Benjamin Kalkstein, 50, EPA attorney and official
Benjamin Kalkstein, a judicial officer with the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency's mid-Atlantic office in Philadelphia, died Friday - his 50th birthday
- of liver cancer at the home of his parents in the Germantown section
of the city.
Mr. Kalkstein had been a resident of Mount Airy. He was diagnosed
with cancer about a week before he died.
Mr. Kalkstein joined the EPA as an attorney after he graduated from
Villanova University Law School in 1978. He worked his way up to supervising
attorney and then to judicial officer.
Working for the EPA was Mr. Kalkstein's only job in the legal field.
He had been a judicial officer for the last five years, serving as chief
of the Legal Office's water and air branches. He presided over hearings
and signed off on
orders involving environmental issues in the mid-Atlantic region, which
is composed of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia,
West Virginia and Washington.
W. Michael McCabe, the EPA's deputy administrator in Washington and
a former regional administrator in the Philadelphia office, called Mr.
Kalkstein a "practical environmentalist. We relied on his legal expertise
and common sense to resolve some of the EPA's most difficult cases."
Mr. Kalkstein did more than fight toxic-waste, polluted-air, and fouled-water
battles with a briefcase and a pad of yellow legal paper. He participated
cleanups himself, and he encouraged his colleagues to join him.
Marcia Mulkey, who heads the EPA's Pesticides Office in Washington,
worked with Mr. Kalkstein when she was assigned to the Philadelphia office.
She recalled how he twisted the arms of fellow lawyers to take part in
annual cleanups of Wissahickon Creek, and how he helped organize Civilian
Air Patrol pilots and EPA volunteers to conduct aerial surveillance of
coastal wildlife and water pollution.
"Protecting the environment was more than a desk job to Ben," she said.
Mr. Kalkstein spent part of his childhood in Moorestown. He also lived
in Israel for five years before returning to the Philadelphia region. He
graduated from Germantown Friends School before earning a bachelor's degree
College in 1972. He played football and participated in track and field
at both schools.
Other than the environment, his interests included cycling and hiking.
He also was active in several support groups associated with bipolar disorder,
a malady from which he suffered. He also served as an officer of the Philadelphia
Mr. Kalkstein is survived by his wife, Janet; a daughter, Elizabeth;
a son, Michael; his parents, Samuel and Elizabeth; three brothers; and
No services are planned. Burial is private.
Memorial donations may be made to the Philadelphia Mental Health Care
123 S. Broad St., Philadelphia 19109.