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Dr. Martin L. Singewald, 86, internist, teacher


Dr. Martin L. Singewald, an internist who became known as a doctor's doctor because of the medical professionals who were his patients, died in his sleep Tuesday at Charlestown Retirement Community of circulatory disease. He was 86.

Dr. Singewald maintained a practice in downtown Baltimore from 1946 until his retirement in 1986.

He also taught at the Johns Hopkins University medical school, retiring as an associate professor in 1988.

The Rev. Clyde R. Shallenberger, a patient and former chaplain at Johns Hopkins Hospital, often walked with Dr. Singewald on 6 a.m. tours of the hospital.

He described Dr. Singewald as "just unique. When I went to him, I always had the feeling I was the only person in the world to him."

Mr. Shallenberger said Dr. Singewald was interested in the total person, always asking about the patient's family and work.

"He was very interested in religion and faith, the role of faith in healing," the minister said, adding that Dr. Singewald, who was a ruling elder at Hunting Ridge Presbyterian Church, "gave a lot of himself" as a volunteer doctor at Baltimore Rescue Mission.

"He always comes to mind when I think of the word gentleman," Mr. Shallenberger said.

Dr. R. Carmichael Tilghman, who also was an internist and was associate dean of the medical school, spoke of Dr. Singewald's work with the 18th General Hospital, an Army unit staffed by Hopkins in the Fiji Islands during World War II.

"He was always doing something for the enlisted men and patients," Dr. Tilghman said, adding that Dr. Singewald later told him it helped relieve his homesickness.

"He was a real worker. Anything he undertook, you knew he would do it well."

Praising Dr. Singewald for his integrity and professional skill, Dr. Tilghman said that patients and staff members, both military and civilian, loved him.

Born in Baltimore, Dr. Singewald was a graduate of Polytechnic Institute and earned an electrical engineering degree in 1930 at the Johns Hopkins University.

After working for Bell Telephone Laboratories and on the electrification of the Pennsylvania Railroad, he returned to Hopkins, earning his medical degree in 1938.

He served internships at City Hospitals and at a hospital at Cooperstown, N.Y., before becoming a resident at Hopkins.

His military service also included an assignment as chief of medicine at an Army hospital at Fort Storey, Va. He left the service as a lieutenant colonel.

He held staff privileges at Hopkins, Church, Union Memorial and Good Samaritan hospitals and Greater Baltimore Medical Center.

Dr. Singewald was a fellow of the American College of Physicians and a former head of its Maryland organization, and a former president of the Maryland Hospital Service, which then was the operator of the Blue Cross program.

His son, Donald Singewald of Providence, R.I., said his father was a member of the Christian Medical Association because of his interest in the religious and moral aspects of medicine.

A former president of the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association, Dr. Singewald, who had been a lacrosse midfielder at Poly and at Hopkins, remained a fan of Hopkins lacrosse.

A memorial service was to be held at 7 p.m. today at Hunting Ridge Presbyterian Church, 4640 Edmondson Ave.

Other survivors include his wife of 61 years, the former Edith E. Wagner; two daughters, Tera Younger of London and Amy Nathan of Larchmont, N.Y.; and four grandchildren.

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