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Dr. Max R. English, longtime general practitioner in Baltimore

Dr. Max R. English, a general practitioner who during a nearly 50-year career made house calls and delivered babies, died Monday of heart failure at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson.

The resident of the Blakehurst retirement community in Towson was 97.

The son of J. Marshall English, a businessman, and Odessa English, a homemaker, Max R. English was born in New Castle, Ind., and raised in New Albany, Ind., where he graduated from high school.

Family members that from an early age, he knew he wanted to be a physician. Eager to enter into a medical career, he earned a bachelor's degree in three years in 1939 from DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind.

Dr. English studied at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, then during World War II entered the Navy, which allowed him to continue his medical studies.

He earned his medical degree in 1943, then was assigned as a medical officer on the attack transport USS Fallon in the Pacific. He later served the same capacity aboard the fast transport USS Rogers Blood in the Atlantic.

Dr. English was recalled to active duty during the Korean War and was stationed in Washington in 1952.

While on a visit home to New Albany, he was tending to a friend's mother when he inquired about her daughter, Dorothy Helen "Dottie" Wright, whom he had known in high school.

"She was three years younger," said a son, Craig Alan English of Jacksonville, Baltimore County.

"She came down the stairs and wasn't wearing any makeup and looked terrible, but he asked her out for a soda and then they started dating," he said. "They married six weeks later."

After his military service, Dr. English returned to the University of Louisville School of Medicine and completed a joint internship and residency in obstetrics and gynecology.

He read an advertisement in a medical publication stating that a medical practice in Baltimore was for sale, so he purchased it from a Dr. Wilkerson.

"It was at White Avenue and Belair Road in Hamilton, and for a time we lived upstairs from his office and later moved to a house on White Avenue," his son said. "In 1959, we moved to Churchwardens Road in Homeland."

Barbara Ann Van Hornwas a toddler when one day, while playing in the basement of her grandmother's Mayberry Avenue home in Hamilton, she got her left arm caught in the ringer of the washing machine.

"I had been playing with the suds when I got my left arm caught in the ringer. My mother drove me to Dr. English's office. The fluids formed a balloon around my arm, and if that had burst who knows what would have happened." said Ms. Van Horn, who lives in Carney.

"My parents always said Dr. English saved my life and that I nearly died. I'm nearly 70 and I still have the scars to prove it," she said. "He was like a god in our family."

While maintaining his general medical practice for 22 years in Hamilton, Dr. English not only saw patients at his office but also made house calls and delivered babies.

"For years he drove Buicks, which were known as the 'doctor's cars,'" said his son.

He said that for a long time, his father drove a 1953 Buick convertible, then switched in 1961 to a Ford Thunderbird. He bought another Thunderbird three years later, switched to a Chevy Corvette in 1969, then in 1971 switched again to a Cadillac Eldorado, also a convertible.

"Because he made house calls at night, he had all of the cars outfitted with searchlights so he could read house numbers," his son said.

"He charged $6 for a house call and $100 to deliver a baby," he said.

During his years in Hamilton, Dr. English delivered more than 2,000 babies, many at St. Joseph Hospital, first on Caroline Street, then on Osler Drive in Towson after it relocated in 1965.

"He delivered the last baby at Caroline Street before the hospital closed and the first one at its new location in Towson," his son said.

In 1968, Dr. English joined a practice called Osler Drive Emergency Physicians, located at what is now the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center.

He was a member of the American Medical Association, the American College of Emergency Physicians, the Maryland State Medical Association and the Baltimore County Medical Association.

He retired in 1988.

In 2013, he was inducted into the inaugural class of St. Joseph Medical Center's Healing Hands Guild, which honors outstanding physician care.

"On the second floor of the hospital there is a wall honoring those Osler Drive Emergency Physicians with bronze impressions of their hands," his son said. "At the ceremony, he got up and spoke for quite some time without notes."

In 1988, Dr. English and his wife moved to the Meadows in Lutherville, and since 2007 had lived at Blakehurst.

Dr. English and his wife enjoyed wintering in Sarasota, Fla., where they went to the beach, played golf, biked, and entertained family and friends.

"He loved telling stories and was sharp until the end of his life. He could recall the names of patients and doctors, and when he had to go to the hospital, he told the doctor how much medicine to give him," his son said.

"He was a great character," his son said.

Dr. English was a member of St. Andrew's Christian Community in Roland Park.

Plans for a memorial service are incomplete.

In addition to his wife of 73 years and his son, he is survived by another son, S. Mark English of Prince Frederick; a daughter, Susan Lynn Bosley of Cockeysville; and nine grandchildren. Another son, Max R. English Jr., died in 2011.

frasmussen@baltsun.com

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