Henry Freimuth, 81, toxicologist for state


Henry C. Freimuth, a retired toxicologist for the state who also taught college and police courses, died Thursday of pneumonia at Howard County General Hospital in Columbia.

Dr. Freimuth, who was 81 and moved from Catonsville to Columbia nine years ago, retired nearly 20 years ago.

Since 1944, he had checked bodies in the medical examiner's office for poisons and other chemicals.

From 1939 to 1944, he was a special agent and analytical chemist at FBI headquarters in Washington.

He told a 1982 interviewer that his interest in forensic chemistry began in childhood, reading Sherlock Holmes.

"He picked up some ashes from the floor and said, 'Ah, a so-and-so cigar!' That fascinated me." Dr. Freimuth, a native of New York City, earned a bachelor's degree from City College of New York in 1932, a master's degree at New York University the next year and a doctorate at NYU in 1938.

He was a teaching assistant at NYU while a graduate student, then a research assistant in the medical school for a year.

He was an instructor in chemistry at Loyola College from 1946 to 1957 and continued to lecture there until about four years ago.

He also had been an associate professor of legal medicine at the University of Maryland medical school and taught at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health and at the Maryland State Police Academy.

Dr. Freimuth wrote more than 35 published research papers and textbook chapters.

He served on the board of the American Council on Alcoholism from 1974 to 1993 and as its secretary from 1986 to 1993.

Donald J. P. LaMarca, the council chairman, said Dr. Freimuth's "contributions to the council as a scientist, teacher and energetic volunteer were substantial. He knew so much about alcohol and the treatable illness of alcoholism."

Dr. Freimuth was also a former chairman of the Maryland Section of the American Chemical Society and of the Toxicology Section of the American Academy of Forensic Science.

He was active in the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI and was a member of the Maryland Society of Pathologists and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

He also had been an amateur photographer who developed his own pictures and later became interested in art, doing landscapes and still lifes in oils and pastels.

He had been a fund-raiser for Catholic Charities and an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist at St. Mark's Roman Catholic Church in Catonsville.

A Mass of Christian burial was to be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow at the church, 30 Melvin Ave.

His wife, the former Madeleine McGlynn, died in 1980.

He is survived by a son, Kenneth C. Freimuth of North Ogden, Utah; four daughters, Karen M. Burch of Lutherville, Judy A. Baldwin of Catonsville, Mary Oldham of Topeka, Kan., and Joanne Freimuth of Frederick; and nine grandchildren.

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