Dr. Donald S. Carter, 74, surgeon in ear, nose and throat specialty


Dr. Donald S. Carter, a retired ear, nose and throat surgeon, died Saturday of lung disease at Stella Maris Hospice in Timonium. The Towson resident was 74.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Pikesville, Dr. Carter was a 1946 McDonogh School graduate, where he was a cheerleader and an infantry lieutenant at what was then a military academy. He earned a degree from Duke University, where he was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. He earned his medical degree from the University of Maryland.

After serving in the Air Force as a captain, he returned to Baltimore County and established a medical practice at 714 York Road.

"It seemed like he took out 90 percent of the tonsils in Towson," said his son, Donald S. Carter Jr. of Relay. "He adored his patients. As children, we rarely saw him. He was out making house calls so much of the time. Going out at 2 a.m. was nothing for him. He seemed to enjoy it."

Dr. Carter, who had a home in the Long Green section of Baltimore County, was occasionally called upon to render emergency service.

Family members recalled that he received a knock on his door from an expectant father who said his wife was about to give birth. "My father was on his way out and going to a Baltimore Colts game," his son recalled.

Dr. Carter rushed to his driveway and found the woman in labor. Using what was available -- he had a pair of garden shears boiled in hot water for sterilization -- he delivered the healthy baby and used the shears to cut the umbilical cord. The couple thanked him and made him the godfather of their child.

"He had kind hands. He was gentle. He would empathize with his patient's pain," said his brother, W. Snowden Carter of Owings Mills. "He was a charming man who could tell stories so amusingly."

Before retiring 15 years ago, Dr. Carter drove a succession of Oldsmobile Delta 88s. He also learned to fly a Piper Tri-Pacer based at the old Rutherford airfield in Woodlawn. He flew solo, but often took his family on outings to Myrtle Beach, S.C., Ocean City or across the Chesapeake Bay. There he landed at Kent Island and had dinner at the Kentmorr Restaurant, then flew home.

He quit flying about 25 years ago and kept a Carver cruising yacht at Frog Mortar Creek and plied the bay.

Dr. Carter had numerous hobbies. For many years, he raised vegetables on a half-acre garden. He also kept parakeets, monkeys and dogs.

He was a breeder of killifish, a brightly colored fish that lives for about a year. Once he had a fish room in his home that contained 50 aquariums. He shipped his killifish to collectors in the United States, India and Russia in Styrofoam boxes. Dr. Carter would incubate the killifish in dampened peat moss in plastic bags that he kept in dark closets for six-month periods.

"Even in our home refrigerator there was brine shrimp and fish bait," his son said, referring to items necessary for his father's hobby.

He also collected and sold 1940s and 1950s box-style Kodak and other cameras.

He played golf at the Country Club of Maryland and the Royal Oak Country Club in Naples, Fla., where he spent the winters.

Dr. Carter was once president of the Towson Kiwanis Club.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at St. John's Lutheran Church, 13300 Manor Road, Long Green, where he was a member.

In addition to his son and brother, survivors include his wife of 52 years, the former Rosamond Kraus; two other sons, Dennis Paul Carter of Parkville and John Wilton Carter of Catonsville; and two grandchildren.

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