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Patti K. Lipschutz, 55, nurse with focus on eating disorders

Patti Kunyczka Lipschutz, 55, of Spring Garden, a nurse-clinician who cared for patients with weight and eating disorders, died Saturday in Rock Hall, Md.

Patti Kunyczka Lipschutz, 55, of Spring Garden, a nurse-clinician who cared for patients with weight and eating disorders, died Saturday in Rock Hall, Md.

Mrs. Lipschutz collapsed while jogging. She and her husband, Marc, kept a sailboat in Rock Hall and were spending the weekend there. Results from an autopsy are pending.

Since 2001, Mrs. Lipschutz had been senior clinical-research coordinator at the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders in the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine's psychiatry department. She had been involved in a National Institutes of Health study looking at the relationship among obesity, Type-2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

She met with hundreds of patients, assessing the outcomes to their treatment, said Thomas Wadden, director of the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders. Most of her patients were still coming back to see her years later, though they were doing well, he said.

She had a gift for working with young women with body-image problems. She worried about patients and made herself available to them, Wadden said.

"Even if a patient failed at first," he said, "Patti would reinstill hope in them. She would tell them they were better off for trying and keep them positive. She brought to her job enormous energy, compassion, and intellect."

Though she was fit and disciplined, she didn't preach, said Cathy Hawkes, a nurse and longtime friend.

Mrs. Lipshutz loved to entertain and would routinely host Thanksgiving dinner for 30 or 40 friends, relatives, and strangers.

"Every year, Patti would call to make sure an invitation was extended to all of my husband's foreign students," said a neighbor, Charlotte Hangorsky, whose husband, Uri, is a professor in Penn's dental school.

A native of Lindenwold, Mrs. Lipschutz graduated from the Philadelphia General Hospital School of Nursing.

She then worked in the psychiatric unit at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where she met her husband, who was completing a psychiatric residency at HUP. It was a stressful place, he said, but she found ways to relax.

"The first time we met," Marc Lipshutz said, "I came off the elevator late one night. The floor was dark except for the nurses' station. I saw this woman under the fluorescent light with white sheets all around her. She said, 'I'm in the Bahamas.' " They married in 1979.

While working, Mrs. Lipschutz earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from Widener University and a master's degree in psychiatric nursing from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2008, she earned a business-essentials certificate from Penn's Wharton Program for Working Professionals.

After working at HUP, she was a psychiatric nurse at the Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital and for 15 years was a nurse clinician seeing anorexic and bulimic patients for Philadelphia Psychological Services. In 1994, she joined the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders at Penn as a senior consultant.

She was a devoted mother to her son, Aaron, and was proud that he was a recent college graduate, her husband said.

Mrs. Lipschutz challenged herself to compete in local running events and biked and ran often along the river drives, he said. She loved sailing, traveling, and attending Philadelphia Orchestra concerts and other cultural events. "Patti loved living in the city and strongly believed it was a good place to raise her family," her husband said.

In addition to her husband and son, Mrs. Lipschutz is survived by her mother, Carmen Kunyczka; a brother, John ; and a sister, Kathleen.

A funeral will be at 11 a.m. today at Joseph Levine & Sons, 4737 Street Rd., Trevose. Burial will be in Roosevelt Memorial Park, Trevose.