Former Idaho Democratic legislator dies from heart attack

Rep. Hy Kloc represented Boise for five years in the Idaho Legislature

By: - December 7, 2022 4:35 pm

The rotunda at the Idaho Capitol on Jan. 17, 2022. (Otto Kitsinger for the Idaho Capital Sun)

Former state Rep. Hy Kloc, a Democrat who represented Boise in the Idaho Legislature from 2013 to 2018, died Tuesday night from a heart attack, according to an announcement from the Idaho House and Senate Democrats. He was 75. 

Kloc was born to Polish parents in Essen, Germany, in 1947 in a camp for people displaced by World War II. His parents lost many members of their family in the Holocaust, according to an interview Kloc gave to Idaho Public Television earlier this year. They immigrated to the United States in 1950, and Kloc grew up in Brooklyn. Kloc worked in public television and worked for the Grammys, and in 1983 he met and married his wife, Joan Wallace.

Hy Kloc posing with license plate
Former Rep. Hy Kloc, D-Boise, with the license plate he helped establish that benefits the Idaho Humane Society. (Courtesy of the Idaho House and Senate Democrats)

The couple moved to Boise in 2000, where Kloc worked for Boise State Public Radio until he retired in 2010. Kloc was chairman of the Boise Census Committee in 2010, then became chairman of the board for the Greater Boise Auditorium District until 2014. He was still serving on the Greater Boise Auditorium District board at the time of his death.

Kloc was elected to the Idaho Legislature in 2012 and retired in 2018 after he was diagnosed with cancer.

“Hy was a steadfast champion of early childhood education, introducing bipartisan legislation seeking to end Idaho’s status as one of the few states lacking public pre-kindergarten,” the release said. “As the son of Holocaust survivors, he was an unfailing advocate for refugees and the most vulnerable members of society, sponsoring Add the Words legislation every year and vigorously opposing all legislation he saw as discriminatory.”

Kloc and his wife were devoted dog lovers, the release said, and Kloc was a vocal champion for the humane treatment of animals. He led the effort to establish Idaho’s “Pet Friendly” license plate, which has generated over $100,000 to benefit the Idaho Humane Society in providing veterinary services for low-income Idaho residents and spay and neuter services.

“Our hearts are with Joan at this difficult time. We are thankful to have worked with Hy and that Idaho reaped the benefits of his compassion, hard work and dedication to service,” the release said. “We ask that any donations in honor of the remarkable Hy Kloc be made to the Idaho Humane Society. Each time you see a Pet-Friendly license plate, thank Hy, and hug your loved ones and your pets a little closer in his memory.”


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Kelcie Moseley-Morris
Kelcie Moseley-Morris

Kelcie Moseley-Morris is an award-winning journalist who has covered many topics across Idaho since 2011. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Idaho and a master’s degree in public administration from Boise State University. Moseley-Morris started her journalism career at the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, followed by the Lewiston Tribune and the Idaho Press.