of Andy Klein. Andy followed his family’s legacy of giving back to many community groups in Harford County. We pray for God’s healing for his family and for the family of the child who was also lost today," Harford County Executive Barry Glassman tweeted.