Joseph A. Mead, longtime official at Mercy Medical Center, dies

Dr. Mead worked to create Health Care for the Homeless and the Baltimore Child Abuse Center.

Dr. Joseph Anthony Mead Jr., a retired Mercy Medical Center official and University of Maryland School of Medicine professor, died of complications from a stroke Tuesday at Stella Maris Hospice in Towson.

The former Guilford resident was 83.

An advocate of care for the underserved, he had been personal physician to Gov. William Donald Schaefer and worked to help create Health Care for the Homeless and the Baltimore Child Abuse Center.

"He was a man who believed in the healing arts, believed in knowing the latest science information and who had a compassionate touch with patients," U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski said in an email. "At one time when my own mother was in the hospital and I was being called to vote in Washington, it was Dr. Joe who stood at her bedside and said, 'We will take care of your mother, you go to Washington and take care of Medicare.'

"Care was his middle name," Ms. Mikulski said. "He had a big impact on many."

Born in Baltimore and raised in Walbrook, Dr. Mead was the son of Joseph A. Mead Sr., a Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co. executive, and Anna Neary.

He attended St. Cecilia School and was a 1950 graduate of Loyola High School. He earned a bachelor's degree from what is now Loyola University Maryland and was a 1958 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

He was an intern, resident and chief resident at Mercy Hospital, now Mercy Medical Center. He served in the Army at Kimbrough Army Hospital at Fort Meade.

After leaving military service, Dr. Mead was named Mercy's chief of cardiology and assistant chief of the department of medicine.

According to a biography supplied by his family, Dr. Mead was also an instructor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry and associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. In 1974 he was named a full professor at the university's medical school. He spent two years in the mid-1970s as medical director at Peninsula General Hospital in Salisbury.

"I first met Dr. Mead as a student in 1971. He was a fantastic, caring physician who treated his students with fairness," said Dr. Michael P. Zimring, a physician and Howard County resident. Dr. Mead "made time for his patients and was just a very nice man."

Dr. Mead directed intern training at Mercy from 1964 to 1971 and was chief of its department of medicine from 1971 to 1975.

In a 1970 article in The Baltimore Sun, he said the hospital was doing away with clinics for the poor and adopting a family doctor approach. He said the hospital should serve both poor and middle-class patients in a dignified setting.

"Regarding the mission of the hospital, Joe said we're going to lead with our hearts and do the right thing," said Gary Michael, the hospital's vice president of marketing.

Dr. Mead also set up the Mercy Southern Family Health Center for South Baltimore residents with limited access to medical care. He also worked to create Health Care for the Homeless and the Baltimore Child Abuse Center.

"He was a humble man and a champion for the poor of Baltimore," said Sister Elizabeth Anne Corcoran, a member of the Sisters of Mercy and a former vice president for nursing.

"Dr. Mead was widely regarded for his personal ethics and integrity. He was also a much-loved teacher," said Dr. Scott Spier, Mercy's vice president for medical affairs. "He was also regarded for his professional expertise in medical issues regarding death and dying."

In 1977, he was named vice president for medical affairs at Mercy. He held the post until 1995, and was also chief of the department of internal medicine. He worked closely with the hospital's longtime president, Sister Mary Thomas Zinkand.

"Sister Thomas was my father's best friend. They were inseparable," said a daughter, Patricia M. Deros of Timonium.

In 1995, the year he retired, the hospital named a Calvert Street building the Joseph A. Mead Family Health Care Center. A plaque in the hospital's main building recalls him as a "much-sought counselor and advisor."

He was a fellow of the American College of Physicians and belonged to the Baltimore City Medical Society and the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland.

He was the 1988 recipient of the Maryland Hospital Association's Distinguished Service Award and the 1991 recipient of the Child Advocacy Network Public Service Award. He held the Roman Catholic title of Knight of Magistral Grace, Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

Dr. Mead had been chair of the standards committee for the Maryland Foundation for Health Care, the Committee on Professional Practices for the Maryland Hospitals Association, and the Archdiocesan Commission on Aging.

He sat on the medical affairs and quality assurance committee of the Wyman Park Health System, and in 1989 was on the long-range planning committee for Health Care for the Homeless. Since 1990, he had been on the board of directors of the Child Advocacy Network.

Before moving to Linkwood Road in 1977, Dr. Meade and his family were among the first 100 families to live in Columbia. He joined other congregants to break ground in 1970 for Columbia's interfaith center.

A funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Stella Maris Chapel, 2300 Dulaney Valley Road in Timonium.

In addition to his daughter, Dr. Mead's survivors include five sons, Joseph S. Mead of Tampa, Fla., Andrew M. Mead of Newcastle, Okla., Timothy S. Mead of San Antonio, Matthew J. Mead of San Francisco and Jonathan P. Mead of Colorado Springs, Colo.; another daughter, Joh'Anna M. Sherman of Eldersburg; three brothers, Robert Mead of Baltimore, William Mead of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., and Michael Mead of Ohio; four stepsons, Kevin Miller of California, Kerry Miller of Oregon, Timothy Miller of Hyattsville and Mark Miller of Germany; a stepdaughter, Faye M. Starvaggi of Frederick; 14 grandchildren; and 13 step-grandchildren. His first wife of 43 years, Patricia Russo, died in 1999. He married Adele Miller in 2003. She died in 2014.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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