Dr. Anthony Francis DiPaula Sr., a cheerful Baltimore obstetrician and gynecologist who delivered thousands of babies during his 50-year career, died Sunday of chronic lymphocytic leukemia at the home of his daughter in Towson. He was 81.
He was born and raised in Forest Park, the son of an Italian immigrant father who owned a North Avenue fruit store and insisted that his son would attend medical school and one day become a physician.
"His father, Antonio DiPaula, told him he would be a doctor, and that was it. He had no other choice in this world," said the daughter, Sue Ann Murphy, with a chuckle.
"His father, who was a strong believer in education, insisted that his children were all going to college, and they did. In addition to my father, two of his siblings became teachers, while the other became a lawyer, who is now a Delaware judge," she said.
A 1932 graduate of Forest Park High School, Dr. DiPaula earned a bachelor's degree from the Johns Hopkins University in 1936 and a medical degree from the University of Maryland Medical School in 1941.
During World War II, he served in the 16th Medical Regiment of Gen. Mark Clark's Fifth Army during the North African and Italian campaigns. He was discharged at the end of the war with the rank of captain.
He completed his internship at the old St. Joseph Hospital on Caroline Street, beginning a relationship with St. Joseph Medical Center that lasted until his retirement in 1992.
After completing his residency at Women's Hospital of Maryland, he opened his practice with offices in Hamilton and downtown St. Paul Street.
A short, balding man, he was called "Baggsy" by his old friends and associates because his slender build always made his pants look baggy, relatives said.
A man of infinite good cheer and positive outlook, he was fondly remembered by colleagues and patients as a man who thoroughly practicing medicine.
"He remained cheerful and accepting even until the end of his life," said Dr. Benjamin V. del Carmen, president of the medical staff at St. Joseph Medical Center.
"He was an old-time traditional doctor whose patients always came first. His death is a great loss for St. Joseph," he said.
"He was always a cheerfully happy guy who radiated charisma," recalled Dr. Christian Richter, a retired obstetrician, gynecologist and friend for more than 50 years.
"His personality was simply infectious, and when he was around, there was certainly always a lot of fun going on," Dr. Richter said.
It has been estimated that Dr. DiPaula delivered several thousand babies throughout his career and had the gift of making each new parent feel special.
"He was always awed by the miracle of life and had a great reverence for it," said Sue First, who got to know Dr. DiPaula 30 years ago as an obstetric nurse at St. Joseph's.
"He'd bring a new father into the recovery room while all the while praising the new mother on what a beautiful baby she had and how courageous she had been. He had the gift of making new parents feel as if their baby was the first baby he had ever delivered."
Mrs. First said that no matter what hour he was working, Dr. DiPaula's energy level always remained high.
"He was truly happy helping couples start a family," she said.
In 1947, he and Dorothy Schneller were married. She died in 1988.
Dr. DiPaula, who lived for many years in Idlewylde, also maintained a summer residence on the Magothy River where he enjoyed fishing. He also liked gardening and raising tropical fish.
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today at Immaculate Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church, 8501 Loch Raven Blvd., Baynesville.
In addition to his daughter, he is survived by a son, Anthony F. DiPaula Jr. of Brooklyn Park; a brother, Philip J. DiPaula of Baltimore; two sisters, Teresa Samosuk of Westminster and Rosemary Betts of Seaford, Del.; four grandchildren; and special friend, Dr. Suwimon Supatrchamnian of Baltimore.
Pub Date: 12/05/96