Philip S. Kline Jr., a physician who practiced radiology for over 30 years in San Antonio, died Saturday following a long battle against dementia. He was 77.
Dr. Kline was born in Chicago to Dr. Philip Kline Sr., Surgeon, and Lois Bates Kline on September 30, 1942.
After obtaining his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin, he followed the family tradition of practicing medicine and attended George Washington University where he received his medical degree. He completed his residency in radiology at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. After two years as an Army major, stationed in Denver, he returned to San Antonio in 1978 where he began a long career as a devoted physician. A beloved figure in the hospital, his gregarious demeanor enamored him to staff, nurses and fellow physicians alike.
Socially active, Dr. Kline and his wife Deborah were members of the San Antonio Country Club, The Argyle, and the wine tasting club Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin.
From an early age, Dr. Kline was an enthusiastic athlete. He was named to the All-State and All-American aquatic teams while at Keystone High School. His aquatic career continued at the University of Texas at Austin where he was a member of the diving and swim teams.
In 1961, Dr. Kline brushed against history when he was invited to Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson's ranch. The occasion was a foreign visit by the Pakistani president and LBJ, as part of a large Bar-B-Que he hosted, wanted to show off with Texas flare. In addition to other forms of entertainment, the event requested the University of Texas' newly minted All-Conference diving champions to perform an exhibition at the ranch's pool. After determining LBJ's diving board was too brittle to support their spring, Dr. Kline had the University's board installed to fulfill the request. He described participating in the event as his "proudest moment."
If by a pool in later years, he liked to delight friends and family by approaching the diving board and casually executing front one-and-a-half pike dives.
Dr. Kline also became a serious runner and marathoner. He formed the San Antonio Marathon Clinic where he helped beginner runners complete their first marathon. He invited guest lecturers to educate runners on diet, health and marathon training techniques. The clinic's own materials were punctuated with Dr. Kline's encouraging advice throughout: "If it's not fun, you're not doing it right," and, "Don't let anyone try to humiliate or harass you out of your body's comfortable pace." He mixed business and pleasure by joining the American Medical Athletic Association.
Dr. Kline would run over 30 marathons himself, the Paris and Honolulu races being his favorites. With his longtime friend Dr. Jim White, he participated in multi-day 100-mile races such as the Trans Sierra Ultra Run and the Great Hawaiian Footrace. For Dr. White's 50th birthday, they celebrated by running the 50 miles from Kerrville to San Antonio in a single day. When he retired from marathoning, his "gold standard" was to run 10 miles a day, a habit he continued until late in life.
In addition to his professional and athletic pursuits, Dr. Kline was a true renaissance man in every sense of the word. He shared his love of history, music, wine, travel, and learning with friends and family.
With his friend Vito Aguilar, he helped design the functionally and aesthetically pleasing wine cellars that would become the center of attention in his homes. Despite the constant 58-degree temperature, they were places that guests liked to congregate. In a San Antonio Express News profile of the wine cellar, his wife Deborah commented, "If people come here to the house, they all end up in this place. I'll be out in the living room…but they all stay here."
Imbibing wasn't its only function, as Dr. Kline mentioned, "I've brought the kids in here and made them study…I'll say, 'Put on your coat. We're going into the wine cellar'" where there are no interruptions.
Dr. Kline became an accomplished jazz pianist whose hero was Dave Brubeck. As an adult he took weekly piano lessons with Nobuko and then Valery Grokhovski. Dr. Kline's rendition of Brubeck's "The Duke" and "Take the 'A' Train" regularly filled the home.
Eventually he and his wife would host parties where his friends, and often his brother Peter on the drums, would perform jazz standards to provide the night's entertainment. These "piano parties" were what he enjoyed most. During the annual King William Fair, Dr. Kline would host public jazz shows on his front lawn.
Later in life, his curiosity led him to passionately study the French and Portuguese languages. Traveling frequently to Europe for his beloved biking trips or his wife's native Brazil, he created many opportunities to put his learnings to practice.
Dr. Kline's four children fondly remember traveling with dad to Hawaii to surf, Colorado to ski and France to bike. His influence on them is great. His eldest son, Philip III, has been a lifelong athlete, including a roster spot on the Texas Longhorns football team. Chris became a professional musician with a large repertoire of instruments that include the piano. Eric inherited his father's epicurean taste and interest in travel, reading history and writing. Andrea, Dr. Kline's only daughter, followed in his footsteps and became a physician.
As Dr. Kline's health declined, he continued to enjoy the activities that made him the man he had become. He continued to prefer being surrounded by good food, wine, music and company. Most of all, his genial personality never abandoned him.
Dr. Kline is survived by his wife Deborah; brothers, Peter Brice Kline and his wife Ester, and Timothy Newcomb Kline; his sons Philip Sherwood Kline III and his wife Kelly, Christopher Brice Kline and his wife Micci, Eric Sherwood Kline and daughter Drs. Andrea Kline Purpura and her husband Russell; grandchildren, Silas, Zachary, and Dylan Kline; sister-in-law Cynthia Ravinowich Taliaferro and her husband Scott; nieces Marya Kline Arrington and her husband Tom, Laura Kline Barraza and her husband John, Julie Elizabeth Dixon and her husband Timothy and nephew Nicholas Ravinowich Tebet and his wife Sydney.
His family wishes to express their deep appreciation to Ms. Poonam Singh, owner and manager of PAAM Care and their staff for excellent and compassionate care.
A service will be held privately by the family.
Memorial contributions may be made to Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer's & Neurodegenerative Diseases in San Antonio, Texas.