Dr. Eugene Edward Flesher, 85, dentist, veteran

May 19, 2004|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Dr. Eugene Edward Flesher, a retired dentist who enjoyed do-it-yourself projects, died of heart failure Sunday at his Lutherville home. He was 85.

Dr. Flesher was born and raised in Scranton, Pa., the son of a dentist. In 1939, he moved with his family to Towson when his father established a practice in several rooms above Souris' Saloon at York Road and Allegheny Avenue.

During World War II, Dr. Flesher attended the University of Maryland under the Navy's V-5 program. He earned a bachelor's degree in 1942 and graduated from its dental school in 1945.

That year, as a lieutenant in the Naval Reserve, he was sent as a dental surgeon to Parris Island, S.C., Corpus Christi, Texas, and the light cruiser USS Portsmouth.

He then joined his father's practice until being recalled to active duty in 1951, during the Korean War. He held positions at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, Japan, and at the old Bainbridge Naval Training Center until his release from active duty in 1952. He retired from the reserve in 1959.

For 20 years, until retiring and selling his practice in 1985, Dr. Flesher maintained an office at 8 E. Seminary Ave. He stayed in touch with former patients.

"Patients and family often remarked on his ability to provide extraordinary gentle and lasting dentistry. They'd say, `Your father's fillings just don't come out,'" said a son, Kurt Flesher of Cincinnati.

His professional memberships included the Maryland State and American dental associations.

Dr. Flesher was an avid fisherman, who enjoyed the waters of Canada, Maine, Alaska and Florida, as well as the Chesapeake Bay. He also was an accomplished sailor, having learned to race sailboats during the 1940s.

Having been raised during the Depression and World War II, Dr. Flesher was self-reliant, family members said, noting that he also urged them to "learn how to do things yourself."

"For the vast majority of his career, he answered his own phone, typed his own quarterly statements, which his children stuffed, and licked the stamps. "He prepared his own taxes," said the son. "He maintained his office, home, cars and boats, and had little need for contractors, and felt that teaching his children to do the same was extremely important."

One Christmas, Dr. Flesher was sent out by his wife to procure a Christmas tree and came home with a load of bricks from the former Pennsylvania Railroad's just-closed Riderwood station. He later rented a dump truck and, with the help of his children, gathered about 3,000 bricks from the old Ruxton and Cockeysville stations.

"He was very meticulous, and later he and his brother used them to build a patio at our Lutherville home," said his wife of 49 years, the former Joyce Marcia Ruth.

He also enjoyed restoring boats with his brother, Joseph H. Flesher of Ocean City, who also survives him. During the 1980s, the brothers undertook an ambitious restoration of an old cottage and barn on Tilghman Island.

He was a member of Hillendale Country Club.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Ascension Evangelical Lutheran Church, 7601 York Road.

Dr. Flesher also is survived by another son, Eric Flesher of Lutherville; two daughters, Ann Flesher Pederson of Timonium and Janet Flesher Hurd of Lutherville; another brother, Frank E. Flesher of Phoenicia, N.Y.; and six grandchildren.

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