Winifred Mary Kline, 84, operated cab company


One of the attractions of Klines' Cab Co. wasn't the ride in the back of a Packard, the gab of the driver, or a cruise through then-undeveloped Towson.

It was calling the dispatch office and talking to Winifred Mary Kline. Passengers always got a pleasant earful with Mrs. Kline -- and a cab to pick them up on time.

"She had a good personality and knew about a lot of things," said Mary Lerner, a passenger and friend who was a longtime Towson resident and now lives in Baltimore. "Sometimes you'd call and forget that wanting the cab is why you called."

Mrs. Kline, 84, who with her husband founded and operated Klines' Cab Co. in Baltimore County for nearly a decade, died Saturday of heart failure at her home in the Waverly section of Northeast Baltimore.

In the mid-1940s, Mrs. Kline and Aaron B. Kline, whom she married in 1938, founded the business in a Towson building that would later become a Hutzler's department store. Mrs. Kline was a dispatcher and her husband a driver.

"She loved working with my father," said her daughter Mary Kathryn Evangelista of Pasadena. "She thought that was one of the most wonderful things."

Klines' Cab began with one cab and the Klines working nearly 24-hour days. The business grew to about 10 cabs, with the couple maintaining their round-the-clock work schedule.

"They stayed in the two-story garage where the cabs were," Ms. Evangelista said. "It was a locker room with pinball machines, and they stayed in there."

Mrs. Kline spoke in a soft, sweet, deliberate voice -- stressing each word and always very clearly. She was diligent about getting cabs to fares in a timely manner and seldom sent a taxi to the wrong address.

The cabs' garage was near a Roman Catholic church and the Klines prided themselves on providing free rides for the priests and nuns.

"And they [the priests and nuns] took great advantage of that, too," Ms. Evangelista said "They carried them when they took communion to the sick or took them to the store."

The business was sold in the mid-1950s and is now Jimmy's Cab Co. Mr. Kline died in 1957 and Mrs. Kline moved from Towson to Waverly shortly thereafter.

A native of Coatesville, Pa., the former Winifred Mary Ryan moved to Maryland in the 1940s. For many years, Mrs. Kline was a member of the Waverly Neighborhood Association and belonged to St. Bernard Roman Catholic Church.

Services were held yesterday.

She is survived by a son, Aaron B. Kline Jr. of Baltimore; five other daughters, Patricia Winchild of Catonsville, Sharon Panarese of Pasadena, Winnie Michaels of Baltimore, Lillian Collier of Arnold, and Rosemary Tolbert of Dundalk; 15 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

Pub Date: 3/04/99

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