Clementine L. Kaufman, in 1983.
Clementine L. Kaufman, in 1983. (Walter M. McCardell, Baltimore Sun)

Dr. Clementine L. "Clem" Kaufman, a former social worker and volunteer who also served for years on numerous boards throughout the community and worked tirelessly for social justice, died of cancer Sept. 23 at Roland Park Place. She was 89.

"She was a phenomenal person, and I got to know her when she was one of then-President Michael Hooker's assistants," said Freeman A. Hrabowski III, current president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a longtime friend.


"She always cared about social justice issues, and she worked hard to connect us to those initiatives in the city. She understood the challenges families and children faced and was as caring as possible," said Dr. Hrabowski. "And she worked with people from a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds. Clem represented the best of Baltimore and America."

Clementine Alice Lazaron, the daughter of Morris S. Lazaron, a rabbi who led the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, and Pauline Horkheimer, a homemaker, was born in the family's home on Naylor Lane in Pikesville, where she was also raised.

She was 9 when her mother died in 1933, and she took on the role of her father's hostess in their home.

Growing up in the Baltimore of her youth, she visited Gertrude Stein at the home of the art-collecting sisters Claribel and Etta Cone in the Marlborough apartments on Eutaw Place. She was impressed with the "world of these highly educated Jewish women," reported The Baltimore Sun in 1987.

"She also recalled the composer Irving Berlin, who was a friend of her father's, coming to their home to play at the family seders," said her daughter, Peggy Kaufman Wolf of Guilford. "And they always ended by singing 'God Bless America.'"

After graduating in 1942 from the Park School, she attended Bennington College in Vermont, Bard College in New York and the Johns Hopkins University. She earned her bachelor's degree from Goucher College.

In 1945, she married Frank A. Kaufman, a Baltimore attorney who later became a U.S. District Court judge. He died in 1997.

Later in life, Dr. Kaufman earned a master's degree in 1973 from the University of Maryland School of Social Work and a doctorate in 1981 in social work, also from the University of Maryland.

During the 1950s, she was chairwoman of the board that operated the Montrose Training School for Girls in Reisterstown, which was then a privately run organization with segregated facilities.

Dr. Kaufman was head of the board that transformed the facility in 1956 to an integrated and state-run facility administered by the old state Department of Public Welfare.

She volunteered at the state Department of Juvenile Services from 1962 to 1969 and thereafter continued to volunteer on advisory panels and commissions at the state level.

Dr. Kaufman served as president of the Women's Division of Associated Jewish Charities and Welfare Fund, and chaired the Women's Campaign of the Associated Jewish Charities and Welfare Fund. She was also a member of Union Memorial Hospital's Women's Board, and the Peabody Institute and St. Mary's College boards.

In addition to her work, Dr. Kaufman taught courses in voluntarism at Johns Hopkins and UMBC.

During the 1980s, Dr. Kaufman was assistant to the president at UMBC, and when Dr. Hrabowski arrived on campus in 1992, she remained in that position and helped establish the Shriver Center, which opened in 1993.


The mission of the center, which was funded by the state Department of Juvenile Services, was to fight urban decay and send college graduates into cities where they worked as mentors and role models.

Dr. Kaufman also served as a member of the White House Commission on Children and Youth Action and the Kettering Foundation, and was associated with the School of Hygiene and Public Health at Johns Hopkins.

Dr. Kaufman and her husband "were always hosting dinners in their home, and that is how I got to know the leaders of Baltimore," said Dr. Hrabowski.

"They were both enlightened Americans and felt deeply and brought passion to their fight against injustice, and analytical thinking. They were humble and willing to be connected to all kinds of people from different backgrounds.

"They had grace," he said.

He recalled Dr. Kaufman's "ready smile and piercing eyes that focused on issues. She was very special."

Dr. Kaufman was a scratch golfer at Suburban Club, her daughter said. She also taught ballroom dancing in the basement of her home on Clovelly Lane in Pikesville.

She was a member of the Women's Hamilton Street Club. She was a dog fancier and enjoyed reading, traveling, listening to music and writing.

Funeral services were held Sept. 25 at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Kaufman is survived by a son, Frank A. Kaufman Jr. of Pikesville; a stepsister, Ellie Lou Rothschild Thaviu of Chicago; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.