Dr. Abdul Ghaffar Qureshi, a retired surgeon who worked with the elderly residents of Baltimore's public high-rise apartments, died of complications of Alzheimer's disease May 6 at Quail Run Assisted Living in Perry Hall. He was 75 and had lived in Westminster and Linthicum.
Born in a village in Pakistan, he was the son of Ghulam Haider, a school headmaster, and his wife, Ameer, a homemaker. He received a scholarship to study medicine at Nishtar Medical College in Multan, Punjab, Pakistan. He began his training at Kuakini Hospital in Honolulu in 1963.
After about a year, he moved to New York and trained at Harlem Hospital and St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn.
In 1967, he completed his residency at the old South Baltimore General Hospital on Light Street, where he met his future wife, Rosemary Casteel, who was a nurse. He was a student of Dr. Deonis Lupo, a surgeon.
After establishing his practice, he had surgical privileges at the old Provident and Lutheran hospitals and at Maryland General Hospital. He was also involved with the establishment of Fallston General Hospital.
Earlier in his career, he had an office on North Kenwood Avenue in East Baltimore.
Dr. Qureshi also established clinics in Baltimore, including those at the McCulloh Health Center in West Baltimore, Lakeview Towers senior apartment in Reservoir Hill and at the Marlborough apartments on Eutaw Place, among more than a dozen other locations.
"He was a good surgeon and he was conscientious. He provided health care to the poor and elderly living in senior-citizen high-rises," said a friend, Dr. Rafit K. Abousy, a cardiologist who lives in Ellicott City. "He had a good sense of humor and employed many physicians in his clinics. He was also generous to his family, both in the U.S. and in Pakistan."
Family members said that he devoted much of his professional life to bringing health care to medically underserved parts of Baltimore.
"He was gentle, humble and kind," said his daughter, Rashida Qureshi-Keys of Mount Airy.
"He had a special fondness for children and especially babies. He loved the sound of children's laughter," said another daughter, Sara Qureshi, a Woodbine resident.
She also recalled her father as "never having an unkind word to say about anyone. He never engaged in gossip. He was loved by his patients, colleagues and staff."
"My father proudly took his oath to become a United States citizen at the age of 40 in Washington, D.C.," said his daughter Sara.
Family members said he donated land and funds to found a school in Pakistan.
He enjoyed lengthy walks.
"One of my favorite memories of my father is walking on the beach with him, early in the morning on Siesta Key in Sarasota," his daughter Sara said.
Dr. Qureshi was a founding member of the Islamic Society of Baltimore. He belonged to the group, which initially met at the Johns Hopkins University Homewood campus. He and his fellow members later established a religious center.
Islamic services were held May 7.
In addition to his wife of 44 years and his daughters, survivors include two brothers, Nadeem Hashmi and Abdul Jabar, and a sister, Rashida, all of Pakistan; and four grandchildren.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun