Elizabeth Kalinowski

[ Age 41 ] Spokeswoman for Md. transportation, natural resources

March 23, 2007|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,sun reporter

Elizabeth Kalinowski, a former spokeswoman for the state's transportation and natural resources departments, died of cancer Wednesday at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The Ellicott City resident was 41.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Graceland Park, she attended Sacred Heart of Mary Parochial School and was a 1983 graduate of Seton High School. She earned a bachelor's degree in communications at what is now Towson University.

After working at CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, she became a media spokeswoman for the State Highway Administration in 1992. She reported on road conditions, snow-removal status and highway construction, and was later public affairs director for the Maryland Department of Transportation.

"Liz always brought new information to us," said WJZ-TV's Marty Bass. "Even if there was no change from her last report, she wouldn't waste the audience's time. She would then give a good recap. She was darn good at what she did."

About a decade ago, Ms. Kalinowski changed agencies and joined the Department of Natural Resources, again as its media chief. She was frequently quoted in 1997 stories about outbreaks of Pfiesteria along the Pocomoke River.

In 2000, she became public affairs director for the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission. She retired after her 2005 cancer diagnosis.

"The biggest passion in her life was her daughter," said her husband, James "Bud" Harris, a printing industry sales manager. "She had a love of life and a fierce determination."

Her husband recalled that for many years she had also mentored a young woman through a Big Sister-type of program.

"Liz kept in touch with her for years and watched her grow up and establish her own family," he said yesterday.

A funeral Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Sacred Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church, 6736 Youngstown Ave., Baltimore.

In addition to her husband and 4-year-old daughter, Tess Elizabeth Harris, survivors include her parents, Tom and Shirley Kalinowski of Dundalk; her maternal grandmother, Ann Pierce of Dundalk; a brother, Mark Kalinowski of Bel Air; and a sister, Kelly Melhem of Dundalk.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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