Philip T. Klima Sr., City Police Officer

January 13, 2010|By Frederick N. Rasmussen

Philip T. Klima Sr., a retired Baltimore police officer who was on duty when an assassin tried to kill Mayor William Donald Schaefer during a 1976 shooting rampage, died Tuesday of a heart attack at his Locust Point home. He was 78.

Mr. Klima, the son of a city police officer and a homemaker, was born in Baltimore and raised on East Monument Street.

He was a 1949 graduate of Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School and played the bass drum in the Kenwood Drum & Bugle Corps.

Mr. Klima was a Sunpapers route owner from 1954 to 1956, and served in the Maryland National Guard from 1949 to 1956.

He joined the city Police Department in 1956 and served in the motorcycle, traffic and mounted divisions before retiring in 1979.

"He directed traffic at many Orioles and Colts games in front of the old Memorial Stadium," said a son, Philip T. Klima Jr. of Pasadena.

"On his first day in the mounted division, April 13, 1976, Dad's post was at Calvert and Redwood streets. He and his horse Skipper were on the corner when a gunman, Charles A. Hopkins, entered temporary City Hall and gunned down City Councilman Dominic M. Leone," Mr. Klima said.

Police led the mayor to safety, but three others were wounded in the attack, and Councilman J. Joseph Curran Sr., who suffered a heart attack during the melee, died within a year.

After retiring from the Police Department, Mr. Klima was sexton for St. Mary's Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Church, where he also was a longtime communicant. He retired a second time in 1986.

He was a past grand knight of Our Lady of Lourdes Knights of Columbus Council 4606 and was a past secretary of the TOGOM Club of South Baltimore.

Mr. Klima enjoyed vacationing and crabbing at a second home he owned in Ocean City.

A Mass of Christian burial was offered Monday at his church.

Also surviving are his wife of 55 years, the former Mary A. Murray; another son, William M. Klima of Catonsville; two daughters, Mary Kay Ellenberger of Pasadena and Karen M. Ludwitzke of Locust Point; a brother, William Klima of Lansdowne; three sisters, Ruth Mongelli and Virginia Beland, both of Ocean City, and Thelma Gatewood of Phoenix; and nine grandchildren.

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