Dr. Herbert J. Levickas, a popular family physician in Arbutus for 50 years, died Tuesday at Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital due to complications after cardiac surgery. He was 78.
Born in Baltimore, Dr. Levickas graduated from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1946, served his residency at then-St. Agnes Hospital and settled in Catonsville.
He established a practice in Arbutus that quickly developed deep roots in the community.
"My mother went to him, my sister and her daughter and all her children went to him," said Katherine Piazza, who ran the doctor's office during the last 13 years of his professional life. "He even made house calls if you couldn't get to the office. He had the older ones he saw routinely at home, and then he went to the nursing homes and hospitals regularly. He would cut up with his patients, and they would tell me they felt better just seeing him come through the door."
Dr. Levickas also nurtured strong connections with medical institutions and organizations. He served as president of the St. Agnes Hospital Staff, the Baltimore County Medical Association and the University of Maryland Medical Alumni.
He was a member of the American Medical Association, Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland, the Baltimore County Medical Association, Southern Medical Association and the John Beale Davidge Alliance, an organization that provides financial support to the University of Maryland medical school.
Despite the institutional ties, Dr. Levickas displayed an independent spirit "typical of a bygone era when medicine was kindlier and friendlier," said a colleague, Dr. Emile Mohler, chairman of the department of medicine at St. Agnes Health Care.
"He was outgoing, socially-minded, and active -- not an HMO type, if you know what I mean," Dr. Mohler said. "He took care of his people. He didn't take care of insurance companies."
Throughout the community, Dr. Levickas made personal connections that people recall with pleasure. A fishing buddy, Leon Lineburg, owner of the Triple L Restaurant in downtown Arbutus, recalls when Dr. Levickas made a special trip to the maternity ward to visit Lineburg's newborn son.
Bob Hunt, his tennis partner, remembers when his son almost died after being stung by a hornet.
"When I got him to the doctor's office, my boy didn't have a pulse," Mr. Hunt said. "Herb saved his life."
Because of his exceptional work at St. Agnes, the department of internal medicine presented Dr. Levickas with an award for outstanding contributions to patient care and medical education. Before he retired in 1996, the hospital's medical department honored him for 50 years of service.
"He was meticulous in the way he dressed, thorough in his diagnosis and very frank about telling you what your problem was and how you could correct it," said Mr. Lineburg. "He was a great family man and he had a big following in this community."
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today at St. Mark's Roman Catholic Church, 64 Melvin Ave., Catonsville.
He is survived by his wife of 48 years, the former Virginia Stinchcomb.
Memorial donations may be made to St. Agnes Foundation, 900 Caton Ave., Baltimore 21229; Med/Chi Foundation, 1211 Cathedral St., Baltimore 21201; or the University of Maryland Medical Alumni, 522 W. Lombard St., Baltimore 21201.