Obituary: Kathleen Kleinert

REDFORD, MI (February 19, 2015) — Kathleen Kleinert, founding physician of Covenant Community Care, a faith-based health center in Detroit, died February 11 after suffering a heart attack. She was sixty.

The center traces its beginning to an offer Kleinert made in 1998 to Bob Hoey, then pastor of Messiah Church in southwest Detroit. Kleinert was a primary-care physician and member of Faith Covenant Church in suburban Farmington Hills at the time, and she had just met Hoey, whose congregation and other community members included many uninsured individuals and families.

“She asked me what our people did for healthcare when they were sick, and then offered to treat anybody that I would send to her, for Christ’s sake, regardless of their challenges, which could include mental illness, addictions, and inability to pay,” Hoey says. “I took her at her word and sorely put her to the test! Over the course of several years, she never failed to keep that promise.”

In addition to seeing patients at her private practice office, Kleinert made several house calls. “She treated every patient with dignity, respect, compassion, humility, and prayer, as well as best-practice medical treatment,” Hoey says.

Today the Covenant Community Care is a faith-based federally qualified health center with a staff of more than 100 full-time employees who provide integrated, affordable, and quality health care to those who need it most. Last year the center served more than 20,000 people in half a dozen locations. In addition, Hoey and the center’s CEO Paul Propson are working with similar programs in Toledo, Ohio, and Dolton, Illinois, and have created a curriculum that they hope will help other communities replicate the Covenant Community Care model for people in need.

“Kathy Kleinert changed my life,” Hoey says. “She set my feet on a path I never would have imagined.”

She is survived by her husband, George; five children, Tabitha (John) Wells, Timothy (Rebecca), Elisabeth (Kevin) Murphy, Theodore, and Gabriel (Lisa); six grandchildren; and her father, Aubrey Ben Portis. A funeral service was held February 14 at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church in Livonia, Michigan.

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