Dr. Harry P. Ross, a retired Chestertown family physician and a former Kent County medical examiner, died of heart disease Thursday at his home. He was 77.
He practiced in the Eastern Shore community for 40 years in an office near Washington College.
"Harry Ross was a doctor in this picturesque town, and he was much more than a Marcus Welby -- people looked to him for guidance and judgment on their medical problems," said Dr. Patrick J. Shanahan, a colleague. "He was a leader in the medical community and defined the family doctor with his dedication and service."
"He was [a] persistent and consistent man," Dr. Shanahan said. "He had the ability to blend the finer aspects of family medicine with today's high technology. And I can see him now, tearing down country roads in his Jaguar."
Born in Emmitsburg, where he was raised, he earned a bachelor of science degree at the University of Maryland, College Park and received his medical degree from the university in 1956. He served an internship at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore and was a resident at Sacred Heart Hospital in Norristown, Pa. He joined the staff of Kent & Queen Anne's Hospital in Chestertown in 1958, the year he opened his medical practice.
"He could give the impression of being a gruff old bear, but he had a heart of gold, and his patients were devoted to him," said John B. Osborne, a former Washington College student and friend. "He had a straightforward way of dealing with people and their problems. He was a jocular individual who could make dry and wry remarks."
From 1991 to 1998, Dr. Ross served as Kent County's medical examiner. One of his duties was to identify the bodies of Bay Bridge suicides that washed ashore at Rock Hall.
"He was a compassionate man who saw the inner person in these cases," said his wife, Dr. Susan Kosnik Ross, who married him 24 years ago and works in the family medical practice they shared.
"He had the strengths to be the medical examiner. He had that character. He very much believed that right was right and wrong was wrong."
An advocate for the elderly, Dr. Ross was the first chairman of Kent County's Commission on Aging. He also was a founder of Magnolia Hall Nursing Home, served as its board president from 1978 to 1980 and was the home's physician for 30 years.
He was a past president, vice president and director of the Maryland Academy of Family Practice. He also belonged to other professional groups.
He was a sponsor of the Washington College crew team and filmed their rowing practice sessions. He was also a woodcarver and furniture refinisher, and tinkered with the Jaguar sports cars he owned throughout his life.
Services will be held at noon tomorrow at Trinity Lutheran Church, Washington and Greenwood avenues, Chestertown.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Harry P. Ross Jr. of Bethesda; two daughters, Elizabeth Ann Ross and Emily Louise Ross, both of Chestertown; and a sister, Esther Ross Reaves of Baltimore.