Dr. Louis Calvin Gareis, 87, obstetrician who delivered more than 6,000 babies

October 28, 1998|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

Dr. Louis Calvin Gareis, a Baltimore obstetrician who "held a lot of hands and delivered a lot babies" during a more than 30-year practice, died Sunday of heart failure while visiting relatives in Lancaster, Pa.

Dr. Gareis, 87, lived in Tydings-on-the-Bay near Annapolis but resided for many years in Original Northwood in Northeast Baltimore. He had medical offices in Dundalk and at the old Medical Arts Building in the Mount Vernon section of downtown.

Friends and relatives said Dr. Gareis loved practicing medicine and had delivered more than 6,000 babies.

"He was from the old school; he really enjoyed his patients," said his son, John W. Gareis of Lancaster, Pa. "He just enjoyed getting people through the difficult times of having a baby."

Before specializing in obstetrics, Dr. Gareis was a family practitioner for several years. His calm, easy manner made friends out of most of his patients.

Kaye Garvin, of Harford County, said Dr. Gareis delivered five of her six children -- including once when he went far out of his way to assist her.

In 1959, her husband died shortly before she was to give birth. During an office visit, Dr. Gareis worried that she was due at any time and feared she wouldn't make it from her home to the hospital because of heavy traffic.

"So he drove me right then to [what is now the University of Maryland Medical Center] and stayed with me the entire time," Ms. Garvin said. "He stayed right at my side until that baby was born."

A native of the Hamilton community in Northeast Baltimore, Dr. Gareis graduated from Baltimore City College high school in 1928, earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland, College Park and a pharmaceutical degree from the University of Maryland Pharmacy School in 1934.

He received his medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1938 and did his residency at the former University Hospital.

His medical training was interrupted in 1942 when he served as a flight surgeon for the 45th Fighter Squadron in the Army Air Corps during World War II. Dr. Gareis participated in the air offensive against Japan in the western Pacific and was stationed in Saipan, Iwo Jima and Guam.

For his service, Dr. Gareis was awarded the American Campaign Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal and World War II Victory Medal. He was discharged in 1946.

He married the former Edna Cecelia Nester, a registered nurse, in 1940, and for many years, they worked together at his practice. Mrs. Gareis died in 1988. Dr. Gareis retired in 1983.

"Being concerned and caring that was just the way he was," said Ronald Langston of Baltimore, a former patient. "He held a lot of hands and delivered a lot babies and loved each hand he held."

Services are scheduled for 11 a.m. tomorrow at Barranco and Sons Funeral Home, 495 Ritchie Highway in Severna Park.

In addition to his son, he is survived by two other sons, Louis C. Gareis Jr. of Columbia, S.C., and Henry D. Gareis of Annapolis; two daughters, Barbara Rose Still of Lancaster, and Susanna JTC Margaret McLane of Seattle; 21 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

Donations may be made to Arnold Senior Center, 44 Church Road, Arnold, Md. 21012.

Pub Date: 10/28/98

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