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Published: 11/24/2009

Pediatrician led family care clinic at Mercy

Dr. Warren Kleinberg, a pediatrician known for his patient care and technical skills and his leadership in community health care, died Friday in Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center. He was 65.

He learned he had malignant melanoma in April, said his wife, Dr. Martha Kleinberg, who also is a pediatrician. He continued to work into last month.

He was affiliated with Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center for more than 25 years and was director of the pediatric clinic at its Family Care Center.

"He was a brilliant diagnostician who spent his entire professional life caring for the poor and underserved," said Dr. John Schaeufele, president and chief executive officer of Mercy Children's Hospital.

"I'm quite sure he could have moved on and done better financially, practicing in private practice or doing a number of different things," Dr. Schaeufele said. "This was his calling in life."

Dr. Ernest Brookfield, a professor emeritus of pediatrics at the University of Toledo college of medicine, the former Medical College of Ohio, said, "He had a real belief that being a pediatrician, you took care of all kids, and the kids who had the least economic advantage needed the best service."

Dr. Kleinberg's interest in care for all led to his work as chairman of the community health commission of the Academy of Medicine of Toledo and Lucas County.

The commission's concerns about finding care for people who were uninsured and underinsured later became part of Toledo-Lucas County CareNet, which helps low-income uninsured people, said Lee Wealton, executive director of the Academy of Toledo and Lucas County.

Tall with a big white beard, he had a good word for all he met, Mr. Wealton said.

"What a wonderful personality," he said.

Dr. Kleinberg's daughter Rebecca said: "He was very funny and very good at putting people at ease in uncomfortable situations."

Pediatrics wasn't all seriousness. "He was just a big kid and liked to play with kids," his daughter said.

His wife added: "We always said the biggest kid on the street was at our house."

Dr. Kleinberg of West Toledo joined the faculty of MCO in 1974 as an assistant professor, first of community medicine and then of pediatrics.

The Pediatric Housestaff Association of Toledo, a group of intern and resident physicians in Toledo hospitals, named him the pediatric professor of the year in 1980.

Born May 21, 1944, in New York City, Dr. Kleinberg received a bachelor's degree from Queens College in New York and his medical degree from State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn.

"He took the time and the effort after becoming an MD to go up to the University of Michigan and get a master's in public health because of his tremendous interest in public health," Mr. Wealton said.

He was a major in the Air Force, serving as chief of pediatrics at Offut Air Force Base in Nebraska.

He was an elder, treasurer, and choir member at Hampton Park Christian Church. "It was very much an extension of our family," his daughter said.

Surviving are his wife, Dr. Martha Kleinberg, whom he married in 1967; sons, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Theodore and David Kleinberg; daughters, Elizabeth Miscikowski and Rebecca Kleinberg; mother, Clarice; brothers, Mark and James; sisters, Felice Buatti and Patrice D'Angelo, and six granddaughters.

There will be no visitation. Services will be at 2 p.m. Friday in Hampton Park Community Church.

The family suggests tributes to the pediatric ambulatory fund of the Mercy St. Vincent Foundation.



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