Dr. J. Elliot Levi, 89, specialist in endocrine disorders

February 03, 2002|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Dr. J. Elliot Levi, a retired Baltimore internist whose specialty was treating patients suffering from endocrine disorders, died in his sleep Wednesday at his home in the Imperial Apartments in Northwest Baltimore. He was 89.

Dr. Levi practiced medicine in Baltimore for 36 years, first from an office on St. Paul Street, and later for 20 years from an office in the 200 block of W. Cold Spring Lane, from which he retired in 1983.

"He was a very, very terrific guy. Just a wonderful man," said Dr. Jacob Handelsman, a retired Baltimore surgeon. "He ... brought to medicine a deep intelligence, a strong measure of medical curiosity, and a desire to bring his patients the very best in modern care."

In addition to internal medicine, Dr. Levi specialized in the treatment of diabetes and of adrenal and pituitary gland disorders.

"He was always anxious to serve his patients and impose on them an obligation to understand and take charge of their care," Dr. Handelsman said.

"He could be very stern, but that wasn't to be confused with a lack of tenderness or feeling for his patients. Actually, Elliot was quite high-spirited and a very convivial man," Dr. Handelsman said.

Dr. Ira T. Fine, an internist who took over his practice, said, "Elliot really practiced the art and science of medicine. ... He knew how to talk and deal with his patients, and they always had lots of confidence in him. ... Many other doctors went to him."

A man of medium build who remained fit and trim throughout his life, he was described by Dr. Handelsman as having a "certain elegance." Dr. Levi favored conservatively cut suits, hand-tied bow ties and cravats, and was known for his stylish shirts.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Eutaw Place, Dr. Levi was a 1930 graduate of Friends School. He earned his bachelor's degree from the Johns Hopkins University in 1934, and his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1938.

He completed internships at Hopkins and Sinai hospitals and residencies at Harvard University and Beth Israel Hospital in Boston.

During World War II, Dr. Levi served in the Army Medical Corps at Edgewood Arsenal and at Aberdeen Proving Ground. He was discharged in 1946 with the rank of captain.

Dr. Levi had been an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and was a frequent contributor to medical journals.

His professional memberships included the American Diabetes Association, Baltimore City Medical Society, Endocrine Society, American Society of International Medicine, and the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland.

He enjoyed reading and traveling.

"Medicine was the focal point of his life," said his son, Alan Elliot Levi of Westport, Conn.

Dr. Levi was married in 1940 to Marjory Weinberg, who died in 1978. In 1979, he married Sara Weintraub, who survives him.

Services were held Friday.

Other survivors include a daughter, Jan Heller of New York; a stepson, Jonathan Rogers of Baltimore; a stepdaughter, Estelle Rogers of Washington; and 12 grandchildren.

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