Dr. Maurice Bennett "Ben" Furlong, who led Mercy Medical Center's pathology department for 13 years, died Saturday at his North Baltimore home in an accidental fall. He was 63.
The incoming president of the Baltimore City Medical Society, Dr. Furlong had resigned in January as the downtown hospital's pathology chief and at his death was a staff pathologist overseeing the blood lab.
"He put the patient first," said Dr. Edgar L.C. Alonsozana, who succeeded him as the hospital's pathology chief. "He didn't rush things and wanted to make sure he was doing his best. He never stopped thinking about medicine."
Born in Buffalo, N.Y., and raised in Jamestown, N.Y., Dr. Furlong graduated summa cum laude from Fordham University in New York in 1964 and earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1968.
He completed his residency in anatomical pathology at Johns Hopkins Hospital and in clinical pathology at the State University of New York's Upstate Medical Center, then served in the Navy as a lieutenant commander in the medical corps.
He had been a pathology instructor at George Washington and Towson universities, and the Hopkins and University of Maryland medical schools. He was an assistant clinical professor at Maryland.
In 1992, he joined Mercy's staff as pathology chief.
"He brought in - and mentored - a new generation of pathologists," said Dr. Scott Spier, Mercy's chief medical officer. "He led the department during the era when the hospital's labs became modernized and data went online. He moved easily from the pencil-and-paper age to a time when lab results became instantly available by computer."
Friends recalled that Dr. Furlong worked long hours. They remembered seeing his Jaguar convertible parked in the hospital garage on weekends, early in the morning and late at night.
"He was a meticulous person with a high sense of ethics," said a colleague, Dr. Glenn Jockle. "He was the kind of person who wouldn't take a free lunch from a vendor."
Dr. Furlong belonged to numerous professional organizations and was to become the 2007 president of the city medical society. He was a past president of the Maryland Society of Pathologists and had been chairman of an annual cancer conference at the hospital from 1992 until his death.
Friends said he enjoyed music and ballroom dancing.
A mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Thursday at SS. Phillip and James Roman Catholic Church, 2801 N. Charles Street, where he was a member.
Survivors include his wife of eight years, Conchita Co Hong; three sisters, Sally Thompson of Rochester, N.Y., Molly Furlong of Buffalo and Betsy DeFusco of Columbus, Ohio; and eight nieces and nephews.