Dr. Edward L. Frey Jr., a West Baltimore pediatrician whose kind and gentle demeanor soothed anxious children and parents alike, died Sunday of congestive heart failure at St. Agnes HealthCare. The longtime Ten Hills resident was 84.
Dr. Frey, who retired in 1984, had been a staff physician at St. Agnes Hospital for 35 years and had maintained a large private practice in Westview.
He began practicing medicine at 11 E. Chase St. and later from an office above Hunting Ridge Pharmacy before moving to his Westview office in the 1970s.
"He always tried to meet children on their own level and was never pompous," said Dr. Fred J. Heldrich Jr., former head of pediatric medicine at St. Agnes Hospital and now a professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
"He was such a kindly and knowledgeable person, and patients really appreciated that. He was both personable and capable," said Dr. Heldrich, who became acquainted with Dr. Frey at Mercy Hospital in the early 1950s.
"He was a great gentleman and an excellent pediatrician. Children loved him, and so did their parents. He really treated both," said Dr. Cliff Ratliff of Ellicott City, former chief of nuclear medicine at St. Agnes Hospital. "And he was so easy to get along with."
"He was a large, jolly, reassuring man who used humor as part of his medicine," said the Rev. Michael J. Roach, pastor of St. Bartholomew Roman Catholic Church in Manchester, a longtime friend.
"He was a very trusted physician who brought a sense of security to his patients. He was all heart," he said.
"He was like an old-time doctor who worked long hours, made house calls and often had to go out in the middle of the night," said his daughter Ginger Browning of Eldersburg.
"He had patients who couldn't pay, but he wasn't about to deny anybody medical care. Two years ago, he received a check from a woman for services rendered 30 years ago. She said she was finally able to pay her bill," said Mrs. Browning.
"He never worried about money. Money was never an issue for him," said Dr. Heldrich.
Born and raised in Catonsville, Dr. Frey graduated from Catonsville High School. As a youth, he was a member of Boy Scout Troop 307 that had been founded by his father in 1929 at Catonsville United Methodist Church.
He earned his bachelor's degree in 1937 from the Johns Hopkins University and his medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1941. He completed his internship at Mercy Hospital, now Mercy Medical Center.
During World War II, he served in the Army Medical Corps in the Pacific with the 81st Division. He was wounded during the invasion of Peleliu and received the Purple Heart. He was discharged at war's end with the rank of captain.
A founding member of Turf Valley Country Club, Dr. Frey was an avid golfer. He also was a big-band enthusiast and accomplished ballroom dancer.
His professional memberships included the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland.
He was married in 1942 to O'Delle Chance, who survives him.
Dr. Frey was a member of Hunting Ridge Presbyterian Church, 4640 Edmondson Ave., where services will be held at 1 p.m. tomorrow.
In addition to his wife and daughter, Dr. Frey is survived by three sons, Edward L. Frey III of Finksburg, Charles B. Frey of Graceham, Frederick County, and Barry C. Frey of Painter, Va.; three brothers, Donald T. Frey of Baltimore, David B. Frey of St. Michaels and Robert C. Frey of Catonsville; a sister, Rita Berry of Ten Hills; nine grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.