Joseph D.B. King, 86, doctor, athlete, assistant professor


Dr. Joseph Dill Baker King, a retired physician and former Guilford resident, died of brain cancer Saturday at his Chevy Chase home. He was 86.

In a career that spanned more than four decades, Dr. King was a well-known and highly regarded internist from Baltimore and Chevy Chase.

Born in Baltimore and raised on West Lanvale Street, he was the son of Dr. John P. King Jr., a distinguished Baltimore internist who died in 1979.

"Joe came into the world the son of a much-beloved physician and followed in his footsteps," said Dr. Worth B. Daniels Jr., a retired Baltimore doctor and longtime friend.

Dr. King was a 1937 graduate of Boys' Latin School, where he had been an outstanding lacrosse player, and at Princeton University, where he was a first-team All-American attack man his junior year.

"Joe's goal of having a medical career began at an early age. He was a true scholar-athlete and he was at the top of his class at Boys' Latin," said his brother, J. Sydney King of Baltimore, a retired WBAL-TV executive and former Red Cross president.

After graduating from Princeton in 1941, he began his medical studies at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He graduated in 1944. He also completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at Hopkins.

During World War II, he was commissioned a captain in the Army Medical Corps and served in Alaska, where he treated military personnel and civilians.

At war's end, he returned to Baltimore and joined his father's Eutaw Place practice. He later established his own practice on Cold Spring Lane in Roland Park, where he remained until moving to Chevy Chase in 1970.

"Like his father, he was truly dedicated to giving the highest quality of medical care that was possible," said Dr. William F. Fritz, a retired Baltimore internist and friend.

"He was a very fine physician and I practiced in association with him for many years," said Dr. L. Myrton Gaines, also a Baltimore internist. "He was very skillful, made house calls and was very well-liked. I highly regarded him as a physician and friend."

Added Dr. Daniels: "He was part of a small group of internists, and while we didn't practice together, we took calls for each other, and you could always count and lean on Joe. He did much, when much was needed to be done. When he was on call for me, my patients would invariably tell me how appreciative they were for what he had done for them."

During his tenure in Chevy Chase, Dr. King was a member of the State Department's medical clinic that provided care for foreign service officers.

In addition to his practice, Dr. King had been an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and later at George Washington University Medical School. He had been a board member and consultant to the Visiting Nurses Association of Washington and a docent at the historic Octagon House in Washington.

He retired in 1989.

A lifelong athlete, Dr. King enjoyed hiking and skiing at a second home in Wintergreen, Va., and continued playing tennis twice a week at the Chevy Chase Club until last year.

A quiet man with a keen intellect and wit, Dr. King enjoyed reading history and biographies.

Private services will be held at Arlington National Cemetery.

Survivors, in addition to his brother, include his wife of 32 years, the former Margaret Hill; four daughters, Charlotte K. Lilly of Tyaskin, Wicomico County, Clare V. King of Columbia, Ann K. Marshal of Cumming, Ga., and Julia K. Pryor of Atlanta; two stepsons, John Hurd of Silver Spring and Charles Gray Hurd Jr. of Bethesda; a stepdaughter, Susan Hoff of Silver Spring; a sister, Virginia Whittlesey of Baltimore; eight grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

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