C. Richard Fravel

[ Age 82 ] Internist was medical director of Sun Life Insurance and served as house physician at the old Mechanic Theatre.

February 06, 2007|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,sun reporter

Dr. C. Richard Fravel, a retired internist who worked with local insurance firms and was the house physician at the old Morris A. Mechanic Theatre, died of cancer Saturday at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. The Ruxton resident was 82.

Born in Pottsville, Pa., the son of a Dutch Reformed minister, he attended Pennsylvania State and Cornell universities while serving in an Army program to educate physicians during World War II. He earned a degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1949 and spent his internship and residency in internal medicine at Mercy Medical Center and at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Dr. Fravel went into the Air Force and served two years as chief of medicine at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver. He held the same post at the newly created Air Force Academy, which was initially located at Lowry.

He returned to Baltimore in 1957 and established a private practice at the old Medical Arts Building and had staff appointments at Mercy Medical Center and the Greater Baltimore Medical Center.

"He was a sharp diagnostician and he loved medicine," said a friend, Dr. Allen E. Silver. "He was a consummate gentleman who had a fine manner and sense of decency."

Dr. Fravel was a vice president and medical director of the Sun Life Insurance Co. of America from 1959 until the company relocated to Atlanta in 1982.

For many years, Dr. Fravel was also the Mechanic's house physician - and had a medical office in the nearby Sun Life Building.

In an interview with a Sun reporter last year, he recalled treating Deborah Kerr after she tripped and fell through a glass door. He advised her to go to a hospital emergency room, but she requested that he personally remove the glass shards.

He also recalled giving daily vitamin injections to Lauren Bacall during the 1970 run of Applause. He said that he found the stars could be tardy in their payments but that chorus members and supporting actors generally paid his fees promptly.

In 1983, he became vice president and medical director of the Monumental Life and Monumental General insurance companies and worked there until his retirement in 1995.

He was a former member of Roland Park Presbyterian Church and had been its Sunday school superintendent, a deacon and member of the church session.

He also served on the board and was endowment chair for Westminster House, a Mount Vernon senior citizen residence.

Dr. Fravel sang baritone and sat on the board of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society and regularly attended Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Baltimore Opera Company performances. Friends said he was an accomplished gardener.

He was sat on the AIDS Committee of the United Way of Central Maryland and on the board of the American Council of Life Insurance's medical section and served on its AIDS committee.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday at Towson Presbyterian Church, 400 W. Chesapeake Ave. in Towson, where he sang in the choir.

Survivors include his wife of 58 years, the former Dorothy Shaver; a son, Craig Richard Fravel of Encinitas, Calif.; a daughter, Carey Fravel Henning of Phoenix in Baltimore County; and four granddaughters.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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