Frances A. Kleeman

Longtime Language And Music Teacher Later Became A Medical Translator For Johns Hopkins

July 28, 2009|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

Frances A. Kleeman, a former educator who later became a medical translator for the Johns Hopkins International Exchange Program, died Wednesday of esophageal cancer at the home of her twin sister at Roland Park Place. She was 91.

Frances Alice Kleeman, whose father was a banker and mother a WQXR radio personality, was born in New York City.

Miss Kleeman was raised there and in Switzerland, where she graduated from the Oxford School in 1934.

She was a 1938 graduate of Barnard College, where she earned a bachelor's degree in music in 1938, and two years later, a master's degree in music and musicology from Columbia University.

In 1958, Miss Kleeman was awarded a professional diploma in music education from Columbia University.

She began her career in 1940 teaching music at Miss Fine's School in Princeton, N.J.

Fluent in French and German, she was an editor and translator of political and military documents for the Office of Strategic Services from 1944 to 1945, in Washington, London, Paris and Wiesbaden, Germany.

She resumed teaching at Miss Fine's in 1945 and moved to Baltimore in 1953 to be director of music at Friends School.

From 1955 to 1956, she was acting director of music at Springside School in Philadelphia, and held a similar position at Germantown Friends School, also in Philadelphia, from 1956 to 1957.

After teaching music at Yokohama High School in Japan from 1958 to 1959, she joined the faculty of then-Hereford Junior-Senior High School, teaching music and French.

She was chairman of the foreign language department at Milford Mill High School from 1962 to 1969, and was department chair and an instructor in German and French at Randallstown High School from 1969 until 1980, when she retired.

During summers, she led groups of students to Europe for the Experiment in International Living, now World Living.

In a 1964 article from the Barnard College alumnae magazine, which was reprinted at the time in T he Evening Sun, Miss Kleeman explained the value of a liberal arts education.

"It prepares one to do things one never thought of doing," she wrote.

Explaining the way she interpreted her role as an educator, she wrote: "Every day of the week, I try to persuade some student that whatever he learns today may mean an unexpected opportunity tomorrow: to get students to see that if they will learn for sheer interest in the subject, some of which I as a teacher must stimulate, but which they themselves must generate, the grades about which they worry inordinately will take care of themselves."

After retiring, Miss Kleeman embarked on a second career in 1980 as a medical translator and editor for the Johns Hopkins International Exchange Program, focusing primarily on gynecological and obstetrical materials.

Miss Kleeman, who had not retired, was honored as employee of the year in May by the Hopkins-affiliated international health organization JHPIEGO.

Miss Kleeman lived on North Hilton Street for many years before moving to 3900 N. Charles St. Apartments in the 1990s.

"She lived most of her life in Hilton Street, because of her commitment and desire to live in a racially mixed neighborhood. She was also an active member of the Forest Park Neighborhood Association," said a niece, Emily Frank, of Baltimore.

Miss Kleeman played violin for many years with the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Orchestra and was the orchestra's music librarian.

She enjoyed attending and supporting the Baltimore Symphony, Pro Musica Rara, Shriver Hall Concert Series and the Baltimore Opera Company. She also endowed a scholarship for composition students at the Peabody Conservatory of Music.

Miss Kleeman was a member of Temple Oheb Shalom Congregation. Plans for a memorial service were incomplete Monday.

Also surviving are a brother, Richard Kleeman of Rossville; her sister, Elizabeth Frank of Roland Park; and several other nieces and nephews.

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