Dr. George M. Baumgardner, jack-of-all-trades physician

March 10, 1994|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,Sun Staff Writer

Dr. George M. Baumgardner, a country doctor who even pulled teeth occasionally, died Saturday of respiratory failure at Carroll County General Hospital. He was 92.

He retired in 1976 after a 44-year career as a general practitioner in Rosedale and moved to Charlestown, W.Va. Since 1986, he had been a resident of the Carroll Lutheran Village retirement community in Westminster.

"He was a jack-of-all-trades," said his son, John M. Baumgardner, of Finksburg.

"His office was in our home at Philadelphia and Golden Ring roads, and the most distinguishing thing about him was that he did everything," the son said. "He dispensed his own drugs because there were no drugstores out there in those days, did his own laboratory tests and even took and developed his own X-rays. He even pulled teeth once in a while."

Dr. Baumgardner was born in Taneytown and reared on a farm near Emmitsburg. In a 1976 interview in The News American, he said, "Somebody told me I was good caring for animals so I decided to enter the field of medicine. I thought I'd get away from hard farm work and relax once I became a doctor."

He began his studies at Mount St. Mary's College in 1922 and earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland in 1926. In 1930, he graduated from the University of Maryland Medical School.

Dr. Baumgardner put himself through medical school by working as a streetcar conductor for $35 a week, cleaning out chicken houses and certifying the deaths of those executed at the Maryland Penitentiary.

He interned at the then-Mercy Hospital and completed his residency at St. Joseph Hospital. He then established his practice in Rosedale where he made house calls in a 1930 Chevrolet coupe and charged $2.

"He always said that house calls were a labor of love and he was rewarded by the smiles that came across his patient's faces," the son said.

"He would often be called out in the middle of the night to deliver babies, and one time during a delivery, the expectant mother's house caught on fire. He put the fire out in the kitchen and delivered the baby," the son said.

Dr. Baumgardner is credited with delivering 5,000 babies, among them quintuplets, and half of them at-home deliveries.

"In those days, people often couldn't pay him and he would barter his fees, taking his fee in chicken, tomatoes or eggs," his son said. "He worked 16 hours a day, and even at the end of his career only charged $10 for a house call, and his patients were spread from South Baltimore to Harford County."

Dr. Baumgardner's wife, the former Virginia E. Clingan of Baltimore whom he married in 1935, died in 1968. In 1970, he married Aurelia Lloyd of Ruxton, who died in 1990.

A memorial service was set for 10 a.m. today at the Lassahn Funeral Home, 7401 Belair Road, Overlea, with interment in Parkwood Cemetery.

Other survivors include two brothers, Murray M. Baumgardner of Taneytown and Dr. Kenneth Baumgardner of Gainesville, Ga.; and three grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to the Carroll Lutheran Village Health Care Center, Westminster 21157.

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