Dr. Philip W. Heuman Sr., 83, physician for 44 years, Harford medical examiner

October 15, 1998|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Dr. Philip Walter Heuman Sr., the quintessential country physician whose medical career included command of a

front-line field hospital during the Korean War and serving as team doctor for Bel Air High School football, died Friday at Johns Hopkins Hospital of heart failure. He was 83.

Dr. Heuman, who also was Harford County medical examiner for 27 years, practiced medicine for 44 years from a converted two-car garage behind his Dutch colonial house on Hickory Street in Bel Air. He retired in 1996.

A big man with a gregarious personality, "Doc" Heuman traveled the back roads of Harford County in his green DeSoto, making house calls.

"I delivered over 1,000 babies," he told The Aegis newspaper in Bel Air when he retired. "I did a lot of home deliveries. I delivered babies every place -- in a tar paper shack with a dirt floor, in ambulances, in cars, and once in the office."

His wife, the former Marguerite Longley, whom he married in 1942, said: "He loved being a doctor, and when he retired, he really missed his patients. They weren't just patients; they were his friends."

Dr. Heuman often accepted such items as deer hides or tomatoes as payment.

"One time we had so many tomatoes, the children put them in their wagon and went door-to-door selling them," Mrs. Heuman recalled.

"It made no difference to him whether they could pay or or not" for his services, she said. "It was just a part of his generosity and compassion for others."

Dr. Harvey Proctor Sidwell, a retired Bel Air physician, was his friend for more than 40 years.

"He was a gentle gentleman," Dr. Sidwell said. "His death marks the end of an era."

Dr. Heuman, who was born in South Bend, Ind., and raised in Elkhart, Ind., became interested in medicine as a child after the death of his mother during the influenza epidemic of the early 1920s.

He earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Michigan in 1941 and received his Army commission.

During World War II, he commanded a mortar battalion in Europe and attained the rank of lieutenant colonel.

He received a medical degree from the University of Maryland in 1950 and completed an internship at Mercy Hospital.

During the Korean War, he was recalled to active duty for 13 months.

Dr. Heuman commanded the 32nd Infantry Regiment Medical Company, a front-line triage hospital in Korea. Later, he was assigned to the 7th Division Medical Battalion and treated soldiers wounded in the battle of Pork Chop Hill that claimed the lives of 4,000 American soldiers. He was discharged in 1952.

"He had his men rip off the Red Cross patches from their uniforms because he said the enemy was using them for target practice," Mrs. Heuman said. "He came home and suffered from such terrible nightmares."

Dr. Heuman had been president of Harford County Medical Society and was named a Harford County Living Treasure in 1985. He was a charter member of Maryland Golf and Country Club.

On his office wall is a plaque presented by the Maryland Medical Association. It reads: "Dr. Heuman was a Man Who Lived Well, Laughed Often and Loved Much; Who Gained the Respect of Intelligent Men and the Love of Children; Who Looked for the Best in Others and Gave the Best He Had."

For 40 years, he was an active member of Bel Air United Methodist Church, 21 Linwood Ave., where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday.

He also is survived by two sons, Philip Walter Heuman Jr. and Michael C. Heuman, both of Abingdon; two daughters, Christine Page Heuman of San Diego and Patricia Lynn Heuman Jager of Port Charlotte, Fla.; two brothers, Graydon F. Heuman of Muncie, Ind., and Robert L. Heuman of Cleveland; and 10 grandchildren.

Pub Date: 10/15/98

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