Dr. Theodore E. Evans, 75, family physician

May 10, 2004|By Scott Calvert | Scott Calvert,SUN STAFF

Dr. Theodore E. Evans, an old-fashioned family physician who made house calls and was known to take vegetables as payment, died of complications from prostate cancer Friday at Stella Maris Hospice at Mercy Medical Center. The Perry Hall resident was 75.

In a medical career that spanned nearly half a century, Dr. Evans clung to the notion that he should spend as much time as possible with patients, even though it often meant running behind schedule.

"As a doctor, hon, he was the best, personally and professionally," said Jo Redmer, a friend, neighbor and patient. "I don't know of one patient - and I went for 47 years - that didn't like him."

"Doc Evans," as he was widely known in Perry Hall, did not operate a charity. But when patients were too poor to pay, he did not charge them. Or he accepted cantaloupe, peaches and corn from the farms that have steadily given way to new housing subdivisions.

For years, he would leave his office or home, day or night, to tend to those who were too sick to visit him. "I sat in the car many a time outside of St. Joseph's hospital or somebody's farmhouse waiting for him," said Todd G. Evans of Towson, the youngest of his five sons.

Dr. Evans lived modestly despite his place in the community. The family had the same three-bedroom rancher for decades, and when he retired in early 2000, an older model Plymouth Horizon sat in the driveway.

"There's nothing too fancy about me," he told an area newspaper, the Northeast Booster, at the time. "There never has been."

Dr. Evans was born on St. Patrick's Day 1929 in his family's rowhouse on Greenmount Avenue in the Waverly section of Baltimore. He grew up in the neighborhood and in 1947 graduated from Loyola High School at Blakefield.

He earned an undergraduate degree at Loyola College and in 1954 earned a medical degree from the University of Maryland Medical School. After a stint as an Army doctor at Fort Benning, Ga., he joined the Perry Hall practice of Dr. Christian Richter and stayed for more than 40 years.

In 1953, he married Rosemary Anderson, who died in 2001. They had five sons, all with first names starting with the letter "T." Before the last child was born, Dr. Evans joked that they'd run out of ideas and might have to go with Tecumseh. Then they thought of Todd.

It was an example of the dry sense of humor that Dr. Evans used to put patients at ease, said Todd Evans.

Dr. Evans had known Mrs. Redmer from Waverly. In the late 1950s, his family followed hers to the Perry Hall area of Baltimore County. Children from the two families often played together. The Evans' lot backed on to a field, and the open space resembled a menagerie, with ducks, chickens, ponies, pheasants and a goat.

When her son, Alfred W. Redmer Jr. - now state insurance commissioner - fell from a tree and broke his arm at age 6, Dr. Evans treated him. He also treated little Al when he crushed his fingers in a septic tank's machinery.

Mrs. Redmer, now 81, recalls the care she got 36 years ago when her thyroid was overactive, and Dr. Evans was worried about her heart.

"Every, every day he would stop here, for 13 weeks, to make sure I was OK," she said.

Dr. Evans felt a connection with his patients even after they died. He would clip obituaries and stick them in the pages of various encyclopedia volumes according to the person's last name.

A funeral Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow at St. Stephen Roman Catholic Church, 8030 Bradshaw Road in Bradshaw.

In addition to his son, Dr. Evans is survived by four other sons, Timothy T. Evans of Staten Island, N.Y., Thomas P. Evans of Fallston, Theodore J. Evans of Bel Air and Terrence R. Evans of Parkville, and seven grandchildren.

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