Cover photo for Herbert Klontz's Obituary
Herbert Klontz Profile Photo

Herbert Klontz

February 2, 1935 — December 27, 2023

Oklahoma City

Herbert Klontz


Orthodontics – and the human race – has lost a very talented, dedicated and passionate individual.  Those who have had the good fortune to intimately know Herb Klontz have lost a dear friend and mentor.  Dr. Herbert A. Klontz was the personification of enthusiasm, attention to detail and passion.  He practiced orthodontics in Oklahoma City for over 60 years and provided world class orthodontic treatment to all who sought his care.


Though Herb Klontz lived and practiced in Oklahoma City, the world was his audience!  He lectured on the fundamentals of orthodontics in over 30 different countries.  He served as the Director of the Tweed Study Course in Tucson, Arizona for 40 years.  During this time, he interacted with approximately 6,000 orthodontic students from the United States and approximately 25 other countries.  Herb Klontz was a “clinician’s clinician” who freely and graciously shared his skills and knowledge with all who requested him to do so.


Herb Klontz was born in Salem, South Dakota on February 2, 1935.  As he grew up in Iowa, he lived on a golf course because his dad was a golf course supervisor in Ottumwa, Iowa.  During high school at Ottumwa, Herb was extremely busy – Eagle Scout, and a two-time winner of the Iowa State High School Golf Championship!  He was also the Iowa State Junior Champion and the Iowa State Amateur Champion golfer.  He went to college at the University of Iowa on a golf scholarship and continued his golfing “career”.  He won the Chicago District Junior Open Championship and the Western Junior Championship.  A little-known fact is that as a freshman at Iowa he lettered in football! But the golf coach said “No more football”, so golf became his sole passion.  He was accepted into Iowa’s dental school after his college graduation.  By the start of his graduate training in orthodontics at Washington University in St. Louis, he had qualified four times for the National Amateur Championship and had married Karen Robertson – his college sweetheart.  The last time he qualified, the National Amateur was held at Pebble Beach, California.  This tournament was won by Jack Nicklaus!  But Herb did not get to play because Dr. Earl Shepherd, the Washington University orthodontic chair, called him into his office and asked him if he wanted to be a golfer or an orthodontist?  Luckily for the specialty of orthodontics, Herb Klontz returned his trophy and stayed in the graduate orthodontic program!


While in his second year of orthodontic education at Washington University, Herb and his friend, Ed Noffel, also a student at Washington University, met Charles Tweed who was in St. Louis to receive the Merit Award at St. Louis University.  Herb went to Oklahoma City to practice after graduation from Washington University and immediately started to visit the Tweed Study Course Co-Director, Levern Merrifield in Merrifield’s Ponca City office.  Dr. Klontz was a student at the Tweed Study Course in 1963 and again in 1965.  In 1967, he was asked to be instructor at the Tweed Study Course.  At Tweed’s death in 1970, Merrifield became the Course Director.  In 1976, he asked Herb Klontz to be the Course Coordinator.  Herb served admirably as Course Coordinator and was asked in 1983 by Merrifield to be the Course Director.


The rest is history.  Herb Klontz served as Course Director of the Tweed Study Course for over 28 years and has been Tweed Study Course Co-Director for the past 12 years.  During his tenure as Course Director and as Tweed Study Course Co-Director, many, many students have been blessed to hear his lectures and to experience his orthodontic skills first hand as he helped them with their wire bending and their typodont work at the Tweed Study Course.  During these years, he lectured extensively in the United States and all over the world.  He published over 20 articles in peer reviewed journals and was the co-author of several book chapters on the fundamentals of orthodontics.  In addition to doing all these things for his specialty, he was a clinical instructor in the Orthodontic Department at St. Louis University from 1970 – 1975, a visiting lecturer at the Baylor College of Dentistry from 1974 – 1984 and taught at the University of Oklahoma in the Department of Orthodontics from 1989 – 2020. 


Herb Klontz has been recognized by his peers with many awards for his long years of teaching and his dedication to the specialty of orthodontics. He received the Merit Award from St. Louis University, the Martin Dewey Award from the Southwestern Society of Orthodontists, the Charles H. Tweed Foundation’s Distinguished Service Award and the most prestigious award in orthodontics, the Ketcham Award which is given by The American Board of Orthodontics.  During all of these years and during all of his activities in orthodontics, he was supported by his wife, Karen, who was his soul mate, partner and “advisor”.  While he was traveling, she was raising their two children – Kelly Klontz, who is an orthodontist in Oklahoma City and Kathy Nassimbene who lives in Colorado. 


Herb Klontz was an amazing and special person who generously shared his life and talents with his family, his friends and the specialty of orthodontics.  He worked very hard in order to have a positive impact on all with whom he came into contact.  He loved and stimulated every student with whom he interacted over the years.  The students in turn loved him and attempted to use what they learned from him to make the orthodontic care they gave to each of their patients better and better.  His influence has, therefore, spread to thousands and thousands of people all over the world. 


Dr. Klontz was preceded in death by his wife, Karen, his parents, and his sister, Blanche McVey.  His survivors include his son, Dr. Kelly Klontz, an orthodontist in Oklahoma City, and Kelly’s wife, Terrie, his daughter, Kathy Klontz Nassimbene, two granddaughters, Morgan and Lilly Klontz, and a wonderful great-granddaughter, Kylie Klontz.  He is also survived by his sister, Pat Erickson, her husband, Nick, and their three children, and by his brother-in-law William McVey and his three children.  His family has asked that those who wish to memorialize him should send a contribution to the Tweed Study Course in care of the Charles Tweed International Foundation, 2620 E. Broadway, Tucson, Arizona 85716.  By doing this, all can contribute to Herb’s mission in life – To make the Tweed Study Course better and better and allow it to serve more and more young orthodontists who desire to improve the care that is given to orthodontic patients the world over.


A memorial service will be held Saturday, January 13, 2024, at 11 a.m. at Smith and Kernke N. May Chapel.

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

May Ave - Smith & Kernke Funeral Homes & Crematory

14624 N May Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73134

Family will greet friends beginning at 10 am prior to the memorial service.

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