Philip Deardorff

Age 84 The longtime Baltimore County oral and maxillofacial surgeon had been a fighter pilot during World War II.

"He was held in high regard by both his colleagues and his patients," said Dr. David A. Denisch, a longtime friend.

August 10, 2008|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,Sun reporter

Dr. Philip C. Deardorff, a retired Towson oral and maxillofacial surgeon, died of lung cancer Aug. 1 at his home in La Jolla, Calif. He was 84.

Dr. Deardorff was born and raised in York, Pa., and graduated from York High School in 1942.

During World War II, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was assigned to the 8th Air Force in England, where he flew P-51 Mustang fighter planes.

After the war, he earned a bachelor's degree from Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pa., and a dental degree from the Maurice H. Kronberg School of Dentistry at Temple University in Philadelphia in the 1950s.

Dr. Deardorff began his career at Harrisburg Hospital in Harrisburg, Pa., before moving to Baltimore, where he established his oral surgery practice in 1955.

"He had no contacts in the area and developed a practice by literally knocking on the doors of practicing dentists in the community and offering them a more convenient option for their patients," said his wife of 45 years, the former Virginia Reisinger, a Goucher College graduate and retired lawyer.

At a time when most dental specialists were located downtown in the old Medical Arts Building at Read and Cathedral streets, Dr. Deardorff looked elsewhere.

He purchased a house at Chumleigh and York roads in Rodgers Forge, which he used as his residence and dental office.

"To my knowledge, he was the first oral surgeon to move and establish a practice in Baltimore County," said Dr. David A. Denisch, a longtime Towson dentist and friend of more than 50 years. "He was a most professional and competent practitioner who was always available to relieve a patient's discomfort or pain, even if it meant missing lunch or working after hours.

"If I had a patient who needed treatment, he'd say, 'Dave, send them right over.' " Dr. Denisch said. "He was held in high regard by both his colleagues and his patients. He really was."

Dr. William R. Grill, a retired Parkville dentist and Kingsville resident, was also a longtime friend and hunting buddy.

"He was a very kind man who was blessed with a congenial personality. He got along with everybody," Dr. Grill said.

In 1970, Dr. Deardorff moved from Rodgers Forge to the 1200 block of York Road in Lutherville, where he practiced until retiring in the 1990s.

His partner of 20 years, Dr. John Paul Burton, who retired in 1993, died in June.

For more than 20 years, Dr. Deardorff lived at Flickerwood, his farm near Hereford. Since 1990, he and his wife had maintained a condominium in Dulaney Towers in Towson and a home in La Jolla.

He also built a house on the small island of St. Barthelemy in the Caribbean, where he lived for many years before moving to La Jolla.

An outdoorsman, Dr. Deardorff enjoyed waterfowl hunting on the Eastern Shore, fishing, boating and swimming, and was a member of the Wiltondale Hunting Club.

"He traveled extensively, always searching for the small, undiscovered spots of the world," Mrs. Deardorff said.

He was a member of the Baltimore Country Club, where he liked to golf. In recent years, he enjoyed walking, reading and playing bridge with family and friends.

At Dr. Deardorff's request, services will be private.

Also surviving are a son, Philip J. Deardorff of Alameda, Calif.; a daughter, Julie A. Deardorff of Encinitas, Calif.; two brothers, Harry Deardorff of Rancho Bernardo, Calif., and Harvey Deardorff of Tucson, Ariz.; and two sisters, Gloria Kern of Hemet, Calif., and Hester Rysdorp of Seattle.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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