Louis John Pratt Jr.

The longtime Baltimore-area family physician enjoyed performing in amateur theatrical productions

January 31, 2009|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

Dr. Louis John Pratt Jr., a retired physician who enjoyed performing in amateur theatrical productions, died Monday of pneumonia at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. He was 90.

Dr. Pratt was born in Washington and raised in Baltimore on Kernwood Avenue. He was a 1938 graduate of City College and earned a bachelor's degree from Loyola College in 1941.

After earning his medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1944, he enlisted in the Air Force, where he served in the Caribbean as a flight surgeon.

After being discharged in 1945, he returned to Baltimore and completed a pediatric internship at the old St. Joseph Hospital on Caroline Street.

In the late 1940s, he was also the company physician for the old Emerson Drug Co., manufacturers of Bromo-Seltzer.

In 1949, he established a pediatric practice in the Loch Raven Apartments in offices he shared with Drs. Ferdinand Kaden and Leonard Hamberry.

"He started his practice as a pediatrician, but as his patients grew, he wanted to continue with them, so he expanded into family medicine," said his daughter, Brienne P. Fiske of Riderwood.

"He was a very, very good physician," said Dr. Hamberry, who is now retired.

"He paid attention to his patients, and he kept up with them," he said. "He was very well-liked, and he really enjoyed practicing medicine and conducting his practice."

For years, Dr. Pratt was a volunteer physician who conducted Well Baby Clinics for Baltimore County.

During the 1970s, he also served as team physician for the Loch Raven High School football team. He also conducted physicals for prospective insurance company clients.

"He was an old-fashioned family doctor who made house calls. He was always going out of his way to take care of his patients," said his wife of 57 years, the former Miriam Walsh.

An extremely personable man, there were occasions when Dr. Pratt's patients weren't confined to humans.

"Sometimes children would bring him birds or rabbits, and he'd treat them," Mrs. Pratt said.

She recalled when champion golfer Edward Stewart "Porky" Oliver Jr. was playing a tournament in Baltimore and fell ill.

"He was taken to see my husband, who prescribed some medicine," Mrs. Pratt said. "The next day, Chuck Thompson, he didn't name my husband, said on TV, 'I don't know what that doctor gave him, but he won the tournament.' "

His professional memberships included the Baltimore County Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Practice and the American Academy of Sports Medicine.

Dr. Pratt retired in 1989.

Dr. Pratt's daughter said her father "loved being a doctor. It was his calling, and when he retired, he was a little lost."

A resident of Timonium since the early 1950s, Dr. Pratt was a member the St. Andrews Society and the Hibernian Society. He had been a board member of the St. George's Society and the Paint and Powder Club.

As a longtime member of the Paint and Powder Club, Dr. Pratt not only performed in many of the annual musicals that raised money for charitable causes, but for years was the top advertising salesman for the organization's program book.

"He knew how to laugh at himself, and he knew how to get you to laugh at yourself because we all have flaws," said Virginia Shriver Raleigh, a longtime friend.

"And Lou knew how to get Paint and Powder audiences laughing," she said. "He had such a good sense of humor that he maintained until the end of his life."

Joseph K. Morgan was Dr. Pratt's financial adviser for the past 15 years.

"He was a great guy and a real piece of work. He was easy to get along with and everyone liked him," Mr. Morgan said. "I never heard a bad word about him from anyone."

Dr. Pratt maintained a home for years in Cape May, N.J., where he was a member of the Cottagers Association.

"He enjoyed reading, spending time on the beach and riding the waves," his daughter said.

Dr. Pratt was a communicant of Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, Baltimore and Ware avenues in Towson, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today.

Also surviving are a son, Louis T. Pratt of Apopka, Fla.; a sister, Ruth Ortman of Timonium; and three grandchildren.

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