Remembering A Champion: Dr. Phil Klingsheim

Written By: Jessica Zwilling, COVT

Klingsheim (1)

We have lost another great champion of Behavioral Optometry.  I had the privilege to work at Whittier Vision Center with Drs. Klingsheim and Spiro for a few short years while attending Cal State Fullerton.  By that time (2003?), Dr. Klingsheim was semi-retired, working only one day a week.  He was no longer working in the VT room, but maintained his one day to continue to see his long standing patients for their annual exams.  He was always so kind, mild mannered, and professional.  If his assistance was needed while he was in an exam, he would simply reply that he would “be with you in approximately 90 seconds.”

I will never forget when he taught me how to use his Harrington-Flocks Visual Field Screener.  Although, the office did have an automated Humphrey unit, he insisted on using the antique version for many of his patients.  I have to admit – it is much more child friendly than the automated machines.  You can click this link to see a description and picture of this Optometric blast from the past.

I wish I had more to share personally about Dr. Klingsheim and his days in the VT room.  I hope to put together some more writings and memories from those years in the near future.

Below is Dr. Klingsheim’s obituary, as published in the Whittier Daily News on May 16, 2014

Remembering: Phil N. Klingsheim, OD, FCOVD  (1931-2014)

Dr. Phil Klingsheim was born in Dallas, Wisconsin March 27, 1931.  He attended Pacific University in Oregon on a football scholarship and graduated with a degree in Optometry in 1954.  His tall athletic frame and good looks made him stand out both on and off the field.  Klingsheim founded the Whittier Vision Center specializing in Visual Training and Special Needs Children; groundbreaking work at that time.  He practiced for 54 years, from 1954-2008 serving his patients with meticulous care.  He was one of the founders of the College of Optometry and Visual Development and was an active participant in the Optometric Extension Program.  Klingsheim was a member of the Rotary Club of La Mirada and celebrated 50 years of perfect attendance.  He served as President of Rotary La Mirada, Rio Hondo Optometric Society as well as Chairman of the Southern California Vision Forum.  Klingsheim was a faithful and loyal church member all of his life.  His dedication and love for others was a powerful testimony to his enduring faith in God.  He had passion in all he attempted be it an avid tennis player, Jaguar Aficionado, devoted equestrian and serving students as Adjunct Professor at the Southern California College of Optometry.  He was smart and handsome until the day he died but what stands out most was his kindness and generosity.  Those of us privileged enough to call him son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, doctor and friend were the lucky ones.  He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Shirley Klingsheim, three children Ben, Gary, Tanya, nine grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.  This year his beloved daughter Dawn went to be with the Lord.  He had two siblings Naomi Glover deceased, and Evangeline Shakarian.


Posted on May 19, 2014, in From My Perspective.... Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I remember Dr. Klingsheim very well, Jessica. He was always so kind and gentle – and I remember him always perfectly and elegantly dressed. Thank you for this tribute. I learned the Randolph Shuffle from him!


  2. A very kind and noble man – a loss for developmental optometry and mankind in general.


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