Dr. Leonard M. "Myrt" Gaines Jr., a retired Baltimore internist, died June 26 from heart failure at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson, where he had volunteered for more than a decade. He was 86.
The son of a civil engineer and a homemaker, Leonard Myrton Gaines was born in Baltimore and raised on Darnall Road in Ruxton.
After attending Boys' Latin School for seven years, Dr. Gaines graduated in 1945 from Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., and he earned a bachelor's degree from Princeton University, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, in 1948.
Dr. Gaines was a 1952 graduate of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and then took two years of postgraduate training in internal medicine at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City.
From 1954 to 1956, Dr. Gaines served in the Air Force Medical Corps, attaining the rank of captain. He returned to Hopkins in 1956, completing his medical training and a fellowship in rheumatology in 1959.
From 1959 to 1994, when he retired, Dr. Gaines maintained a private practice at 7800 York Road in Towson.
In addition to his practice, Dr. Gaines remained on the part-time staff as an assistant professor of medicine at Hopkins and for many years taught clinical medicine to students and house officers at Johns Hopkins Hospital and several other hospitals.
Dr. Gaines was a member of the active staff from the first day Greater Baltimore Medical Center opened its doors to patients in 1965, and where he admitted most of his patients.
At GBMC, Dr. Gaines chaired the advisory committee of the department of medicine and chaired the credentials committee that approved new members of the staff and oversaw the rare disciplinary action.
He was chairman of the GBMC Foundation and was a member of the board from 1974 to 1978; and 1988 to 1994. From 1998 to 1994, he was chief of the medical staff.
In a biographical profile Dr. Gaines wrote in 2011, he described his medical practice as being a "combination of a specialty referral in rheumatology and general internal medicine in his office, hospital and home visits." He often remarked that seeing a patient at home "really brought full knowledge of the patient's problems."
During his nearly four-decade career in medicine, Dr. Gaines had been president of the Maryland Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation, medical consultant to Blue Shield of Maryland, and president of the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association.
Dr. Gaines was also a fellow of the American College of Physicians and was a founding fellow of the American College of Rheumatology.
When Gilchrist Hospice Care was founded in the early 1990s, Dr. Gaines early on became a volunteer.
In his biographical profile, Dr. Gaines had written "that physicians, including myself, had in general provided inadequate compassionate care for terminally ill patients" and knew he should "get involved in hospice care."
From 1994 to 2008, he called on "patients at home as a friend, not as a doctor," he wrote.
Dr. Gaines assisted in the financial affairs of Gilchrist and served as a member of its board from 1998 to 2011, and was chair from 2000 to 2003. In 2011, the board honored Dr. Gaines for his years of work and volunteerism as a director emeritus.
"Myrt was with us from the beginning and his primary responsibility was raising money for us, and he was able to attract significant dollars," said Cathy Hamel, who has been the executive director Gilchrist since 2009.
Ms. Hamel described Dr. Gaines as a "very humble and modest man," who "died in the facility" he worked so hard to develop.
"It was an honor and a privilege to have him with us," said Ms. Hamel.
Dr. Gaines, who had been a lacrosse star in both prep school and Princeton, retained a lifelong interest in the sport, and in 1985 was elected to the Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
The longtime resident of Huntley Square in Roland Park, who had moved to Roland Park Place several years go, was a member of the L'Hirondelle Club in Ruxton, where he played tennis, and the Country Club of Maryland, where he had played golf for 26 years.
He also was a surf fisherman and liked traveling to North Carolina's Outer Banks to go blue fishing, and later became interested in fly fishing for trout, hickory shad and rockfish.
Dr. Gaines was an active member of Brown Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church, where he was a Stephen's minister and an elder.
A memorial service will be held for Dr. Gaines at his church, 6200 N. Charles St., at 11:30 a.m. July 26.
Dr. Gaines is survived by his wife of 61 years, the former Helen "Sandi" McFarland, a former Johns Hopkins Hospital registered nurse; two sons, Brandon F. Gaines of Ruxton and David M. Gaines of Raleigh, N.C.; two daughters, Julia G. Mand of Woodbrook and Heather B. Gaines of Virginia Beach, Va.; and six grandchildren.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun