Elmer Klavens, 95

Longtime pharmacist

October 21, 2007

Elmer Klavens, a pharmacist in Baltimore from 1931 until his retirement in May at the age of 95, died of heart failure Friday at his home in the Ranchleigh neighborhood of Baltimore County.

He was able to keep working three decades beyond the normal retirement age because he loved what he did and enjoyed helping people, said a son, Stuart Klavens Clay of Pikesville.

Mr. Klavens died about five months after he filled his last prescription at the Chestnut Pharmacy in Hampden.

"I encouraged him to keep working because it kept his energy level up," Mr. Clay said.

"He exercised at home, did calisthenics religiously," Mr. Clay said. "But he ate what he wanted -- ice cream, ribs, chocolate. Nothing good."

A January 2006 column in The Sun said this about Mr. Klavens: "He has three children who marvel at their father. ... All are in their 60s. All are retired. Their father passed retirement age roughly 30 years ago and went through it like a guy running a stop sign."

Born and raised in East Baltimore, Mr. Klavens was one of three children of a tailor and his wife.

He graduated from City College in 1928 and graduated from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in 1931.

After graduation, he worked for Read's drugstores for about six years before opening his own pharmacy on Fayette Street in West Baltimore. He ran his pharmacy there from 1937 to 1961, and later worked for the Rite Aid chain and several other pharmacies.

"He liked the technical aspects of selling prescriptions," said Mr. Clay. "In the old days, they took raw ingredients -- powders and liquids -- and mixed them to create capsules or bottles of medicine to sell."

His wife of 68 years, Myra Cohen Klavens, died in 2003.

They raised three children in the Ashburton neighborhood of the city.

Services will be 3 p.m. Wednesday at Sol Levinson & Sons funeral home, 8900 Reisterstown Road in Pikesville.

In addition to his son, he is survived by a daughter, Bobbie Klavens Nagel of Boca Raton, Fla.; another son, Andy Klavens Clay of Laguna Beach, Calif.; two grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

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