Dr. Edward Eugene Holt, physician and surgeon, dies

Had been chief of surgery at the old Provident Hospital and a founder of the Colonial Golf Club

October 11, 2010|By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun | Baltimore Sun reporter

Dr. Edward Eugene Holt, a former longtime Baltimore physician and general surgeon whose career spanned four decades, died Oct. 4 of pneumonia at Sinai Hospital.

The Windsor Hills resident was 92.

Dr. Holt, who was born in Stockbridge, Ga., was raised in Atlanta, where he graduated in 1934 from Booker T. Washington High School.

After earning a bachelor's degree in 1938 in chemistry from Morehouse College, Dr. Holt attended graduate school at Atlanta University, where he founded and edited The Collegian, which published news from all of the black colleges in Atlanta.

"He had many jobs throughout his youth and worked while in college," said a daughter, Baltimore District Judge Charlotte Yvonne Holt-Stone of Windsor Hills.

"He told the story of working as a delivery boy for a drugstore and delivering lunch daily to a lady who was writing a book. It was Margaret Mitchell, and she was writing 'Gone With The Wind,' " said Judge Holt-Stone.

Dr. Holt took a job with the U.S. Census Bureau in Washington, where he was working when he was drafted into the Coast Guard in 1943. He served as a pharmacist's mate until being discharged at war's end.

"We really don't know why he went into medicine. He always was interested in chemistry," Judge Holt-Stone said. "For a black man to become a surgeon back then was a huge achievement."

Dr. Holt studied at Columbia University and Catholic University of America, and earned his medical degree in 1950 from Howard University Medical School.

He spent two years completing a residency in general surgery at Lincoln Hospital in Durham, N.C. In 1953, he established a private practice in New Bern, N.C., and was chief of staff at Good Shepherd Hospital.

Dr. Holt moved to Baltimore in 1956 and completed his surgical training at the old Provident Hospital in Baltimore and at Freedmen's Hospital in Washington.

He opened an office on North Avenue and later moved to an office in the 3700 block of Liberty Heights Ave.

The Rev. Louise Holley, associate pastor of John Wesley United Methodist Church, was a longtime friend.

"I was a nurse at the time and helped get his practice started and his first office on North Avenue," said Dr. . Holley.

"He had so much integrity and was loved by his patients and community. He never turned anyone away," she said. "He didn't care if they had or didn't have the necessary financial resources. He'd say, 'It's God's will,' and he'd care for them."

Dr. Miles G. Harrison Jr., who for the past 17 years has been a surgical associate at Sinai Hospital and is division head of surgery at Maryland General Hospital, knew Dr. Holt since Dr. Harrison was 11 years old.

"He was a reminder of the old doctors like Marcus Welby. He made house calls. He was always available to respond to a family's crisis," said Dr. Harrison, whose grandfather and uncle were physicians.

"I always wanted to be a doctor, and he showed me that it was something I could achieve. He was a tangible example of one who succeeded," Dr. Harrison said.

He recalled spending many years visiting Dr. Holt's household and is a close friend of Judge Holt-Stone's.

"He was a mild-mannered man, and the first lesson I learned from him was the ability to listen. He always reflected before he spoke," Dr. Harrison recalled. "He was quiet and introspective, and when he spoke, he did so with great authority and intellect."

In addition to his own practice, Dr. Holt was a physician for the Baltimore public schools and the Maryland Athletic Commission, and a staff surgeon at Provident Hospital.

Dr. Holt, who retired from practice in 1990, was a member of the Monumental City Medical Society, Maryland State Medical Association and the National Medical Association.

He was an active lifetime member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

"He was a champion of civil rights and deeply concerned about the struggle of African-Americans, human rights and the provision of health care," said Judge Holt-Stone.

He was an avid sports fan, and it wasn't unusual for him to watch a game on TV, listen to another on the radio and read the sports pages all at the same time, family members said.

Dr. Holt was a golfer and a founder of the Colonial Golf Club, an African-American golf club in Baltimore. He was also an accomplished bridge and pinochle player.

He was a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., Chi Delta Mu Fraternity and Prince Hall Masons.

Dr. Holt was married for 60 years to the former Charlotte Coleman, a retired city public schools guidance counselor and civic activist, who died in 2004.

He was a member of Hunting Ridge Presbyterian Church, 4640 Edmondson Ave., where services will be held at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Also surviving is another daughter, Pamela G. Holt, former executive director of the Maryland Citizens for the Arts, who lives in Washington; and many nieces and nephews.

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