LeRoy Brandimore Jr. -- who volunteered for medic duty in the Navy during World War II so he wouldn't have to carry a gun -- died of heart failure June 21 at Anne Arundel Medical Center.
Mr. Brandimore of Arnold was a former athletic trainer at the Johns Hopkins University and Loyola College. He would have celebrated his 70th birthday today.
"Brandy would treat anybody that was hurt -- whether you were on one of the teams or just went to the school," said James C. DeWald, who played football for Hopkins in 1969. "He was full of jokes and a lot of fun, but he had a salty tongue. You didn't feel like you were his friend unless he cursed you out once or twice."
The oldest of four children born to an automobile mechanic and a homemaker, Mr. Brandimore was born in Port Huron, Mich., and dropped out of high school to join the Navy in 1942. The Navy taught Mr. Brandimore to be a medic and nicknamed him "Doc." He served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.
"He was head of the Sea Scouts when we were growing up in a little town in Michigan," said Betty Platzer, a sister who lives in Houston. "We used to jump in the St. Clair River and swim across to Canada. The year before he enlisted we got picked up for illegal entry into Canada because it was wartime. When he enlisted he told me: 'If they draft me they're going to give me a gun and I can't kill.' "
Mrs. Platzer said that, as a youngster, her brother enjoyed playing catcher on the neighborhood baseball team, ice skating in the winter, and teaching younger children about boats, the river, and nearby Lake Huron.
In the Navy, Mr. Brandimore was stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Norfolk, Va., and Panama. In 1946, he met a young nurse named Wadie Miller at a U.S. Navy Hospital in Portsmouth, Va. The two fell in love and got married.
"We went to Panama together in 1948, but after that it was pretty much writing letters and waiting for his ship to come home," Mrs. Brandimore said.
After his discharge in 1967, the short, barrel-chested man who always spoke his mind joined the Johns Hopkins University athletic department.
"He's remembered by a lot of us in this business as one of the early guys who set the stage for what's become sports medicine," said Gary Horsmon, the current athletic trainer at Hopkins. "The profession has come a long way from a sponge bucket and ankle tape, but if it wasn't for guys like Brandy, we wouldn't be where we are now."
Mr. Brandimore left Hopkins in 1976 for Loyola College, where he remained until 1985. In recent years he worked for sports therapy clinics in Anne Arundel County.
He belonged to the National Athletic Trainers' Association and the Oldtimers Baseball Association of Maryland.
Services for Mr. Brandimore were held June 24 in Severna Park.
He is also survived by a son, Leroy William Brandimore of Ellicott City; a daughter, Geraldine B. Anderson, of Annapolis; and two grandchildren.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association, 2 Reservoir Circle, Suite 203, Baltimore 21208.