Dr. Conrad B. Acton, was internist

July 16, 1994|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,Sun Staff Writer

Dr. Conrad B. Acton, a retired internist and assistant physician in the Baltimore City Health Department, died Tuesday of pneumonia at Union Memorial Hospital. The resident of Roland Park Place was 91.

He had practiced medicine for many years from his home in the 1200 block of St. Paul St. and later on East Biddle Street, where he maintained an office from 1979 to 1989, the year he retired.

Dr. Acton had served as the Baltimore City Jail physician from 1960 to 1968 and was a contract physician for the Baltimore City Department of Social Services from 1978 to 1989.

Dr. John B. DeHoff, retired Baltimore City health commissioner, said, "I served with him in the Army Reserve and had heard about Con's unique ability to assemble medical data in a highly organized fashion. He had begun this during the war [World War II] while serving at Tripler Hospital in Honolulu, which helped speed up treatment for those who were sick. He cared for his patients deeply, and for them he remained a supportive father figure."

Dr. Acton was an old-style physician whose practice was all-consuming, said a son, Jonathan Acton II of Baltimore. "He didn't have any leisure time because he worked all the time. He was a one-person office who had no technicians, no secretary and who answered his own phone. He did his own laboratory work, answered the mail, sent out bills and made house calls," the son said.

The son related humorous anecdotes about his father.

Dr. Acton had been a resident in pathology early in his career and, as he was about to carve the holiday turkey or roast beef, took great delight in reminding his family that the task reminded him of his work as a postmortem physician at Baltimore City Hospitals.

In his youth, Dr. Acton suffered a broken neck in a swimming accident. The injury healed although he had to wear a neck collar. "He took great delight in telling the story to casual listeners," the son said. "He said it was a result of too much 'necking.' "

Dr. Acton was born and reared in Salem, N.J. He was a graduate of Salem High School and earned his bachelor's degree from Haverford College in 1925. He was a graduate of the Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1929 and that year began his #F internship in medicine at Baltimore City Hospitals. From 1930 to 1931, he served an internship in urology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

During World War II, he served from 1940 to 1945 with the Army Medical Corps in Hawaii and was married there in 1945 to a Red Cross volunteer, Katherine E. Howard. His wife died in 1985.

He retired from the 457th Reserve Hospital, an Army Reserve unit, with the rank of colonel in 1963.

He enjoyed the theater. He was a member of the Baltimore City Medical Society, the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland and a medical consultant to the armed forces.

A memorial service for Dr. Acton was held yesterday at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 811 Cathedral St., Baltimore.

Survivors include two other sons, Allan H. Acton of Towson and Conrad B. Acton Jr. of Orlando, Fla.; and two grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to the Conrad Acton Fund, c/o The Fund for Johns Hopkins Medicine, 1620 McElderry St., Baltimore 21205.

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