Francis M. Dugan

Dr. Francis Markoe Dugan, a retired Baltimore internist and raconteur whose colorful stories and recitations of poetry and limericks enlivened many dinner parties for family and friends, died of heart failure Thursday at the Blakehurst retirement community in Towson. He was 89 and had lived in Ruxton.

Dr. Dugan was born in Baltimore and raised on St. Paul Street near Mount Vernon Place. He spent summers at "The Wilderness," the Ilchester summer home of his grandfather, Francis Cumberland Dugan II, a wealthy Baltimore hardware merchant and philanthropist.


Dr. Dugan was a 1935 graduate of Loyola High School and earned a bachelor's degree in history and philosophy from Georgetown University in 1939.

He worked for Pierre C. Dugan & Nephew, a Baltimore real estate firm, before enlisting in the Army during World War II, where he attained the rank of lieutenant and served as an artilleryman in the Pacific.


After the war, Dr. Dugan returned to Baltimore and entered the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he earned his medical degree in 1951. He completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at Union Memorial Hospital and the old Woman's Hospital of Maryland.

Known as "Dr. Mark," Dr. Dugan established his practice at 15 E. Biddle St. in the early 1950s, where he continued practicing until he retired in 1990.

He also served on the teaching staffs at Union Memorial, Greater Baltimore Medical Center and St. Joseph Medical Center.

"He was the quintessential amiable Baltimorean and an old-fashioned internist who was known for his charm, good humor and exceptional bedside manner," said a daughter, Dr. Elizabeth M. "Liz" Dugan of Chevy Chase. "His practice served a spectrum of Baltimoreans ranging from the king of gypsies to socialites."

Dr. Dugan also provided medical care - without charge - for the Oblate Sisters of Providence, Carmelite Sisters of Baltimore, Visitation nuns and other area clergy.

"He was a wonderful man, and I was very fond of Dr. Dugan. I'm going to miss him, and I know many people feel the same way," said Dr. Carlton L. Sexton, a retired Baltimore internist, yesterday. "He had a love of people, integrity and hard work."

Dr. Iredell W. "Idie" Iglehart III recalled Dr. Dugan as both physician and friend.

"There is an old saying that some go into medicine because they are fascinated by diseases in people and others go into it because they love people. The latter was Dr. Dugan," Dr. Iglehart said.


"He didn't go into medicine for money. He was a person of service," said another daughter, Louise M. Dugan of Washington.

Throughout his practice, Dr. Dugan insisted on making house calls, sometimes several in a single night, for the convenience of his patients.

"My parents, whom he cared for nearly 50 years, were up in years, and rather than have me bring them downtown to his office, he'd say, 'I'll stop by on the way home tonight,'" said Robert W. Schaefer, executive director of the France-Merrick Foundation, who endowed a room in Dr. Dugan's name in Union Memorial Hospital's Weinberg Building in 2005.

"He had a good bedside manner and lots of common sense. He was not only my doctor but also a good friend," he said.

"When my husband died at 2 a.m., and I called Dr. Dugan, both he and his wife, Betty, came to my home to stay with me until things were taken care of. That's the kind of man he was. He was a bright spot in my life," said Mary L. Proctor, a longtime friend and patient.

"He was always full of good humor and jokes. Let me clarify that - not all of his jokes were great - and sometimes he'd try telling me jokes I had told him," she said, laughing.


Dr. Dugan was known as a stylishly colorful dresser.

In summer, Dr. Dugan favored seersucker suits, red or lime-green slacks, which he wore with a Panama straw hat, and white buck shoes with red soles.

In winter, he dressed in tweed sport coats and, depending upon his mood, would wear a deerstalker, which was Sherlock Holmes' favorite headgear, or a whimsical tam-o'-shanter.

"He had a very inquisitive mind and loved genealogy. He discovered that the Dugans had been the storytellers and keepers of the genealogy of the high kings of Ireland," said Dr. Elizabeth Dugan.

Dr. Dugan, who was an unabashed Anglophile, enjoyed committing to memory poems by Shakespeare, A.E. Houseman, Alfred Noyes and Rupert Brooke, among others, which he could call forth and recite at a moment's notice.

"He could even recite the genealogy of the British royal family from 1066 off the top of his head," Dr. Elizabeth Dugan said.


In addition to maintaining a large library, Dr. Dugan was an avid grower of roses, and enjoyed singing and travel.

The former 50-year Circle Road resident who lived at the Towson retirement community since 2001, was a former member of the Maryland Club. He was a member of the Bachelors Cotillon, L'Hirondelle Club and the Hopkins Club.

He was also a member of the Society of Colonial Wars and the Ancient and Honorable Mechanical Company of Baltimore.

Dr. Dugan was a Knight of Malta, a Eucharistic minister, and a communicant of Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, Baltimore and Ware avenues, Towson, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. tomorrow.

Also surviving are his wife of 56 years, the former Elizabeth Mitchell; a son, G.W. Mitchell Dugan of Kennebunk, Maine; and eight grandchildren. Another son, Dr. Francis M. Dugan Jr., died in 1995; and another daughter, Mary Lloyd Dugan, died in February.