I've written about Klass's death in August here and here. It was big news within ufology. After all, how many times do you get to mark the passing of Satan (as he was seen by more than a few people)?
Klass had a huge influence, for good and ill, on ufology over a period of almost 4 decades. He will be missed - whether by those who miss him as a human being (yes, there are some who considered him a friend), or as a target - as a yin, so to speak, to their yang. He was important to them, as indicated by the fact that his very name became an epithet for attacking their foes, both real and perceived. The big question for this latter group in 2006 will be: "who will take Klass's place as Public Enemy #1?"
I'm sure they'll find someone to fill in, but it won't be the same. Klass, like his longtime sparring partner, Stan Friedman, was one of a kind. He certainly wasn't perfect, and could definitely be mean-spirited at times (he did not "kill" Dr. James McDonald, as some suggest, but that episode of Klass's career did him no credit). But he also had something else, especially as he got older, that more than a few pro-ET people lack - a sense of humour, and a willingness to hope that he might be wrong, as he showed in an interview for Skeptic Magazine in 1999:
"Skeptic: And what would you say to those critics who claim that you are motivated by some sort of "hatred" or "fear" of the idea that UFOs and ET visitations might be real?
Klass: As I turn 80, my fondest hope is that a genuine ET craft will land on our back patio and that I will be abducted. Hopefully, with the ETs' advanced technology and knowledge, they will be able to cure my spinal and walking problems and the damage to my vocal cord. Of course, I would have to pay Stanton Friedman $10,000 -- based on my long-standing wager that UFOs will never be proven real -- but I would expect to become wealthy from the royalties of a new book titled Why Me, ET? And instead of spending many hours each week "debunking" UFOs, I'll finally have time to watch some TV, go to the movies, and perhaps get to read a few non-UFO books for enjoyment. I even keep my videocam near my bed in the hopes of being able to film a beautiful "Nordic-type" ET extracting sperm 'the old-fashioned way.'"
Klass was definitely a controversial and polarizing figure - most people in ufology either liked him, or loathed him. The one thing they couldn't do was ignore him.