Dr. Jerome H. Sherman, 79, dentist and art enthusiast


Dr. Jerome H. Sherman, who tried not to keep patients waiting during his nearly four decades in dental practice, died of pancreatic cancer Tuesday at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. The Mount Washington resident was 79.

Born in Baltimore and raised on East Hoffman Street, he enlisted in the Army while a student at City College. After graduating in February 1944, he was assigned to the Army Air Forces.

He was based in England during the latter part of World War II as a tail gunner on B-24 bombers. He flew missions over the Ardennes, the Rhineland and Central Europe, and attained the rank of sergeant. He was awarded the Army Air Medal.

After the war, he attended the University of Maryland, College Park and was a 1952 graduate of the University of Maryland's dental school in Baltimore.

He became a dentist at what was then the Rosewood State Training School in Owings Mills, and later for the Baltimore City Health Department.

In the 1950s, Dr. Sherman established a private practice at Belvedere Shopping Center and later moved it to Ruxton Towers in Towson. He retired 15 years ago.

He had numerous patients and moved between them in several treatment rooms.

"Jerry was highly respected and regarded by his peers," said Dr. Stanley H. Klein, an endodontist and friend of Dr. Sherman's. "He was meticulous and compulsive in his attention to detail. He would not keep a patient waiting and had a respect for other people's time, even though he had a large practice."

Dr. Sherman's office was run by his wife, the former Gilda Brown. She was known by many of the patients as Mrs. Gilda, unaware that she was the dentist's wife.

Family members said that in the 1960s, Dr. Sherman focused on the comfort of those in his care, experimenting with techniques such as having patients listen to music through headphones during treatment.

He also instructed fellow dentists in practice management, providing practical tips.

About 25 years ago, Dr. Sherman began collecting contemporary art after initially trying his hand at sculpting a clay bust of President John F. Kennedy.

"He didn't think it was right to go into the office with plasticine clay under his fingernails," son Scott L. Sherman said yesterday. "He loved the intellectual side of art. What drove him were the artists behind the pictures."

Dr. Sherman hung paintings he purchased in his home in the Pill Hill section of Mount Washington, a community named for the many medical practitioners who lived there.

"He had great instincts and boundless enthusiasm for art," said Craig Hankin, a longtime friend who directs the Homewood Art Workshops at Johns Hopkins University. "He had an agile mind that never rested, and was a gracious and generous human being."

Family members said Dr. Sherman's passion for art led him to galleries, studios and exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe. He served in several capacities at the Baltimore Museum of Art and was twice a president of its Friends of Modern Art organization.

Services will be held at 3 p.m. today at Sol Levinson & Bros., 8900 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville.

In addition to his son and his wife of 53 years, he is survived by a daughter, Rande Sotomayor of Altadena, Calif.; a sister, Betty Silverman of Pikesville; and five grandchildren.


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