Christine W. Kallio

The Ellicott City dentist enjoyed raising irises and was known for her compassion and gentle touch with patients.

November 15, 2008|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,

Christine W. Kallio, a retired Ellicott City dentist who enjoyed raising irises, died Tuesdayof a brain tumor at her Columbia home. She was 57.

Christine Waclawski was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and raised in Pompton Plaines, N.J. She was a 1971 graduate of DePaul High School in Wayne, N.J.

She earned a bachelor's degree in biology from Hiram College in Ohio. In 1978, she earned a degree in nursing from the College of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

She worked as an obstetrician/gynecologist nurse practitioner in Ashtabula, Ohio, before becoming director of nursing at Memorial Hospital in Geneva, Ohio.

In 1976, Dr. Kallio married her college sweetheart, Thomas T. Kallio, and in 1987, the couple moved to Catonsville so she could attend the University of Maryland Dental School.

After earning her dental degree in 1991, she practiced dentistry in Bethesda for two years before purchasing the Soft Touch Dental Care practice in 1993.

In 2001, Dr. Kallio relocated her practice from Edmondson Avenue in Catonsville to Ellicott City.

"Soft Touch was more than the office name, it was the hallmark of the care that Christine and her staff provided patients," said Mr. Kallio, who is chief of occupational safety for the city of Baltimore.

"She was an incredibly intelligent, kind, warm and generous person, and her patients loved her," said Dr. Teresa D. Adams, a dentist who worked with Dr. Kallio.

"She had a lot of fearful patients whom she was able to make comfortable and treat," Dr. Adams said.

Dr. Kallio also provided care to needy patients without charge, her husband said.

Mary C. Thompson has worked as patient coordinator at Soft Touch Dental Care for the past two years.

"She was just an amazing person who liked listening to her patients and giving them hugs," said Ms. Thompson.

Dr. Kallio was especially fond of growing irises, which she also used as the logo for her practice.

"I remember one time we went to her home for a plant dig. It was a big thing with her. She cooked breakfast for us, and we had a good time," Ms. Thompson said. "She planted seeds of kindness wherever she went."

After Dr. Kallio was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2007, she retired and sold her practice to Dr. Adams.

"I never heard her say anything about it philosophically, but you could see the sadness in her eyes. It was hard for everyone," Dr. Adams said.

"It affected her speech, and this was very difficult for her because she was definitely a talker and had been a wonderful teacher. Educating students had been a big thing."

In addition to gardening, Dr. Kallio enjoyed collecting antique spinning wheels, hiking and camping.

She was an active member of New Hope Lutheran Church, where she was a volunteer in its outreach program.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Dec. 6 at her church, 8575 Guilford Road in Columbia.

Also surviving are a daughter, Elizabeth E. Welsh of Timonium; her parents, Anthony and Wilma Waclawski of Pompton Lakes; a brother, Anthony Waclawski of Princeton, N.J.; four sisters, Kathy McCauley of Arlington, Texas, Marie Welsh of Rockville, Donna Phillips and JoAnne Bakerian, both of White House Station, N.J.; and many nieces and nephews.

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