Dr. J. Carlton Wich, 89, longtime area pediatrician


Dr. J. Carlton Wich, a retired pediatrician who also cared for the young at a local orphanage and child care institution for five decades, died of pulmonary disease Thursday at St. Joseph Medical Center. He lived at Mercy Ridge retirement community in Timonium and was 89.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Callow Avenue, he attended All Saints' Parochial School and was a 1934 graduate of Calvert Hall College High School.

Family members said that Dr. Wich's father and an uncle were pharmacists and that he followed them by earning a degree from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. He decided not to pursue a career in that field, however, and took additional science courses at Loyola College before earning a degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1943.

During World War II he served in the Army aboard a hospital ship in the Pacific. He attained the rank of captain.

After the war he established a pediatrics practice on Harford Road. He later relocated to a professional building in Northwood Shopping Center, then moved a number of years ago to Towson.

"He was a good observer," said Douglas W. Campbell, a Baltimore County pharmacist and friend. "He was a well-liked pediatrician, old-fashioned in his ways, but he kept up with his profession as it changed. He was a good talker, and had a zest for life."

Dr. Wich was a member of the medical staffs of St. Joseph Medical Center, where he was head of the pediatric department in the 1970s, and of Mercy Medical Center in downtown Baltimore. He retired from the hospitals in the 1990s.

"He was very sharp and stayed up with things in his field and contemporary events within the hospital," said Dr. Scott A. Spier, chief medical officer at Mercy Medical Center. "He was a faithful attendee at our medical staff meetings until the last few months."

For 50 years, Dr. Wich was a consulting pediatrician with what began as St. Vincent's Infants Home on Patterson Avenue in Northwest Baltimore, where babies and small children lived before being put up for adoption.

"Dr. Wich had an incredible sense of humor that he brought to his work," said Ellen L. Torres, director of development at St. Vincent's. "It was evident that he loved the children and we all loved him just as much. Even in retirement, he visited the home."

The home later moved to Timonium. St. Vincent's Center is now a residential group facility for children with behavioral, psychiatric or emotional problems associated with abuse and neglect.

"He loved his work at St. Vincent's," said his wife of nearly 10 years, the former Mary Patricia Hope. "He only gave up his work there when his eyesight was failing and he didn't feel he was giving the children a good examination."

His wife said that in retirement Dr. Wich, who suffered from macular degeneration, bought a large-monitor computer outfitted with a large type font. He then mastered the Internet.

Dr. Wich was a longtime member of the Wedgwood Club, a dinner club for persons with a background in pharmacy.

A weekend sailor, he owned a 36-foot Hinckley yawl and sailed the Chesapeake Bay extensively. A member of the Sailing Club of the Chesapeake and the Spry Island Cruising Club, he was a past fleet surgeon.

For many years Dr. Wich lived in the Wiltondale section of Towson.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11:30 a.m. today at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5300 N. Charles St.

In addition to his wife, survivors include a son, Joseph C. Wich Jr. of Cockeysville; a sister, Mary Lucille Thornton of Bel Air; and two grandchildren. His wife of 40 years, Elizabeth M. Sanders, died in 1983.


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