Ethelbert Lovett, 95, dentist, fitness devotee

January 27, 1996|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Ethelbert Lovett, a retired dentist and lifelong physical fitness devotee who learned to play tennis in his late 70s, died in his sleep Dec. 26 at Meridian Nursing Center-Homewood. He was 95.

Dr. Lovett began practicing dentistry in 1924 from his home in the 1700 block of E. North Avenue, and in 1929 moved to the Medical Arts Building, where he maintained his practice until retiring in 1978.

"We were the first dental practice in the city to have an X-ray machine and high-speed drill," said Leonore Weiner, his dental assistant for 51 years.

A 1922 graduate of the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, Dr. Lovett was a part-time faculty member of the University of Maryland School of Dentistry until 1972 and lectured widely on dental ethics. He contributed to numerous professional publications and was the author of "An Approach to Ethics." For many years, he wrote and illustrated a monthly column for "Dental Survey," a professional magazine.

Dr. Lovett was a president of the Baltimore City Dental Society, a member of the Maryland State Board of Dental Examiners, National Board of Dental Examiners and was dental examiner for the Selective Service.

The former East Lake Avenue resident, whose grandfather was a gymnast, placed a high value on physical fitness long before it became fashionable.

"When he was a boy growing up in Solomon's Island, Calvert County, the son of an Episcopal minister who later became assistant rector at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Baltimore, he used to ride his bike all over," said his daughter, Ann Lovett Wright of Wyman Park.

"He jogged and swam until he was 90 and was active in a physical fitness program at the nursing home," said Mrs. Wright. "He used to say that you 'have to take care of the mind, body and soul in order to be a balanced person.' "

Added his former assistant, Miss Weiner: "I taught him how to play tennis when he was 78, and he was good at it. However, he refused to play with anyone under 70."

Dr. Lovett did not smoke, confessed to liking martinis and consumed a daily fruit and vegetable juice cocktail of his own making.

In 1961, he was named the Baltimore YMCA's Man of the Year, where he had been a trampoline and yoga instructor and conducted physical fitness classes for middle-aged men.

Born in Prince Frederick, he moved to Baltimore in 1913 and graduated from City College in 1918. In 1922, he and the former Elizabeth Lagenfeldt were married. She died in 1977. He had owned a summer home in Sherwood Forest, Anne Arundel County, for more than 40 years and enjoyed sailing.

He was also a member and vestryman for many years of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer and Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 811 Cathedral St., where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. today.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by two sisters, Nancy Lovett Olive of Davenport, Fla., and Margaret Lovett Janney of Clearwater, Fla.; six grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

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