It is with great sadness that the family of Rene Klopfstein announce his peaceful passing on September 27th at the age of 95 years.
He will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 67 years, Marcelle; children and spouses: Richard and Susan, Daniel and Tom; grandchildren: John, Trevor, James, and Ray; and extended family in America and Switzerland; and many friends and patrons.
Rene was predeceased by his parents Ulisse and Sophie, sister Lydia and brothers Marcel and Hermann.
He was born in Laupen (Canton Bern), Switzerland in 1925. The Klopfsteins are one of seven founding families of Laupen, dating back to the 14th century, of which Rene was very proud of his heritage. His father’s untimely death in 1935, when Rene was 10 years old, propelled the family into severe hardship which shaped Rene’s dedication to his profession, passionate determination, and entrepreneurial spirit. At an early age of 16 he apprenticed as a butcher, moving to Bern and later Basel, Switzerland. He met the love of his life Marcelle in her hometown of St. Ursanne. With son Richard born in 1956, Rene and Marcelle immigrated to Fresno, California in 1959. Son Daniel was born in 1961 and they lived as active citizens in Fresno for 61 years. Rene and Marcelle loved to entertain and thoroughly enjoyed the company of their American and European friends and their families.
Rene’s restaurateur profession commenced in 1964 when he joined Perry Boys Smorgy, a Central California restaurant group. He was rapidly promoted to executive chef where Rene managed eight city locations. In 1970 Rene commenced his entrepreneurship in opening the Swiss Bavarian House, a 600 seat restaurant with banquet facilities. Later he opened two Rene’s Restaurants, both fine dining establishments. Like a master painter with an easel, Rene’s gift for food creations were novel for Fresno and highly acclaimed. After “retiring” from successfully owning and operating three restaurants together with Marcelle as the consummate hostess, in 1995 Rene was hired as chef consultant for the opening of four more restaurants until his official retirement at 75!
Rene and Marcelle enjoyed traveling to the San Francisco and Orange County regions on many occasions to visit their sons and families including the blessings and joy of four grandsons. Reading, gardening, cooking (naturally), dining out, and celebrations with his close group of friends were his passions throughout his life.
In early 2018 Rene and Marcelle moved to Shelburne, Vermont to be closer to their sons and families. Marcelle, Richard and Daniel, and family gratefully thank the staff of the Residence at Shelburne Bay Retirement Community and Reflections Memory Care, and the Bayada Home Health Care for their expertise, kindness and compassionate care for Rene.