Mary Patricia “Patti” Klausing, an occupational therapist and animal lover who worked with horses to assist special patients and children with disabilities, died of coronary artery disease June 20 at her Towson home. She was 65.
Born in Baltimore, she was the daughter of Charles Hiltz, a Baltimore police officer, and his wife, Aileen “Spanky” Collins, a Westinghouse worker.
Her family lived in Boca Raton, Florida before returning to Maryland. Ms. Klausing attended Trinity Preparatory School in Ilchester and was a 1974 graduate of Wilde Lake High School in Columbia. She later lived on Small Court in Catonsville.
As a young woman she rode horses and had a lifelong affection for animals.
In the 1970s she worked at a Pier One store on Rolling Road and Route 40, where she met her future husband, Robert G. Klausing. They married in 1978 and later divorced.
She earned a degree in occupational therapy at the Community College of Baltimore County’s Catonsville’s campus.
She worked at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Lorien Mays Chapel.
“My sister was engaging and was a pleasant person,” said her brother, Joseph Hiltz of Lenoir City, Tennessee. “She had a contagious laugh and was a bit of a social butterfly. Above all, she was a compassionate person who would put her own life on hold at the drop of a hat.”
After working as an occupational therapist, she decided to train as a postpartum doula, a person who assists a woman after childbirth. She was also a sleep coach and helped newborns develop more regular sleep patterns.
She formed her own company, PK Pediatrics, which she ran out of her home.
Her granddaughter, Kaylie Klausing said: “She was youthful and vibrant. Her presence filled the room and effortlessly created a safe and warm atmosphere. She always wanted to go out and do something we’d never done before.”
Her granddaughter said they shared time together and had a saying, “What happens in the Subaru stays in the Subaru.” They shared gossip and secrets.
“She was such a character,” her granddaughter said. “She wanted to have a good time. She did not take life too seriously. Her goal was to have fun every day.”
Her granddaughter also said: “She made her patients feel comfortable. She bonded with them and was working hard on her new company and had recently bought an online domain.”
“Her house is filled with books and publications on becoming a doula. She had notebooks of the classes she was taking online,” her granddaughter said. “She had a good personality fit with the moms who were struggling with their babies.”
“She was a lifelong learner and whatever field she immersed herself in, she read and read,” her granddaughter said. “Her intelligence showed in her work. Any interest she had, she devoted herself to.”
In her free time, Ms. Klausing was a knitter.
“As her child, I recall she loved visiting Joann’s Fabrics and spending what seemed like hours,” said her son, Jason Klausing of Timonium.
“Her house was filled with yarn,” her granddaughter said. “She loved making things and was creative and artistic. She knitted and sold women’s hats and sweaters for her friends.”
Her granddaughter said Ms. Klausing was not a cook. Her oven broke 15 years ago and she never had it fixed.
“Her compassion and charisma made a lasting impression on her patients,” said her granddaughter. “Patti’s natural talent for occupational therapy and love of horses later led her to Maryland Therapeutic Riding Center. Patti worked there for several years as a hippotherapist, using horses as a form of therapy for her patients.
Ms. Klausing was recently certified as a pediatric sleep consultant and doula.
A funeral was held June 28 at the Haight Home and Chapel in Sykesville.
In addition to her brother, son and granddaughter, survivors include her mother, Aileen Rykiel of Mays Chapel Village in Timonium; a sister, Jacqueline “Jackie” Sollers of Abbottstown, Pennsylvania; two stepbrothers, Gary Rykiel of Potomac and Scott Rykiel of Towson; and two other grandchildren.