During World War II, William “Bill’’ Kling served two years in the Navy as a radar technician.
For the rest of his life, he continued to serve his veteran brothers and sisters, eight years as Florida’s commissioner of Veterans Affairs and 27 years as the president of the Broward County Veterans Council.
Kling died Monday in Plantation from complications after a major abdominal surgery. He was 84.
A television repairman by trade, Kling and his wife Sylvia moved to Plantation in 1973, where he worked for Perfect TV. He later became a process server for the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
But it was his love for his fellow veterans — plus a push from Sylvia — that led Kling to some of his greatest accomplishments.
Kling felt veterans should have a clinic close by so they wouldn’t have to drive great distances to get the medical care they’d need.
He pushed for a VA outpatient clinic to open in Oakland Park, said longtime friend Jack Shifrel.
And when that clinic became unserviceable, Kling started a campaign to move the outpatient clinic to a better facility.
Although the original plan for the clinic had to be adjusted to accommodate enough veterans, Kling constantly kept a positive spirit, said Dr. Phillip Greenberg, chief medical officer of the clinic.
After 13 years of building and delays, the new 98,000-square-foot clinic opened in Sunrise on Kling’s birthday — Sept. 22 — in 2008.
“The fight was not for a building,’’ Kling said at the time. “The fight was for better healthcare.”
A plaque at the clinic, which lists the ports Kling went to during his time in the Navy, is dedicated to Kling.
Kling was also instrumental in the opening of the Alexander “Sandy” Nininger Nursing Clinic in 2001 in Pembroke Pines and the South Florida National Cemetery in Palm Beach in 2007.
A member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Jewish War Veterans and Disabled American Veterans, he served as president of the Broward County Veterans Council for 27 years.
“His energy stood out the most,’’ said Loretta Young, council secretary. “He never stopped and he was always on the go. He was either on his computer or on his phone. Sometimes he was like a one-man operation.”
The first Monday of the month, Kling held meetings with veterans and community members who wanted to be informed and involved, Greenberg said.
He was honored with a multitude of awards, including the Broward Senior Hall of Fame, the man of the year award from the Plantation Democratic Club and the humanitarian of the year award from the Dolphin Democrats. In 2011, the Plantation Democratic Club gave Kling special recognition for his 35 years of community service.
“After two decades of friendship, I know firsthand how much he devoted his life to helping veterans and improving his community,’’ said U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. “We are grateful for the remarkable legacy he leaves behind.”
Kling is survived by son Steve Kling and daughter Marsha Mittentag.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Plantation Democratic Club.