Dr. Raphael C. Myers Jr., 67, obstetrician

July 18, 2002|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Dr. Raphael C. Myers Jr., a retired gynecologist, obstetrician and urogynecologist who during his 36-year career delivered more than 5,000 babies, died of a malignant brain tumor Friday at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was 67.

The former longtime Ellicott City resident, who had lived in Littlestown, Pa., since last year, was born and raised in Norfolk, Va.

After graduation from high school, Dr. Myers studied at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. In 1953, while he was attending the university, a close college friend died of cancer. As a result, he decided to study medicine and dedicate his life to helping others.

He transferred to the University of Virginia, where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1956. He served in the Army in Alaska for several years and after his discharge moved to Baltimore, where he taught at the Polytechnic Institute while earning a master's degree in chemistry from the University of Maryland.

Dr. Myers earned his medical degree from the University of Maryland Medical School and completed his internship and residency in gynecology and obstetrics at St. Agnes Hospital.

Dr. Myers, who spent his entire career in private practice at St. Agnes Hospital until retiring last year, was highly respected by administrators and staff, and admired by his patients.

"Ray had a great life and a great journey. He always enjoyed his work and what he was doing. He had fulfilled his mission," said Dr. Raymond B. Bahr, medical director of the coronary care system at St. Agnes.

"He was always able to distill a positive attitude in his patients, and that's very important when they are facing a procedure. There was nothing superfluous about him; everything in life had meaning," Bahr said.

During his career, he attended to more than 8,000 patients. He also had a reputation for being able to diagnose a problem and find a solution quickly.

"He was a man of great alacrity and worked very rapidly. He could analyze and find resolution to problems, which is the quality of a great surgeon," said Dr. B. Martin Middleton, a retired surgeon and former chairman of the hospital's department of surgery. "He was always available to his patients and the residents who trained under him."

Dr. Stanley L. Minken, former chief of surgery at the hospital and now professor of surgery at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, described him as a "sweet, sweet man."

"Ray always worked hard. He'd make rounds two or three times a day, and his patients loved him. He was always very loyal to his friends, but a terrible poker player," he said, laughing.

Dr. Myers also had a reputation for directness and getting right to the point.

"Ray was a very honest and forthright guy, and you never had to worry about where you stood with him because he'd tell you," said Dr. James Castellano, former head of obstetrics and gynecology at St. Agnes.

"I also think he was the fastest surgeon we ever had. We called him `Bumblebee' because he did everything so fast, and you could always depend on him," he said.

The Rev. Christopher Whatley, pastor of St. Mark Roman Catholic Church in Catonsville and a longtime friend, recalled Dr. Myers' compassionate way of working with a family who couldn't have a child.

"He called them one day and told them about an unwed mother who was expecting a baby, and told them, `I think I have a baby for you.' He acted like a surrogate father to the unwed mother and the baby's adopted mother," said the priest.

Dr. Myers' wife of 42 years, the former Mary Lou Dingle, a psychologist and addictions counselor at Carroll County General Hospital, said her husband donated his practice to St. Agnes when he retired last year rather than sell it.

Dr. Myers enjoyed reading, fly and surf fishing, hunting and cooking.

A Mass of Christian burial was offered Tuesday at St. Mark Church.

In addition to his wife, Dr. Myers is survived by three sons, Dr. Stephen C. Myers of Pensacola, Fla., Christopher L. Myers and Jay J. Myers, both of Catonsville; a daughter, Stephanie L. Nikles of Hampstead; a sister, Alberta M. Hix of Ellicott City; and two grandchildren.

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