William Cullen Klein touched many people, and many types of people in the short 19 years he walked with us. Extremely intelligent, motivated, driven, loving, sweet, and inspired, he was an inspiration to all who knew him.
Cullen loved his friends with all his time. He tutored many who were falling behind in class. He knew he was gifted, and felt obligated and driven to give back. To learn for learning’s sake, not just to get through a class, but to really enjoy new knowledge made every day exciting. That’s why he skyped daily with people from over a dozen countries – in THEIR languages!
Cullen loved his family with all his heart. His brother and sisters, his parents, his aunts and uncles, his cousins continue to grieve and miss him horribly. Many considered Cullen their very best friend. He was that kind of special person, because he made so many people feel special. Many had been through very dark times and found consolation through sharing with him. At least one had been contemplated suicide. Cullen had such a passion for life that everyone walked away feeling unique, and special, and loved.
Cullen loved our God with his very being. Always the truth seeker, he spent many hours into the early morning hours reading, researching, praying and discussing with others just who this God is who makes all of life logical and possible. He prayed constantly and looked forward to quiet time “alone together.” One of his FSU classmates in China remarked that Cullen was the only kid he had ever known that really seemed to be sure of his reason for being here, that he was the most prayerful person he had ever met. Another observed that he was the only classmate that actually prayed at every shrine and temple they visited. Cullen shared that very thing with me on May 16th, just hours before “the darkest day.” “You know dad, I know He’s here with me,” he said, “I think they worship our same God, only differently, does that make sense? I mean I really feel His presence with me, and not just in the Temples and Shrines, but really all the time. Does this make sense?” “Yes Cullen I really do believe you.”
Cullen loved to laugh and so totally enjoyed life. That beautiful smile and infectious laugh will never leave us.
William Cullen Klein was “good people.” He loved others without even knowing them. A FSU classmate in China shared this story with me. They had all finished dinner together, and were headed out to the pub for some refreshment. Nick noticed that Cullen had dropped behind and was back talking to some locals. He went back to see if everything was ok, and started to run when he saw Cullen take money from his wallet and give it to the Chinese man. They had been warned not to give to beggars, so Nick was quite concerned that Cullen was being robbed. But Cullen quickly assured him that all was fine, and they walked back together to the group. Nick started to admonish Cullen for giving to beggars, but Cullen quickly corrected him. “He wasn’t begging, I just overheard his little daughter asking him if they would have to go another night without eating.” Cullen stopped and learned the man’s family hadn’t eated in three days. “How much did you give them?” Nick asked. “Thirty dollars, it was all I had in my wallet, so I’m going to go on back to the dorm now.” Nick said only then did he realize what kind of person this was. William Cullen Klein was a blessing to everyone he touched in life.
Please join me in honoring him and his life with your annual contribution to the William Cullen Klein Memorial Scholarship Fund for International Study. Find that contribition link at Cashforcullen.wordpress.com Thanks, Much Love.
“Cullen stopped and learned the man’s family hadn’t eaten in three days. “How much did you give them?” Nick asked. “Thirty dollars, it was all I had in my wallet . . .” Beautiful.
I am so very sorry that you lost your son at such an early age…my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family and I truly hope that however he passed, he did not suffer at all.
I was brought to your blog by the “viral” post but couldn’t stop myself from taking a snoop around your site. Then I found Cullen, It brings tears to my eyes that someone so young already learned the “why” of us being here. I am sure you still feel his loss in your hearts everyday but know – he knew – that is why his time here was so short. Tears and love in my heart for you and yours.
I’m so sorry for your loss. I clicked on Cullen first while browsing. My son is also named Cullen. I pray that he becomes the kind of man that it sounds like your son was.