Dr. Edward L. Suarez-Murias

Dr. Edward L. Suarez-Murias

Dr. Edward Lawrence Suarez-Murias, a retired psychiatrist and World War II veteran, died of pneumonia July 2 at his Roland Park home. He was 96.

Named a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, he practiced in Baltimore for more than 40 years.

A family biography said he was born in Havana, Cuba, to Marguerite Suarez-Murias y Vendel of Brussels, Belgium, and Eduardo Ramon Suarez-Murias, a Havana resident.

He attended grade school in Waterloo, Belgium, and in the public school system of Los Angeles, where his father, a mining engineer, settled the family. Dr. Suarez-Murias continued his education at the Colegio de la Salle in Havana. He spoke English, Spanish and French fluently.

He moved to Baltimore in the late summer of 1934 to attend the Johns Hopkins University. Before classes started, he planned to greet his father, a passenger aboard the Morro Castle, when the ship arrived in New York. He learned his father had died when the ship caught fire off New Jersey during a storm.

He went on to earn a chemistry degree at Hopkins and was named to the Phi Beta Kappa honors society. He also worked at the Cuban consulate in Baltimore from 1934 to 1941.

He earned a degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1942. He did internships in surgery at the old Church Home and Hospital and in pathology at Hopkins. He then entered the Army and served in its medical corps. He was assistant division psychiatrist in the 99th Infantry during the Battle of the Bulge, Remagen Bridge and Ruhr campaigns. He left military service as a major.

After the war ended, he returned to Baltimore and completed a residency in gynecology at Hopkins. He became a U.S. citizen on June 13, 1949, and started a private practice in psychiatry at 11 E. Chase St. in Mount Vernon, his family said.

"As a psychiatrist, he was a very astute person in the way that he could deal with his patients," said a colleague, James J. Butzow, a retired biochemist who lives in Baltimore. "He was patient and could give them the time they needed."

Dr. Suarez-Murias was on the staff of the old Seton Psychiatric Institute in Northwest Baltimore until it closed in 1973. He was also a consultant at Hopkins, Mercy, St. Agnes and Union Memorial hospitals.

He also taught psychiatry as an assistant professor at the Hopkins medical school. He enjoyed the pursuit of learning and in 1971 earned a master's in liberal arts with honors from Hopkins.

He was a member of the Baltimore City Medical Society, the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of the State of Maryland, American Medical Association, the National Guild of Catholic Psychiatrists and the Maryland Association of Private Practicing Psychiatrists. He also lectured at St. Mary's Seminary & University in Roland Park.

In 1997, with colleagues Dr. Edmond A. Murphy and Mr. Butzow, he co-authored "The Underpinnings of Medical Ethics," published by the Johns Hopkins Press.

Mr. Butzow said the book was an outgrowth of weekly talks and seminars on medical ethics held at the Carroll House on Broadway near Hopkins for about 15 years.

"He believed that human genetic makeup determines an individual's response to internal and external stressors, even at the cellular level," said his daughter, Christine Suarez-Murias Kellner of Antelope, Calif.

She said that her father, "a keen observer of personality," coined the terms "tachysteric" and "bradyleptic" personalities, to explain "fast and solid" versus "slow and steady" approaches in human behavior.

"While these distinctions may seem arbitrary, he worked to see the nuances between them," said Mr. Butzow. "He was very interested in the dynamics of the human personality."

Dr. Suarez-Murias read widely and enjoyed world literature. He also painted, visited historic sites and museums, and played golf, tennis and baseball, and swam. He was often accompanied by his children.

A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5200 N. Charles St., where Dr. Suarez-Murias was a longtime member.

In addition to his daughter, survivors include his wife of 61 years, the former Frances Regina Mattheu; five sons, Lawrence Suarez-Murias of Towson, David Suarez-Murias of Timonium, Henry Suarez-Murias of Laurel, Joseph Suarez-Murias of Lusby and Richard Suarez-Murias of Fallston; two other daughters, Mary Miller of Lutherville and Teresa Merriwether of Naples, Fla.; and five grandchildren. A son, Edward L. Suarez-Murias Jr., died in 1996.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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