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William, Suzanne Kling; Economist, Psychiatrist

By Matt Schudel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 19, 2005; Page B06

William Kling, 89, and his wife, Suzanne Kaufman Kling, 86, who were married for more than 64 years, died one day apart early this month. Mr. Kling, a Foreign Service officer and economist, died March 1 of respiratory failure at Summerville, an assisted living facility in Potomac. He also had dementia.

Mrs. Kling, a psychiatrist, died March 2 of sepsis at Sibley Memorial Hospital. They had lived in the Lake Barcroft community of Fairfax County for more than 40 years.


William and Suzanne Kling died one day apart early this month. He was a Foreign Service officer and economist; she had a psychiatric practice. (Family Photo)

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William Kling, who was born in New York, graduated from City College of New York in 1937 and received a master's degree the next year from what is now the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He received a doctorate in economics from Clark University in Worcester, Mass., in 1943.

While studying for his doctorate, he met Suzanne Kaufman, then a student at Smith College in Northampton, Mass. They were married in 1940.

Mrs. Kling, who was born in Budapest, settled in New York with her family when she was 7. After graduating from Smith, she attended the Women's Medical College in Philadelphia for one year before moving to Washington, where her husband was an economist with the Department of Agriculture.

In 1943, Mrs. Kling graduated from George Washington University medical school as one of four women in her class of 64. After a one-year internship at a hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y., she was a resident in neurology at D.C. General Hospital in 1944-45.

After joining the State Department in 1945, Mr. Kling was appointed agricultural attache to Belgrade. He served as first secretary at the American consulate and embassy in London from 1948 to 1954, working as a liaison to the British government. He held a diplomatic post at the U.S. Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand, from 1954 to 1960.

During those years, Mrs. Kling did postgraduate work at the University of Belgrade and at an English hospital. From 1950 to 1954, she underwent training at the British Institute of Psychoanalysis, where she studied with Anna Freud, daughter of Sigmund Freud. She began her career as a psychoanalyst in New Zealand.

In 1960, after 15 years abroad, the Klings returned to Washington. Mrs. Kling began a psychiatric practice in her home while raising three children, each of whom was born in a different country. She later had an office in downtown Washington. Her husband held a succession of high-level positions in the State Department, particularly involving economic research.

From 1963 to 1966, Mr. Kling was an economic adviser to the assistant secretary for African affairs and, from 1966 to 1968, was deputy director of economic affairs of the Office of Inter-African Affairs. In those roles, he traveled widely throughout Africa. At his retirement in 1968, he received the State Department's merit award.

From 1968 to 1973, Mr. Kling was director of governmental affairs at Uniroyal Inc. He was Washington representative for the American Soybean Association from 1973 to 1979 and also served as a consultant to Japanese agricultural organizations. He worked for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States from 1979 to 1997 as director of the Industry Statistics Division.

In the early 1970s, he was struck by a car while walking in Washington. Both of his legs were broken and he was in a coma for a week. Doctors said his life probably was saved because the accident occurred across the street from Georgetown University Hospital.

Mrs. Kling had her psychiatric practice for more than 30 years and was also an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University medical school. After closing her practice in the early 1990s, she worked until 1999 as a volunteer counselor for homeless women at Luther Place Memorial Church N Street Village in the District.

Survivors include three children, Robert Irving Kling of Orlando, Michael Paul Kling of Lincoln, Neb., and Virginia Airini Susan Kling of Bethesda; and five grandchildren.


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