The longtime manager of Walker Drug was killed in a motorcycle accident about 2 miles south of Moab on U.S. Highway 191 on her way to work in the early morning of Friday, July 14.
Vivian Klocko’s friends said that she never knew a stranger, and her familiar, welcoming face was as solid as night and day at the drugstore, where she worked as manager for more than 25 years.
“She didn’t waste a moment of her life,” friend and co-worker Jennifer Rutherland said. “She loved life, she traveled the world and she was very active in all parts of Moab.”
With an adventurous spirit, Klocko traveled in search of the unusual. Her gregarious nature transcended social boundaries and brought her many friends from around the world. A trusting soul, she loved animals and was known for jumping into everything with both feet.
Klocko formed a tight bond with her co-workers, many of whom had worked together for 15 years or more, and all said that they had become a family with Klocko, who often alternated between the roles of mother and sister.
Close friend and co-worker Rhonda Applegate credited Klocko with helping her turn her life around when she was going through tough times.
“She always told me I was worth more than I thought I was,” Applegate said. “And that my past was my past. It’s time to live in the future.”
Applegate said Klocko would help anyone and that she would hire people off the street because they needed work.
“Then we’d have to train them on how to run the register,” she said.
A mother of three, Applegate said that Klocko loved her kids as if they were her own, and that together they had shared many outings, including trips to the Monticello fair concerts.
“I’m really going to miss her,” she said.
Vivian Harris Klocko was born on February 16, 1966, to John Klocko and Nancy Wells in Huntington Beach, California. Named after her great aunt Vivian Vance, of “I Love Lucy” fame, Klocko grew up the youngest child with her two half-brothers Phillip and Ron Templin.
Wells passed away in 2011.
According to her obituary, Klocko worked at an early age in her family-owned consumer electronics business while attending school in Camarillo, California. She had fun with her friends, whom she called “the rainbows.” They loved to drink Coca-Cola and just cruise around. She also took up surfing, according to the obituary.
After graduating from high school, Klocko worked in a drugstore for a short time and developed her love for working in retail.
Klocko moved to Moab in 1991 after living in Salt Lake City for four years. She was working at the time as a traveling sales representative for Russell Stover Candies when she made a stop at Walker Drug.
Walker Drug owner Jack Walker said that Klocko impressed him so much that he brought her in right away.
“She was such a cut above,” Walker said. “One of a kind.”
Walker said that Klocko had a big heart, loved all of the employees and would do anything for them. She was also very professional.
“This was her store,” Walker said. “She lived it, and she loved it.”
Pat Horton started working at Walker Drug one month before Klocko, and said she could see right away how smart she was.
“She could do anything in that store and she was very dedicated,” Horton said. “She was always helping out. She’d work double shifts and just do whatever it took.”
Horton, her daughter Susan and Klocko became fast friends often traveling together to see live music, including Brad Paisley in Salt Lake City, and Country Jam a couple of times in Grand Junction.
“She was a real working gal,” Horton said. “She loved country music and old time rock ‘n’ roll. She really enjoyed life and made the most of what she had.”
On May 28, 2016, Klocko married Rick Leech. On her Facebook page, Klocko said that she had no doubts and that “her heart knew right away.”
“I knew in a short time that I don’t want to spend a day of my life without Rick Leech in it,” she wrote. “Our love is strong and the time is right.”
Rick Leech said they had only been dating six months, but that they had known of each other for a long time. Leech said their courtship began with a casual invitation from Klocko to go hike with their dogs together.
“She was such an awesome lady, such a beautiful person,” Leech said. “I asked her to marry me on Christmas Day. She was a hopeless romantic on Christmas.”
Her co-workers also remembered Klocko’s fondness for the Christmas season and said she loved to decorate the store.
“We had a lot of fun at Christmastime,” Diane Quinn said. “She would always do 12 Days of Christmas and bring in a bunch of foods that none of us would have tried otherwise. She was very worldly that way.”
Leech said that Klocko’s greatest talent was her appreciation for other people. He said she gave everyone the benefit of the doubt and would pick up a hitchhiker any day of the week. Her kind heart and maternal nature led her to foster several children in her home.
Leech said they were true soulmates who had waited for each other all of their lives. He said they were both surprised at the sudden depth of their love for one another, and that they kept waiting for the honeymoon period to end but that it never did.
“Our life was full of love and happiness, never arguing or dissatisfied with each other,” Leech said. “Our thoughts and our actions always reflected concern for the other’s desires and wishes. One could never find a more devoted, loving wife. She was all that I had hoped for, but given up as unattainable. She expressed these same feelings about me many times.”
Leech said that a source of strength in Klocko’s life was her faith in the LDS religion, which she found on her own at an early age.
He said that Klocko was no wallflower, and that she had true grit.
“She was just an excellent person,” Leech said. “No fireworks and sparklers or anything over the top, just a kind and loving person.”
Familiar face at Walker Drug dies in motorcycle accident
She was just an excellent person. No fireworks and sparklers or anything over the top, just a kind and loving person.
A viewing will be held at Spanish Valley Mortuary on Friday, July 21, from 7 to 9 p.m. Viewing will commence again on Saturday, July 22, at 9 a.m. followed by services at 11 a.m. and interment at Spanish Valley Cemetery.