Dr. Leon Clair Perry, a Glen Burnie physician who helped establish North Arundel Hospital and served as the first president of its medical staff, died Monday of heart failure at his Annapolis home. He was 79.
Dr. Perry, whose career spanned 40 years, practiced general medicine from an office in the Medical Arts Building on Hospital Drive in Glen Burnie until his retirement in 1994.
Born in Hewitt, W. Va., Dr. Perry was raised in Madison, W. Va., where he graduated from high school. After earning his bachelor's degree in education from Concord College in West Virginia, he taught school in a one-room schoolhouse until being drafted into the Army Air Forces during World War II.
After being discharged in 1945, Dr. Perry studied medicine at the University of West Virginia. He earned his medical degree in 1951 from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
He spent two years as a physician with the U.S. Public Health Service assigned to the Blackfoot Indian Reservation in Browning, Mont. In 1953, he moved to Glen Burnie and established his practice, which for the first 15 years included obstetrics.
"Delivering babies was a joy to him. In addition, he made house calls and saw patients in the office. He was a very dedicated doctor," said his wife of 49 years, the former Jeanne Katherine Frank.
As Anne Arundel County grew in the postwar years, he saw the need for a new hospital and was involved in planning and building North Arundel Hospital. It opened July 4, 1965.
He served as vice president of the hospital's board of directors.
He also led the way for the construction of the Medical Arts Building, which had offices for physicians, a medical laboratory, X-ray facilities and a pharmacy.
"Leon was always interested in people and was never, ever too busy to listen. He was a very unassuming man who was popular with the entire staff," said Alfred J. Bryan of Severna Park, chief executive officer and president of the hospital from 1965 until 1991.
He also enjoyed fishing and visiting Ocean City with his family.
Services were held Wednesday.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by five sons, K. Maxwell Perry and James W. Perry, both of Baltimore, Gordon L. Perry of Pasadena, Russell S. Perry of Severna Park and John B. Perry of Brandon, Fla.; a daughter, Linda Perry of Annapolis; a brother, Harold Perry of Crystal River, Fla.; and five grandchildren.