Dr. Peter J. Golueke, a noted Baltimore vascular surgeon and a founder of Vascular Surgery Associates LLC, died Monday of a brain tumor at his Guilford home. He was 55.
The son of an Amoco Oil Co. manager and a homemaker, Dr. Golueke was born in Green Bay, Wis., and two years later moved with his family to Milwaukee. In 1962, they moved to Towson.
After graduating in 1973 from Towson Catholic High School, he attended the University of Maryland, College Park, where he studied chemical engineering for three years.
He left one year early in 1976 when he was accepted into the University of Maryland Medical School, from which he graduated in 1980.
From 1980 to 1984, he completed a general surgery residency at Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., and then spent a year at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, studying on a vascular surgery fellowship.
Dr. Golueke joined the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as an assistant professor in vascular surgery while serving as chief of vascular surgery at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.
In 1989, Dr. Golueke left Hopkins to join Dr. Roger E. Schneider in the private practice of vascular surgery.
The two doctors established Vascular Surgery Associates LLC, which is one of the largest vascular surgery groups in the Mid-Atlantic region, caring for patients at Greater Baltimore Medical Center, St. Joseph Medical Center, Sinai Hospital and Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air.
"He always wanted to be in medicine and went after his dream," said his wife of 27 years, the former Valerie Sentz, who met and fell in love with her future husband when she was working as an X-ray technician at Kings County Hospital Center. "He was a very driven man, quiet, and not the least bit boastful."
"Peter was technically remarkable and very talented," said Dr. Schneider, who is a managing partner of Vascular Surgery Associates L.L.C.
"He was adored by his patients, and he bonded well with everyone. People always felt they were developing a personal relationship with him, which is most unusual with surgeons," he said.
In an e-mail to fellow employees, Dr. Schneider wrote, "It is no exaggeration to state that Dr. Golueke's surgical career with our group was marked by wide acclaim throughout our region, by healthcare professionals at all levels, for his keen intellect, diagnostic abilities, superb technical skills and comprehensive knowledge of our field."
Dr. Schneider added that when Dr. Golueke was "called upon for any task, great or small, elective or urgent, at any hour, he invariably met the challenge with enthusiasm, vigor and perseverance."
Dr. Golueke was named one of Baltimore's best vascular surgeons four times by Baltimore Magazine.
Two years ago, Dr. Golueke was diagnosed with the brain tumor that eventually claimed his life.
When he retired in June 2010, he was chief of the Division of Vascular Surgery at Greater Baltimore Medical Center, where he was also director of the hospital's Wound Care Center and Hyperbaric Medicine Unit.
He had been a member of the hospital's board of directors from 1995 to 1999.
"His last day of work was Dec. 2, 2010," Mrs. Golueke said. "He wanted to care for his patients and even in the confusion of his illness, he still remained medically connected, and would say, 'Don't I have to go to work today?'"
"It was a dreadful ordeal and tragic loss," said Dr. Thomas F. Lansdale III, a Baltimore internist and a close longtime friend who cared for Dr. Golueke in his final illness.
"It was a rare and deep privilege to be Peter's physician. He was a singularly kind, generous and lovable man. He was one of the finest physicians I have ever met in a 30-year career, but he was an even better father, husband, son, brother and friend," said Dr. Lansdale.
"His patients rightly adored him. He nurtured and maintained more close relationships with those fortunate enough to share in his remarkable life than most men do in lives nearly twice as long," Dr. Lansdale said.
Dr. Golueke wrote widely on vascular surgery, and his professional memberships included the American College of Surgeons, Society for Vascular Surgery and Chesapeake Vascular Society.
"I was an active supporter of Baltimore Squash Wise, a charitable foundation that supports Baltimore inner-city youths through a combination of after-school tutoring combined with training in the sport of squash to build self-confidence and valuable social confidence," Dr. Golueke wrote in his biographical notes.
Dr. Golueke, who enjoyed sailing on the Chesapeake Bay, was an active supporter of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. He also enjoyed fishing and travel. He was an avid reader who liked history, politics, religion and spirituality.
He was a golfer and a member of the Maryland Club and Gibson Island Club.
Dr. Golueke was a former communicant of St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church in Rodgers Forge.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. March 5 at Roland Park Country School, 5204 Roland Ave.
In addition to his wife, Dr. Golueke is survived by three sons, Brandon Golueke of Federal Hill, Christopher Golueke and Geoffrey Golueke, both of Guilford; a daughter, Erin Golueke of Guilford; his mother, Florence Golueke of Towson; and three brothers, Steve Golueke of Monkton, Tom Golueke of Westminster and Mark Golueke of Bel Air.