An awards banquet held in Las Vegas, Nevada in January, honored one of Hope's late citizens with a lifetime achievement award.
The Association of Loudspeaker Manufacturing and Acoustics International Winter Symposium was held in early January and Paul W. Klipsch was honored posthumously with the “Beryllium Lifetime Achievement Award.”
The award “recognizes significant and sustained contributions to the loudspeaker industry over the lifetime of a career,” according to the program of the symposium. The award was in the shape of a woofer.
Klipsch graduated from New Mexico State University in 1926, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. He came to Hope through the U. S. military and the Southwestern Proving Grounds and stayed to build his career into an international name, recognized for quality speakers.
Klipsch was discharged with the rank of Major and later was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in the reserves in 1953. Throughout his life, Klipsch had three patents in ballistics, eight in geophysics, and 12 in acoustics. In addition to his many other awards, he also earned a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University in 1934. He also earned a Doctorate of Laws at New Mexico State University in 1981.
Klipsch and his wife Valerie, who still lives in Hope, were married for 25 years.
Valerie Klipsch wrote in the book Paul Wilbur Klipsch: The Life, The Legend, “Before we met, my life was molded for music and giving knowledge to young people. I was a teacher, yet there was a void in my life and how he has filled it, with love, compassion, and understanding. He has been the perfect gentleman at home and at work and he has shown the highest moral principles always. This intellectual giant has achieved more in a lifetime that can be imagined. How I admire him. He is my life.”
She has kept her husband's legend alive by establishing museums and scholarships in his name. There are two museums that are named in Klipsch's honor, one in Hope, and one on the campus of New Mexico State University.
The museum in Hope is open Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and is housed in the old Cairo Depot at Division and Walnut Streets in Hope. Call the museum on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 870-777-8200 to check when they are open. Robert “Bois d' Arc” Wyatt, Jr. is the curator of the museum and encourages everyone to come see the history of Klipsch and his inventions. There have been many visitors from around the states and other countries who have come to see where the legend of Klipsch began.
Klipsch died May 5, 2002 at the age of 98, but published one of his last papers at age 96, in the “Journal of the Audio Engineering Society,” according to a brochure from New Mexico State University, College of Engineering and Electrical Engineering Department, now known as the Klipsch School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Page 2 of 2 - Over the years, the Klipsches have established endowed scholarships that support more than 40 students and four departmental professorships.
Education was always at the forefront of Klipsch's life. Following graduation from NMSU, he went to work for General Electric, designing radios sold to RCA. In 1928, he responded to a notice on the GE bulletin board. This resulted in a new job maintaining electric locomotives in Chile for three years, before entering graduate school at Stanford. After receiving his Masters Degree, he worked as a geophysicist for a Texas oil company.
Klipsch played the cornet in the marching band at NMSU, and was an award-winning member of the school rifle team. He credited his four years as a member of the Aggie Band for developing his love and knowledge of music and musical instruments.
He came by his interest in engineering quite naturally though, because his father was an instructor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana. His interest in science and engineering endured throughout his lifetime, according to information from New Mexico State University.
“Audio was a hobby and then a profession, but I still consider myself an amateur in that an amateur is one who practices his art for love,” Klipsch had said.