Dr. Philip Bonnet, 87, physician-administrator

May 19, 1999|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Dr. Philip Dirlam Bonnet, a retired physician-administrator and former head of the American Hospital Association, died May 12 of a heart ailment at his Roland Park home. He was 87.

In a long career, Dr. Bonnet was administrator of University Hospital in Boston from 1948 to 1966 when he moved to Baltimore and joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins University's School of Hygiene and Public Health. He retired as chairman of the school's health care organization department in 1976.

He then joined Social Security Administration and retired as the agency's acting chief medical officer for disability in the 1980s.

He also engaged in national research programs to guide the development of hospitals and health services after World War II and was administrator of Lankenau Hospital in Philadelphia.

"He was a pioneer in the field of health services research in the late 1950s and early '60s," said Dr. Charles D. Flagle, a friend and Hopkins colleague.

Born in Worcester, Mass., Dr. Bonnet was a 1932 graduate of Wesleyan University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. In 1936, he graduated from Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Bonnet belonged to numerous professional associations and served as president of the American Hospital Association in 1965 to 1966.

He was an avid reader and kept so many books in his library that he stacked them two deep on its shelves. He also played the piano, accordion and -- as a volunteer stand-in -- the pipe organ for local churches.

He was also interested in food and liked to bake breads.

Funeral services for Dr. Bonnet will be held at at 11 a.m. today at First English Lutheran Church, Charles and 39th streets.

He is survived by his wife, the former Esther Caroline Bechtold, whom he married in 1940; two sons, Philip A. Bonnet of Tannay, Switzerland, and Christopher P. Bonnet of Sarasota, Fla.; three daughters, Caroline B. Akins of Dover, Mass., Priscilla F. Ellis of Lake Oswego, Ore., and Deborah W. Tupper of Baltimore; a brother, Richard Bonnet of Luray, Va.; 11 grandchildren; and one great-grandson.

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