Robert D. Jeffs, 82, pediatric urologist

September 05, 2006

Robert Douglas Jeffs, a Johns Hopkins Hospital physician who specialized in pediatric urology, died Aug. 28 of pulmonary fibrosis. The Owings Mills resident was 82.

Dr. Jeffs was born in Toronto and graduated from Upper Canada College. He started his pre-medical studies before joining the Canadian Air Force when he was 17 years old.

He trained to fly Tiger Moth biplanes, but remained in Canada throughout World War II. When the war ended, he returned to school and earned his medical degree from the University of Toronto.

During a year of research, he worked part-time at a hospital called Lyndhurst Lodge. There he met Catharine Purner, who worked in the cafeteria.

The two were married in 1951.

Dr. Jeffs received a fellowship to observe physicians at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where he developed his interest in pediatric urology. When he returned to Canada, he pursued that specialty at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Dr. Jeff's surgical techniques for children with severe bladder deformities helped lead to an invitation to join the staff at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1975. Over the next two decades there, he treated pediatric urology patients.

He was particularly proud of having started an annual event where patients and their families could learn more about urological illnesses and then relax and meet other families at a picnic, his wife said.

"The children were very precious to him," said Mrs. Jeffs. "He loved them."

In his free time, Dr. Jeffs enjoyed a vacation home on an island in the Georgian Bay area of Canada. He was an avid sailor and enjoyed fishing, woodworking and golf.

A service will be held 4 p.m. tomorrow at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 232 St. Thomas Lane, Owings Mills.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Jeffs is survived by a daughter, Rebecca Jeffs of Santa Fe, N.M.; two sons, Douglas Jeffs of Baltimore and Robert Jeffs of Missoula, Mont.; a sister, Doreen O'Kane of Leesburg, Va.; four grandchildren; one step-grandchild; and one foster grandchild.

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