Dr. Conrad L. Richter, 87, medical director at Glenn L. Martin Co.

July 02, 2002|By Jamie Stiehm | Jamie Stiehm,SUN STAFF

Dr. Conrad Louis Richter, 87, a longtime medical director for the former Glenn L. Martin Co., later Lockheed Martin, died of congestive heart failure at St. Joseph Medical Center on Saturday. The former longtime Homeland resident lived at Blakehurst Life Care Community in Towson.

The Baltimore native grew up as an only child in the Morrell Park neighborhood and graduated from City College in 1932. His mother was a German immigrant and his father, also of German descent, worked as a brewmaster.

He attended the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy and earned money in the summers working in a brewery. He graduated from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1940.

He failed the physical for the armed services when he tried to enlist during World War II. While his friends went to war, Dr. Richter went to work as a staff doctor at the Martin airplane manufacturing plant in Middle River, which at that time hummed round the clock producing aircraft for the war effort.

A few years later, when he received a draft notice, the company refused to let him leave, claiming the doctor was more vital to the war effort in his hometown post. Duties as an industrial doctor required him to attend to injuries on the plant floor -- particularly to the skin or eyes -- and to report on location when test flights were made in case any planes crashed.

Dr. Richter never left his first professional job, rising to become the Martin medical director in charge of a large staff of doctors and nurses treating the company's skilled work force. He held that position from 1944 until his retirement in 1979.

At Harford Road and 33rd Street in Northeast Baltimore, Dr. Richter maintained a private practice as a general practitioner. Over time, he treated two or three generations of the same family.

"He was a very compassionate person. He loved people, particularly young people," said his wife of 39 years, the former Annetta Muir, whom he met at a dance for doctors and nurses. They married after the death of his first wife, the former Marie Roehl, in 1960.

Dr. Joseph T. Michels, a close friend and former neighbor, said Dr. Richter "was a very kind person who knew all of his patients very well. ... He made house calls throughout his career. And while he was very blunt, he could tell you the worst kind of [medical] news in a nice way."

Sailing, gardening and traveling were Dr. Richter's favorite pursuits outside of medicine. "He loved the water, the bay, walking the beach," Mrs. Richter said. "We went to Maine in the summer, but his favorite place was Scotland, a remote island named Orkney that had a single malt whiskey he liked. And he loved Venice and Cornwall. We used to travel a lot by train."

Mayleen Somerset, a nurse who was a caregiver during Dr. Richter's last few years of failing health, said he did not approve of her watching soap operas and let her know in a characteristic jest: "The world is turning without you, dear."

Services are private.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Sarah Jane McLean, and a grandson, Andrew Robert McLean, both of Alexandria, Va.

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