Constantinos Chilimindris

Chief of surgery at GBMC specialized in care of trauma patients and was active in the Greek Orthodox Church

October 19, 2008|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

Dr. Constantinos P. "Dino" Chilimindris, who retired from Greater Baltimore Medical Center, where he had been chief of surgery and director of the surgical intensive care unit, died of complications from a stroke at Gilchrist Hospice Care on Oct. 10. The former Cockeysville resident was 73.

Dr. Chilimindris, the son of an orange grower, was born and raised in Famagusta, Cyprus.

"He decided to become a doctor when he was little because he cared for his father's farm animals," said a daughter, Carolyn "Cara" Stiars of Idlewylde.

After graduating from Trinity College and Trinity Medical School in Dublin, Ireland, Dr. Chilimindris immigrated to Baltimore in 1962.

After completing an internship in trauma and surgery at Union Memorial Hospital, he studied shock-trauma care for two years at a Chicago hospital.

He was in private practice until joining the staff of GBMC in 1968.

"In the early 1970s, we had no surgical house staff, so I practically lived at the hospital," he said in an interview with a GBMC newsletter at the time of his retirement. "I spent many a holiday leaving the dining table to do surgery."

By 1976, Dr. Chilimindris had trained 35 surgical nurse practitioners to help assist surgeons with the hospital's growing workload.

"I never envisioned we would expand to where we are now," he said in the interview.

Through his long career, Dr. Chilimindris remained very much focused on treating trauma patients.

"Trauma work has always excited me because the rewards are so great, particularly when you save young trauma victims," he said in the interview. "I remain interested in and in close contact with many of my patients. A number of my breast cancer patients still call me for advice."

Dr. Anthony S. Courpos, a retired Towson obstetrician and gynecologist, was a friend for 47 years.

"He saved many from the grave. When auto accident victims, shooting victims or others who had suffered life-threatening injuries arrived at the hospital, he was the first person who treated them. It's no wonder he loved his patients and they loved him," Dr. Courpos said.

"He was very well thought of and highly regarded by his colleagues and patients," he said. "And he was always available to help out in the operating room if there was a problem."

Dr. Chilimindris retired in 1998.

"He defined his life through his work as a doctor, and when he retired, he was so sad and lost. He loved being a doctor," Mrs. Stiars said.

Dr. Chilimindris never lost his passion for his homeland and actively worked for political justice after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus during the 1970s.

He also was an active member of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation, where he had served on the parish council, ushered and was a member of the Greek brotherhood AHEPA.

"He would always go the extra mile to help anybody who needed help," said Paul Agathoklis, also a native of Cyprus, fellow church member and longtime friend. "Dino loved watching their faces light up and what he did for them he always did from the bottom of his heart."

A week before he died, Mr. Agathoklis visited his old friend at the hospital and heard Greek music playing as he approached his room.

"You could see that he was enjoying listening to it because there was a sparkle in his eye," he said. "And even though his body was weak, you could tell his spirit was willing."

A resident of the Blakehurst retirement community in Towson since 2003, Dr. Chilimindris enjoyed planting flowers and trees, and playing golf.

His wife of 17 years, the former Janice Gaskill, a nurse, died in 1989.

Services were held at his church Tuesday.

Also surviving are two sons, Peter P. Chilimindris of Baltimore and Phillip A. Chilimindris of Raleigh, N.C.; another daughter, Christina D. Chilimindris of Perry Hall; a sister, Maria Pouyouros of Pathos, Cyprus; and three grandchildren. A marriage to Nancy Vias, a nurse, ended in divorce.

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