August 1, 2011

Dea Anderson Kline, 89, university’s first director of community affairs

Dea Anderson Kline, the university’s first director of community affairs, an influential community organizer and a founder of Greater Homewood Community Corp., has died at 89.

Kline, who retired in 1991, died July 24 at a nursing home in Tennessee.

Kline joined Johns Hopkins in 1967 as director of the Homewood Community Project, funded by the university to enhance quality of life in neighborhoods near Homewood through social services, improved local public schools, business development and other strategies. In 1969, the project became formalized with the creation of Greater Homewood Community Corp., and Kline became the university’s director of community affairs.

“In the mid-1960s, Johns Hopkins was very much the academic ivory tower, ‘in the city but not of it,’ as many said at the time. Dea Kline helped Hopkins step out of the tower and into the community,” said Ross Jones, vice president and secretary emeritus of the university.

“She was, in so many respects, ahead of her time in helping the university understand how it was connected to the larger community in matters of public education, social justice, race, housing, health and all the other issues that impact Baltimore’s residents and institutions as they work to improve their communities,” he said. “Through her leadership at the Office of Community Affairs and the Greater Homewood Community Corp., she showed how these issues might be addressed.”

Kline for many years was host and organizer of Community Conversations, a breakfast series started in 1966 to bring together university and community leaders to discuss issues of common concern. The breakfasts continue today.

While at Johns Hopkins, she worked with the Baltimore Citizens Planning and Housing Association, the Baltimore City Fair, the Barclay School and summer camps for inner city youth, among other projects.

A memorial service was held July 30 in Phoenix, Md. Memorial donations may be made to Greater Homewood Community Corp. at 3503 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218 or online at