Dr. Frederick Richardson, 77, first Kennedy Institute head

March 07, 2004

Dr. Frederick L. Richardson, a retired pediatrician who was the first director of what is now the Kennedy Krieger Institute, died Friday in an automobile accident. He was being trained to drive with handicap controls when his vehicle went out of control, striking a tree near his home in the Village of Cross Keys in North Baltimore. He was 77.

A native of Birmingham, England, he developed polio at age 21 while a medical student at Birmingham Medical School, where he also did his residency. He had a year of pediatric training at Churchill Hospital in Oxford and was a fellow at London's Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital.

In 1957 he became a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine instructor in the department of pediatrics and was later made associate professor of pediatrics.

In 1967 he was named first director of the newly opened John F. Kennedy Institute for the Rehabilitation of Children at Broadway and Monument Street.

"He had a dedication to disabled children and went at it with a missionary zeal," said Dr. Richard S. Ross, former dean of the Hopkins Medical School. "Hopkins should be very proud [of] having had a hand in his career."

In 1969 he was appointed director of the Mailman Center for Childhood Development at the University of Miami, Fla. He later held posts in Sydney, Australia, and was a lecturer at Yale University in New Haven, Conn.

Services are pending.

Survivors include his wife of 33 years, the former Virginia Gibbes; a son, Nicholas Richardson of Baltimore and a daughter, Sarah Richardson Kanne of Chevy Chase; two stepdaughters, Dr. Sarah Reading of Hunt Valley and Wendy Virginia England of Panama City, Fla.; and six grandchildren. His 15-year marriage to Lesley Allen Pierce of Towson ended in divorce.

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