Dr. William A. Sinton Jr., Towson pediatrician, dies

Dr. William Allen Sinton Jr., a retired Towson pediatrician, died of Parkinson’s disease Nov. 20 at Gilchrist Hospice Care. The Riderwood resident was 87.

Born in Baltimore and raised in the Northwood area, he was the son of Dr. William A. Sinton Sr., a pediatrician, and his wife, Elise Baum.

He was a 1948 graduate of City College, where he swam on the school’s varsity team. He received a bachelor’s degree at the College of William and Mary and was a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

“His love for medicine began early in life, when he would often ride along on house calls with his father,” said his son, Robert Sinton of Towson.

He perfromed an internship at Union Memorial Hospital, then enlisted in the Air Force, where he achieved the rank of captain. He studied aviation medicine with physicians responsible for the care of the crews of the early Apollo flights in Houston. After leaving the military service he completed a two-year residency program in pediatrics at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

“My father relied on this [Air Force] training later in his private practice when dealing with the many ear problems he encountered as a pediatrician,” said his son. “At the time my father began his private practice, house calls were expected. He once spoke nostalgically of a particular winter Sunday when he made 20 house calls in his old blue Volkswagen Beetle, a car he purchased in Germany during his Air Force deployment and had shipped back to Baltimore.”

He joined the practice of Drs. Clewell Howell and Melchijah Spragins in Towson. The physicians practiced in an old Towson home at Allegheny and Washington avenues. They later moved to the campus of St. Joseph Medical Center.

“My father, who was the parent of a child with special needs, quickly became recognized for his special skill, care and attention in addressing the unique needs of this population of children,” said his son.

He also had a special cough medicine for children with croup.

Dr. Sinton was the pediatrician to Kerry Ellen Flanagan, the fourth American born through in vitro fertilization in 1982. Her father was Oroles pitcher Mike Flanagan. In 1998 he was quoted in The Baltimore Sun about Dr. Benjamin Spock's landmark 1946 book, "Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care.”

“It was probably the best reference available at the time,” he said. “It was difficult to find a subject you couldn't find in his book — diaper rash, what to do about high fevers — and in areas that might be controversial, he was careful to acknowledge that a parent might want to run this by the pediatrician."

He was a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and served on its Accident Prevention and Poison Control Committee and its Continuing Education Committee. He was also a member of the Baltimore County Medical Society.

Dr. Sinton practiced in Towson until 2000, when he retired to care for his wife of 45 years, Marjorie Rupp Sinton, a nurse who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She died in 2001.

He enjoyed canoeing at Blackwater Wildlife Refuge and on the Gunpowder Falls. He also enjoyed Laser sailing on Middle River and the Chesapeake Bay, tennis and travel.

He was an active member of Ascension Lutheran Church, where services were held Saturday.

In addition to his son, survivors include two other sons, William A. Sinton III of Towson and Thomas P. Sinton of Frederick; and four grandchildren.

-- Jacques Kelly

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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