Catherine Kohlenstein, 45, physical therapist for veterans, athletes

January 03, 2003|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Catherine D. Kohlenstein, a physical therapist who worked with injured veterans and athletes, died of leukemia Monday at University of Maryland Medical Center. The Ellicott City resident was 45.

Ms. Kohlenstein was co-owner of a physical therapy practice in Columbia, where she treated clients with an approach that stressed movement and proper posture to relieve pain.

Born Catherine Doetzer in Columbus, Ga., she was raised on Montrose Avenue in Catonsville. She was a 1974 graduate of Catonsville High School, where she played lacrosse, soccer and softball on varsity teams.

After attending Loyola College, where she also played lacrosse, she earned a bachelor's degree from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. She also had two master's degrees -- one from the University of Maryland, College Park in exercise physiology and kinesiology, the other from the University of Delaware in physical therapy. She also was certified by the Institute of Physical Art in Steamboat Springs, Colo.

She was a former director of the wellness program at then-Catonsville Community College and physical education teacher at Mount de Sales Academy in Catonsville.

For several years she worked in physical therapy at the Fort Howard Veterans Affairs Hospital in Baltimore County. Three years ago, she co-founded the Center for Integrated Manual Therapies on Red Branch Road in Columbia.

"She was energetic, creative, optimistic. There was no problem she thought she couldn't solve," said her business partner, Karen A. Johnson of Columbia. "She never knew a limit. She was tenacious and idealistic in following the things she believed in. She had so much care in her for her clients -- to help them get well and get their lives back. She was a very talented manual therapist."

"If you ever wanted a revelation of the enduring power of an indomitable spirit, it was Cathy," said her pastor, the Rev. Harry E. Brunett, rector of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Glenwood.

"People rallied around her. She was magnetic," said her life partner, Paul Shoffeitt of Woodbine. "She was a gracious individual known for doing for others."

Family members said she enjoyed horseback riding and running on trails in the Patapsco valley.

Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday at St. John's Episcopal Church, St. John's Lane in Ellicott City.

In addition to Mr. Shoffeitt, she is survived by three sons, John Kohlenstein, Steven Kohlenstein and Doug Kohlenstein, all of Ellicott City; her parents, Mary and John F. Doetzer of Easton; two brothers, John W. Doetzer of Ellicott City and Bob Doetzer of Raleigh, N.C.; and a sister, Beth Easton of Parkton. Her marriage ended in divorce.

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