Marcia Schmidt

The Baltimore Sun

Dr. Marcia C. Schmidt, a Good Samaritan Hospital rheumatologist who specialized in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatic diseases, died of cancer Jan. 1 at a hospital in Aurora, Colo. The Crofton resident was 66.

Dr. Schmidt was born in Denver and raised in Boulder, Colo., where her father taught business at the University of Colorado. She was a 1959 graduate of Boulder High School and earned a bachelor's degree in medical technology from the University of Colorado in 1963.

After graduating from the University of Florida Medical School in Gainesville in 1967, she completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Maryland in 1970.

From 1970 to 1971, she was a fellow in the department of medicine's division at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

In the 1970s, Dr. Schmidt began seeing patients at the Good Samaritan Hospital outpatient rheumatology clinic at the behest of Dr. Mary Betty Stevens, who was then chief of rheumatology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and at Johns Hopkins.

Dr. Schmidt was a staff physician for Campus Health Services at the University of Maryland in Baltimore from 1973 to 1984 and associate director from 1984 to 1988.

She was assistant professor of medicine in the division of rheumatology at the University of Maryland, where she taught students physical diagnosis and taught rheumatology courses; from 1984 to 1985, she was acting director of the division.

Since 1988, Dr. Schmidt had maintained a private practice in rheumatology at Good Samaritan Hospital.

"She has cared for me and my mother for 30 years, and there's no one else like Dr. Schmidt," said Elinor F. Summers of Baltimore Highlands. "We don't know what we're going to do without her. She never rushed you in and out and took the time to get you to relax and get to know you. She'd examine you, and if she thought you needed to see a specialist, she sent you there."

Dr. Lynn M. Billingsley, a rheumatologist, shared an office for 20 years with Dr. Schmidt at Good Samaritan.

"Marcia was a wonderful and compassionate physician," Dr. Billingsley said. "She cared not only about her patients but their families."

Dr. Peter Holt, also a Good Samaritan rheumatologist and longtime colleague, said: "Because she was like an old-fashioned doctor, friendly and nice, her patients loved her. She never gave them the shuffle and would spend hours getting to know them. She touched so many lives.

"She also loved the house staff and physicians and was a regular at 11 a.m. Friday teaching rounds for more than 20 years. She didn't care whether there were 11 or 60 students, she just enjoyed teaching."

Dr. Holt also said that Dr. Schmidt was a unifying force at the hospital and had the ability to bring together people from different departments.

"I think it was her big smile and warm heart," he said.

During the 1980s, Dr. Schmidt served as a member of the State of Maryland Governor's Commission on Arthritis and Related Diseases, as well as the Health Services Delivery subcommittee.

She was a member of the American College of Rheumatology and had been a member for more than 30 years of the Maryland Society for Rheumatic Diseases, and had served as vice president and president of the professional organization.

Dr. Schmidt, who was published widely in rheumatology publications, had been a board member of Lupus Mid-Atlantic, formerly the Maryland Lupus Foundation, and held positions with the Maryland chapter of the Arthritis Foundation.

Dr. Schmidt - who used her maiden name professionally - had been married for 39 years to John Baratta, a retired Social Security Administration disability claims examiner.

Dr. Schmidt enjoyed cross-stitching, knitting and playing bridge. As an avid Christmas enthusiast, she liked making ornaments that she gave away to family and friends.

Services were yesterday.

In addition to her husband, Dr. Schmidt is survived by a son, Michael J. Baratta of Fort Collins, Colo.; two sisters, Nancy Downum and Gretchen Roske, both of Aurora, Colo.; and two grandchildren.

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