Theodore J. Carski, 99, chemist

April 04, 2003|By Tanika White | Tanika White,SUN STAFF

Theodore John Carski, a chemist whose work contributed to the early development of single-use medical devices, died Tuesday of cerebrovascular disease at the Chestnut Green Health Center at Blakehurst Life Care Community in Towson. He was 99.

A Baltimore native raised in Canton, Mr. Carski went straight from high school to work for a local company as a quality control chemist, then as a research chemist at Johns Hopkins Hospital -- while taking night classes at Hopkins' old McCoy evening college.

In 1935, he formed a partnership with a Hopkins colleague to begin the manufacture of dehydrated bacteriological culture media, working together in the basement of the Carski home. When the partner left, Mr. Carski's wife, the former Katherine D. Kocent, took his place to help form Baltimore Biological Laboratory Inc.

The company's expertise in bacteriology and sterilization made it an important contributor to the development of such now-standard medical items as sterile syringes and needles.

"In the old days, you had to reprocess those things," said Mr. Carski's son Dr. Theodore R. Carski of Lutherville. "It was incredibly more complicated then, and not as good."

The engineering firm Becton, Dickinson and Co. later partnered with -- and ultimately acquired --the Carskis' laboratory.

Mr. Carski retired in 1968 from Becton, Dickinson, where he was director of government relations and a member of the company board.

He was active in the American Society for Microbiology, serving as its treasurer from 1970 to 1975, and endowed the Carski Foundation Distinguished Teaching Award, granted annually by the American Academy of Microbiology.

The Carskis were married for 72 years -- a love that was honored last year by a visit to Blakehurst by Cardinal William H. Keeler, who designated them the longest-married couple in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Mrs. Carski died in November.

Mr. Carski loved boating, and was an advocate of safety in sailing and powerboating as a leader in the United States Power Squadrons. His 37-foot powerboat, Nutshell, earned awards in predicted log races.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow at St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church, York and Overbrook roads in Rodgers Forge.

In addition to his son, he is survived by another son, Thomas E. Carski of Towson; six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

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